6 Different Versions of Little Red Riding Hood With Different Outcomes

22 Sep

Little Red Riding Hood by Charles Perrault

In the early versions of Little Red Riding Hood, the wolf was presented as a sexual predator.  In the first version, which was called The Story of Grandmother, there was a cat who said to Little Red Riding Hood, “A slut is she who eats the flesh and drinks the blood of her grandmother!” The wolf had eaten the grandmother prior to Little Red Riding Hood arriving at her (the grandmother’s) house.  It seems to me that the cat was telling Little Red Riding Hood that to undress and get into bed with her grandmother was incestuous.  In other words, it is implied that the wolf wants to sleep with Little Red Riding Hood. Because the wolf is disguised as Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother, it would be incestuous for the wolf / grandmother to sleep with Little Red Riding Hood.  I had not heard of this story, but I find it to be really disturbing.  I find Little Red Riding Hood to be portrayed as a stupid little girl because she believes everything her “grandmother” tells her.  When the wolf/grandmother tells her to throw all her clothes in the fire and get into bed with him/her, she does this without questioning.  However, Little Red Riding Hood says that she needs to pee, but what she really does is escape from the wolf/grandmother.  In some ways, Little Red Riding Hood was able to see that her grandmother was not her grandmother, but was actually the wolf.

 In the second version of the story, Little Red Riding Hood is described as being very pretty.  In addition, “her mother was excessively fond of her; and her grandmother doted on her still more.” Therefore, it is safe to assume that everyone who meets her likes her. When Little Red Riding Hood shows up at her grandmother’s house, the wolf tells her to get into bed with him.  Without being told to, Little Red Riding Hood took off her clothes. Why would she do this? Is she promiscuous? Is she asking for trouble?   Little Red Riding Hood does as she is told; she gets into bed with the wolf. I would describe her as being very obedient because she does whatever she’s told to do.  In this version of the story, there is a moral. The moral is that attractive young girls should not talk to strangers. In addition, wolves can be  “[…] charming, quiet, polite, unassuming, complacent, and sweet, who pursue young women at home and in the streets. And unfortunately, it is these gentle wolves who are the most dangerous of all.”  We are all told by our parents when we are children that we should not talk to strangers. The wolf seems like he’s not dangerous; he seems like a friendly wolf.  He is very cunning and smart.  Just like in the first version of the story, the wolf is portrayed as a sexual predator. When he eats Little Red Riding Hood, we are told that he fell on top of her. This refers to sexual intercourse.  Unlike in the first version, in this version, there is no happy ending for Little Red Riding Hood.  I was not very familiar with this version of the story before I read it.

Little Red Cap by Jakob and Willhelm Grimm

In the third version, which is by Jakob and Willhelm Grimm, Little Red Riding Hood is now named Little Red Cap.  Little Red Cap is described as a sweet girl who everyone likes. When Little Red Cap meets the wolf, she talks to him. Actually, the wolf talks to her, and she answers him. She should not have talked to him because she didn’t know him; he is a stranger to her. Didn’t her mother ever tell her not to talk to strangers?  When Little Red Cap walks into her grandmother’s house, she is afraid; she is usually not afraid there. This sense of hers should tell her that something is not right with her grandmother.  After Little Red Cap was eaten by the wolf, a hunter comes along and hears someone snoring very loudly. He decides to investigate, and finds the wolf sleeping in the grandmother’s bed. The hunter cut open the wolf’s belly with a pair of scissors.  Little Red Cap and her grandmother come out, and the three of them filled the wolf’s stomach with heavy stones. When the wolf tries to run away, he falls down and dies because the stones are weighing him down, due to their heaviness.  In another version of  Little Red Cap, Little Red Cap and her grandmother trick a different wolf, who ends up drowning in the grandmother’s trough. In Little Red Cap, the wolf is not portrayed as being a sexual predator. He is just viewed as an evil wolf. I am very familiar with this version of the story because I grew up hearing the Brother’s Grimm stories, and when I was older, I read them by myself.

Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf by Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl’s version of Little Red Riding Hood, Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf is written in a more poetic way. For example, Dahl writes, “But Grandmamma was small and tough, And Wolfie wailed, “That’s not enough! […].”  In other words, Dahl often rhymes his words. Unlike in the other versions of the story, in this version, the wolf puts on shoes, brushes and curls his hair, and sits in grandma’s chair. In the other versions of the story, the grandmother is laying in the bed. When the wolf tells her he’s going to eat her, Little Red Riding Hood just smiles, pulls out a pistol, and shoots him in the head. Afterwards, she wears a wolfskin coat instead of a red cloak. I am very familiar with this version of the story. I grew up reading Roald Dahl’s stories.

Politically Correct Bedtime Stories by James Finn Garner

The fifth version of the story is titled Little Red Riding Hood— A Politically Correct Fairy Tale. When Little Red Riding Hood meets the wolf in the woods, she tells him “[…] I find your sexist remark offensive in the extreme, but I will ignore it because of your traditional status as an outcast from society […].”This statement makes me believe that Little Red Riding Hood might be a feminist. When the wolf eats the grandmother, Jim Garner writes, “Then, unhampered by rigid, traditionalist notions of what was masculine or feminine, he put on grandma’s nightclothes and crawled into bed.” In other words, the wolf does not care what a man should do. Men are supposed to be masculine. What the wolf is doing is cross-dressing.  I personally have known people who like to dress up as women.  They like to do this because they find it funny.  When Little Red Riding Hood is about to be eaten by the wolf, she screams. A wood-chopper person hears it, bursts into the cottage, and tries to intervene.  Little Red Riding Hood is very upset about this, and says, “Bursting in here like a Neanderthal, trusting your weapon to do your thinking for you!” […] “Sexist! Speciesist! How dare you assume that womyn and wolves can’t solve their own problems without a man’s help!” Women are supposedly the weaker of the sexes. Little Red Riding Hood, however, believes this is not so. She does not need a man to help her.  Little Red Riding Hood’s speech causes her grandmother to jump out of the wolf’s mouth, take the wood-chopper person’s axe, and cut his head off.  After this, Little Red Riding Hood, her grandmother, and the wolf live happily ever after in the woods.   I had not heard of this version before I read it. I don’t like this version. Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother should be arrested and put in jail because she is a murderer. The ending of this story is absurd.  I can’t imagine that Little Red Riding Hood, her grandmother, and the wolf could live together peacefully.  At some point, wouldn’t the wolf get hungry and want to eat them?  At some point, wouldn’t Little Red Riding Hood miss her mother and want to see her again?

The sixth version of the story comes from the cartoon “Calvin and Hobbes” by Bill Watterson.  In this version, a dad is telling his son a bedtime story.  The son keeps telling him to say tiger instead of wolf.  In this version, there is a hunter who tried to save Little Red Riding Hood, but it was too late. The tiger ate both of them and lived happily ever after. This is like the previous version of the story, in that the man who tried to save Little Red Riding Hood was killed.  It is also like one of the other versions where Little Red Riding Hood was killed. This is the only version that does not include Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother.  The boy tells his dad that it was a good story, and the tiger says he always cries at happy endings. He is crying because the tiger in the story had a happy ending.  This story is not a particularly happy ending because Little Red Riding Hood and the hunter were eaten. They did not have happy endings.

In some versions of Little Red Riding Hood, Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother survive.  In other versions, though, they are eaten by the wolf, who lives happily ever after.  In some versions of the story, the wolf is viewed as a sexual predator, while in others, he is not.  In some versions there is a hunter who tries to save the day. Sometimes he is successful, and sometimes he is not.

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