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Lecture 8

HUMA 2680 Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Tex Avery, Acculturation


Department
Humanities
Course Code
HUMA 2680
Professor
April Sharkey
Lecture
8

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Early Times: Children’s Literature
AP/HUMA 2680
November 7th 2013
LECTURE 8
LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD
Traditional fairytales are oral, literary fairytales are written by authors.
16th Century – fairytales are found in Italian literature, 17th-18th century – they are found
in French literature.
Most fairytales have heroines as passive – mostly sleeping or inactive, waiting to be
rescued or helped.
RED RIDING HOOD – Poor unfortunate girl who encounters a wolf on the way to her
Grandmother’s house. The heroic man saves Red Riding Hood and her grandma.
It is originally a folklore that was collected by Charles Perrault.
There are different versions in almost every language, every continent, every culture.
Fairytales and folktales tell us a lot about life, society, our problems, and ourselves as a
whole. They do not make sense in their literal forms but they do make a lot of sense if we
focus on their implicit meanings and ideologies.
People listen to these stories in their childhood and remember them almost throughout
their lives – they are very important and remain etched in the memory.
Red Riding Hood was not for children earlier on – it had more sexual humor and adult
themes, but it was later transformed to be made suitable for children.
PERRAULT’S VERSION
One definition and representation of the wolf in the story is of a man who seduces
women.
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When a girl lost her virginity in Perrault’s time it was said that “she saw the wolf”
There was a moral given by him in the story too that girls should be careful with men as
they can be wolves.
Perrault’s story does not have a happy ending and shows Red Riding Hood being eaten
up and dying.
It gives the message that the girls who are not careful have a terrible end.
GRIMM BROTHERS’ VERSION
Two German brothers who were interested in literature and folklore.
The Grimm brothers worked hard to keep the literary tradition alive.
There were many critics who spoke against Grimm brothers that they included Christian
themes in the books.
Grimm’s collection is second to Bible in terms of popularity in Germany.
This version is different from Perrault’s version. The version by Grimm shows the mom
giving more instructions to the girl compared to Perrault’s version. Little Red Cap is
instructed in manners and appropriate civilized behavior.
In Perrault’s version it was a poor girl who did not know it was dangerous to talk to a
wolf – in Grimm’s version she meets the wolf again and doesn’t know how dangerous the
wolf is. In both versions she did not know and was in the absence of knowledge.
In Perrault’s version she did not need any instructions whereas in Grimm’s version the
wolf draws her attention to the flowers to distract her so that he can get to the grandma.
When she arrives at her grandma’s house, she had a strange feeling. She felt uneasy.
When she looked at her grandmother, she looked very strange. In this version Little Red
Cap not get into bed with the wolf and does not undress like Perrault’s version.
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In Grimm’s version the grandma doesn’t invite her to come to the bed either.
Another difference is the woodsman who rescues the girl and cuts her out of the wolf’s
belly.
The moral is not explicitly stated but it is that a good man – father, husband, brother –
can save the girl from the wrong person.
Grimm’s version gives Little Red Cap a second chance unlike Perrault.
The second chance shows Little Red Cap learn from her mistake and she has an
encounter with a second wolf – in the second encounter she has matured and she has
gained knowledge and is “on her guard”. When the wolf tries to entice her from her path,
she does not listen and keeps going her way.
Later she goes to her grandma’s house and tells her that she met the wolf and that if they
had not been on the public road she was certain he would have eaten her up.
The wolf keeps knocking at the door this time but the grandma does not open the door
and he gets tired by knocking again and again and after that no one bothered Little Red
Cap ever again.
Grimm brothers were linguists and their concern initially was not childhood.
Their earlier work was scholarly but they later turned to children’s literature. To make
their work appropriate for children, they took out sex and all other adult elements from
their work.
The Grimm brothers were middle class and protestant.
Grimm’s version expresses values like discipline, piety, dominance of the male figure,
growing role of the mother, obedience, and because of these new identities, Little Red
Cap was changed and modified by Grimm.
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