One distinct difference between Charles Perrault’s, “Little Red Riding Hood” and Angela Carter’s, “Wolf-Alice” is the narrative focus. Perrault’s version follows the male character, outlining the wolf’s actions and motivations. The newer adaptation by Carter follows the female character, intimately describing her thought process and motivations. The older fairy tale versions were written by male editors/collectors, in a time where females were seen as the weaker sex, innocent, and more naïve. Carter was a female writer that challenged the way women were depicted. She took the stereotypical female character from the older fairy tales and turned them into liberated strong women, thereby making the female characters an active participant in the story.
Both authors acted differently in the development of their characters. Human qualities are attributed to an animal in “Little Red Riding Hood” and animal qualities are given to a human in “Wolf-Alice”. In Perrault’s version, the wolf speaks directly to Red Riding Hood asking where she is traveling. Upon learning that the girl is visiting her grandmother, the wolf says, “well, well…I think I shall go and see her too” (Tatar, 12). Once the wolf reaches grandmothers house and eats her, he pretends to be grandmother and is given human characteris...
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...choices they do, the reader gains a different sense of feeling from each fairy tale version. Perrault’s language causes the reader to feel trapped, unaware, and of helplessness, while Carter’s choice gives the reader a sense of being uncomfortable yet empowered, consequently showing the female character as an active participant.
Fairy tales have been around for hundreds of years and will continue to be around for countless more. They will continue to be adapted in various genres and locations and the stories will inspire, excite, and intrigue its reader. Just like Charles Perrault and Angela Carter, new authors will rewrite/adapt fairy tales to reflect the attributes, culture, and background they are familiar with. Characters will either be inactive or active depending on the authors use of narrative focus, character development, and language depicted in a story.
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