Perrault’s recounting of Red Riding Hood is an outwardly childish story containing a not so subtle metaphor for wariness against loss of virtue. The plot itself is the same as today’s widely accepted fairy tale: a little girl gone to visit her grandmother only to end up swallowed by the wolf. It contains many of the common storytelling elements used to entrance children: from beginning with “Once Upon a Time” to containing a repetition of “All the better” during the girl’s conversation with the wolf, both hold overs from earlier, oral versions of the story . When the events and diction of the story are examined more closely, however, the piece is also found to contain a thinly veiled sexual metaphor, expressly stated by the moral placed at the end. The story labels the girl as the “prettiest little girl you have ever seen” in the first sentence, causing the read...
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... and the underlying religious message present in Grimm faded away, although the tales never returned to the unapologetic adult undertones of Perrault. The modern fairy tale reflects the moral ambivalence of current society and embraces the idea of self-sufficiency. In this way, these stories have always been altered to match the type of entertainment members of each time period sought.
What separated the works of Perrault and Grimm was their pandering to the wants of their societies. Perrault’s tale was designed to amuse the high born listening in on tales read to their children and Grimm’s was to guide the decisions of children and assert Victorian Christian morality. This led the two tales to develop entirely different tones and end messages; one containing dual levels of entertainment, innocent plot and lewd humor, and the other geared for educating the young.
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