Charles Perrault And The Brother 's Grimm Essay

Charles Perrault And The Brother 's Grimm Essay

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In response to social change, fairy tales have been reinterpreted, altered, and edited; in the process, phrasing and plot arcs have shifted to fit the ideological agendas of each period. This can be seen through a comparison of Charles Perrault and the Brother’s Grimm’s distinctly different versions of “Little Red Riding Hood”. Perrault’s interpretation contains an underlying sexual message, discernable through the language used in the conversation between the girl and the wolf, which later becomes explicit in the closing “moral” of the tale. By comparison, the Grimm’s watered their version down for the consumption of children now regarded as “innocent”. This variation between the overall messages of the two versions demonstrates the emergence of the Victorian ideas about the preservation of childhood, which worked hand in hand with the reassertion of Christian morality.
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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