Riding the Red

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“I've told her and I've told her: daughter, you have to teach that child the facts of life before it's too late” (Hopkinson 1). These are the first three lines of Nalo Hopkinson's fairy tale “Riding the Red”, a modern adaptation of Charles Perrault's “Little Red Riding Hood”. Perrault provided a moral to his fairy tales, the one from this one is to prevent girls from men's nature. In Hopkinson's adaptation, the goal remains the same: through the grandmother biographic narration, the author advances a revisited but still effective moral: beware of wolfs even though they seem innocent.

This modern fairy tale contains diverse characters but none of them is as important as the grandmother. Through her narration, the reader gets all the information needed to understand the story. Indeed, by telling her own story she provides the reader the familial context in which the story is set with her granddaughter and her daughter but even more important, she provides details on her own life which should teach and therefore protect her grand-daughter from men, and then save her to endure or experience her past griefs. This unnamed grand-mother is telling her life under a fairy tale form which exemplify two major properties of fairy tale, as mentioned by Marina Warner in “The Old Wives' Tale”: “Fairy tales exchange knowledge [through the moral] between an older [most of the time feminine] voice of experience and a younger audience”. As suggested in the text, fairy tales are a way to teach insights of life through simple stories directed to, most of the time, younger generations. Most of the time because fairy tales work on different levels of moral which are directed to categories of people, for instance in “Little Red Riding Hood” the moral ...

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...ult's fairy tale: “Red Hot Riding Hood.“ Both Hopkinson's and Avery's wolf share some human qualities which make him even more dangerous for young innocent girls.

Hopkinson uses the narrator to spread the same moral as Perrault did three hundreds year ago, girls, especially younger inexperienced girls need to be careful when they encounter nice and charming men, because it could end in completely unwanted situation. This is the reason why the grandmother intervenes, she tries to complete her granddaughter's education by telling her her own story in which she can find advices that will save her to bear the same experience as her grandmother. Indeed, fairy tale has an educational mission in addition of pure entertainment. Hopkinson provides a moral to reader through a modern and different tale, more adapted to nowadays reader but without weakening its quintessence.

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