A story commonly spread through word of mouth, Charles Perrault wrote an early rendition of Little Red Riding Hood in 1697. Between the late 17th century and today, there have been a few changes in societal norms, customs, and understandings of social values. To summarize, laws based on religion have given way to laws based on science…in turn, scientists have taken their newfound social power and discovered ways to destroy all life on Earth…following that, humans have practiced leaving the planet, preparing for the inevitable day when our self-created nuclear holocaust gives us no other choice…and lastly, various oppressed social groups, recognizing that they would also like a seat on their starship to salvation, have fought for their civil rights and equality through various social reform movements. A side effect, political correctness, is the attempt to rid the English language of any terms, phrases, or expressions that would encourage our society to remain rooted in its biased theories of the past. Thus, we are now at an age where a maxim is placed upon the empowerment of the individual, no matter who you are or what formerly oppressed group you may represent, with an equally strong maxim placed upon breaking any barriers that block the empowerment of the individual.
That’s great…but what does it have to do with Little Red Riding Hood?
With so much happening in the past four hundred years, stories which may have previously seemed perfect and timeless have perhaps become socially outdated. This could be the case with many fairy tales, and Perrault’s Little Red Riding Hood is certainly no exception.
In general, his vers...
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... has taken the civil rights movements of the 20th century and, perhaps, transformed them into raging individualism. The backwardness is clear: Whether it’s a hunter, woodcutter, or doctor, a person trying to save another’s life is admirable and a Good Samaritan, and most certainly not an oppressive chauvinist worthy of reprimand or lawsuits. Political correctness may have its values; however, for Garner and many other Americans, it represents social movements that have been taken too far. Through satire, Garner displays his yearning for simpler times, when wolves just ate little girls who talked to strangers.
Perrault, Charles. “Little Red Riding Hood.” The Classic Fairy Tales. Ed. Maria Tatar. New York: Norton, 1999. 11-13.
Garner, James Finn. “Little Red Riding Hood.” Politically Correct Bedtime Stories. New York: MacMillan, 1994. 1-4.
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