Kaitlyn Smith

LSW #5
Children’s Literature
Fairy Tales
3/20/14

Charles Perrault’s Little Red Riding Hood


Although we can fill in the gaps left by Perrault’s version of Little Red Riding
Hood, this is simply because most of us have heard another version. If we had read
Perrault’s version first, we would be left confused and without a complete story.
There are multiple features of classic fiction that are simply left out of this telling of
the familiar story.
One major part of this retelling is the missing character descriptions. We
learn almost nothing about Little Red Riding Hood from the description Perrault
provides. We learn only that she is beautiful and loved by both her mother and
grandmother. We have no idea about her age, appearance, personality
characteristics, or any other important features about the girl in the red hood.
Another character we learn almost nothing about is the wolf. The character is not
described or introduced, leaving us unsure exactly why the wolf wanted to eat the
little girl and her grandmother in the first place. No descriptions of the wolf’s
character provide any insight about what will happen in the story, simply because
there are none.
Another major feature that this story is missing is figurative, descriptive
language. This could be because of multiple re-tellings and loss of detail over time.
However, Perrault could have easily added detail to his story that would have made
the characters, setting, and plot come alive. Some descriptions of the setting and
characters could draw in readers and take them through the woods with Little Red
Riding Hood on her journey to her grandmother’s house.
Perrault’s version of the popular fairy tale lacks a one element that other
versions provide- a resolution. The conflict, or the desire of the wolf to eat the little
girl, is resolved in other versions, such as the Grimm brothers’, where both
Grandmother and Little Red remain unharmed. The conflict and resolution of the
Grimm brothers are both engaging and reassuring, where as Perrault’s version
leaves granny and Little Red eaten by the wolf, causing a lack of sense of completion
and wholeness from the story. No one wants to see the bad guy win, and having the
characters that are most appealing to the audience killed off leaves a sense of
incompletion and possibly even confusion or dissatisfaction.
While there are many aspects that leave the reader of Perrault’s version of
Little Red Riding Hood with a feeling of an incomplete story, I feel that the ones I
listed were what impacted by feeling about the story. There are many aspects of the
story that could be changed to fit our ideas of what fiction should provide.

Related Interests