LRRH - Masculinity, Femininity and Their Representation in...

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Masculinity, Femininity and Their Representation in Various Versions of Little Red Riding Hood By: Lehel Babos ID: 500178711 Prof.: M. Tschofen T.A.: M. Wadman Course: ENG 108: The Nature of Narrative
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The story of Little Red Riding Hood (LRRH) has various authors, elements, versions and above all meanings, the most obvious one being targeted at little girls such as LRRH herself. While children may draw a single moral like “don’ talk to strangers” after having read the story, there are plenty of readings and elements to this tale that make it appropriate for an adult audience as well. This essay explores the various representations of femininity and masculinity and how they are defined in the two tales “The Werewolf” by Angela Carter and “Little Red Cap” by The Brothers Grimm. Contrasting the two stories and their representations of male and female characters reveals what is perhaps the true moral of this classic tale. All human beings, regardless of gender, carry the seeds of purity and the footprints of the beast within them, thus masculinity and femininity are two different terms that can be summed up with one word; Humanity. In both versions of the tale, Little Red Riding Hood is a symbol of femininity, associated with qualities such as honesty, purity and innocence. This is especially true in the Grimm Brothers’ version of the story where Little Red Riding Hood’s innocence makes her outright naïve. It is stated that when she and the wolf first meet “Little Red Riding Hood [doesn’t] know what a wicked beast he [is].” (Grimm 28) She is blinded by the wolf’s polite demeanor, the same way young innocent girls are blinded every day by men of ill intentions but good disguises. This depiction of the character constructs a very clear, but stereotypical definition of femininity, with emphasis on its positive attributes. Little Red Riding Hood is young, pretty, sweet and uncorrupted; she is the ideal little girl. This causes a problem because “femininity”, as it is defined through the
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This note was uploaded on 10/20/2008 for the course ENG 108 taught by Professor Tschofen during the Fall '08 term at Ryerson.

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LRRH - Masculinity, Femininity and Their Representation in...

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