Grimms Red Riding Hood

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English Essay

Angela Carter, author of The Werewolf, uses the traditional Grimms fairytale Red Riding Hood, and recreates it to write her own modern version. But how does she manage it? Although the stories parallel significantly, there are also stark differences with the context and content of the two works. Carter uses all of the main iconography from the original text, but rewrites it for a more than contemporary tale, using the images in an abstract way to fashion her own more heretic piece of literature. There are many similarities between both versions of the stories, including the iconographic use of the grandmother as a main feature of the plot. ‘Go and visit Grandmother...’ Carter says, using the visitation of the main character to open storyline. Both stories use this which leads to the consequential journeys and meetings with the wolf. This key piece of iconography forms the foundation to open a variety of different story ideas, each designed to its author’s own taste. Furthermore, Carter’s heroine is subjected to a ‘five mile trudge through the forest’, which is the setting for her encounter with the wolf; a fittingly sinister background. The forests iconographic features are typically baleful, ominous and dangerous; a frankly perfect stage for the climax of the story. ‘She knew the forest too well to fear it,’ also suggests that a proverbial ‘newcomer’ to the forest would fear it. This also hints that the main character has had past in the forest, and may have feared it previously. Continuing, the focal feature in the iconography of the work and its climax, in which the traditional roots of Carter’s fictional tale becomes absurdly obvious; the wolf. The characteristic image of the wolf is a symbol for evil and/or danger. Carter parallels this with perfect lucidity, quoting ‘; any but a mountaineer...’
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