Monday, February 13

Red Riding Hood and...

This, I confess, is an irresistible classic. "Little Red Riding Hood" has tremendous appeal, and has been retold time and again. Each author changes it to suit his or her interests. Odd "interests" in many cases, but people continue to be drawn to the story.

As an author, one has to wonder "Why?"

What does this fairy tale have going for it, that it should be so readily adaptable and that people would continue to want to adapt it? Stories like Cinderella appeal, certainly, but for different reasons. People--yes, usually women--want to identify with Cindy. Red Riding Hood is different. It seems to be retold most often because people DON'T like it, rather than because they do.

In all honesty, this is why many of us embark on the journey of writing. We want a story with an ending that satisfies us. When faced with a story we don't like as much, the temptation of revising it to suit our standards is great.

Now, here is a link to most of the early versions of this story. Historians are quick to point out that there might be older versions, but none were recorded in this format (girl, grandmother, wolf, and woodsman) before the seventeenth century. My absolute favorite version of this story is a more modern satire, which can be found here. I like this because it has an absurd ending, that tells the reader more about the topsy-turvy world inside the author's head than it tells about how people (or the world) really work.

There are a lot of wonderful places this story can take a young author. The heroine's responsibility for bringing trouble upon herself. The gullibility of the womenfolk. The wolf's intentions (and inhibitions). The need (or lack thereof) of a savior like the woodsman.

My question for you this week, is which character would you like to rewrite most? Why? How would you do it?

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