In preparation for running a short course on fairy tales, I have become interested by the difference in ending between Perrault’s Little Red Riding Hood and the Grimm Brothers’ Little Red Cap. In Perrault’s, the story ends with the wolf devouring Little Red with the attributive moral that ‘Children, especially attractive, well bred young ladies, should never talk to strangers, for if they should do so, they may well provide dinner for a wolf.’ The Grimms’ tale, on the other hand, introduces the huntsman who rescues Little Red and her grandmother, Little Red’s killing of the wolf, her subsequent meeting with a second wolf who tries the same trick, and the final death of the wolf at the hands of the grandmother and Little Red. But what are we to make of these differences?
Given the impact Covid-19 is having on education, like a lot of schools we are offering transition or ‘Step Up’ courses for the GCSE and A Level years. In addition to the traditional academic subjects, we are running some short courses, and I have offered one entitled ‘The Rise and Rise of Fairy Tales: From Grimm to Disney’. Though I love fairy tales, I must confess to having avoided Disney for much of my life.
No longer though!
Yesterday I began by watching Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and comparing it to the Brothers Grimm tale. I could write several posts on each of them, but some of the adaptations made from the Grimm story to the Disney animation are particularly fascinating and worth exploring.