Comparison Of ' Little Red Riding Hood ' And ' Beauty And The Beast '

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Compare and Contrast the ways in which modern authors have re-imagined traditional narratives for their own purposes.

Original fairy tales such as Perrault’s ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ or De Beaumont’s ‘Beauty and The Beast’ depict women as both socially and physically inferior – they reflect a hegemonic patriarchal social structure that restricted female voice and independence in order to maintain the status quo. In ‘The Bloody Chamber’ Angela Carter effectively draws out the theme of feminism by contrasting traditional elements of the fairy-tale genre and Gothic fiction – which usually depict female characters as weak and helpless – with strong female protagonists. This provides Carter the ability to create sexually liberated female
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Original fairy tales restrict the opportunities of female protagonists, allowing their fate to be controlled by male characters and society’s restrictive expectations of women. Authors such as Perrault of ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ were quick to provide advice to their suggestible female readers in moral that girls should not try to drift from the path that society has laid out for them. Thus they became ‘parables of instruction’ (Carter) to indoctrinate the next generation in the values of a patriarchal society. Fairy tales of this time consistently remind us that those of the female sex will not prosper if they choose to ignore and defy the social constructs. Pre 1900s, the roles of women were entirely predetermined. A clear female dichotomy was established portraying them as either ‘the virgin’ or ‘the whore’. Stereotypical perceptions of women reduced them to biological functions and stated that they should acquire the role of wife and mother – objectified to such an extent where they were essentially their male counterpart’s possession. Both authors scorn the importance placed on domesticity and conformity, stressing the vital nature of being able to choose and uncover the consequences of societal ignorance. Carter highlights to her literary audience a passive generation of women who face the inability to vocalise their thoughts and opinions in the context of oppressive patriarchy. Within her work ‘The Company of Wolves’ “The
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