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Little Red Riding Hood revisited






There was once a young person named Red Riding Hood who lived with her mother on the edge of a large wood. One day her mother asked her to take a basket of fresh fruit and mineral water to her grandmother’s house – not because this was womyn’s work, mind you, but because the deed was generous and helped engender a feeling of community. Furthermore, her grandmother was not sick, but rather was in full physical and mental health and was fully capable of taking care of herself as a mature adult. So Red Riding Hood set off with her basket through the woods. Many people believed that the forest was a foreboding1 and dangerous place and never set foot in it.

(...) On the way to Grandma’s house, Red Riding Hood was accosted by a wolf, who asked her what was in her basket. She replied, “Some healthful snacks for my grandmother, who is certainly capable of taking care of herself as a mature adult.”

The wolf said, “You know, my dear, it isn’t safe for a little girl to walk through these woods alone.”

Red Riding Hood said, “I find your sexist remark offensive in the extreme, but I will ignore it because of your traditional status as an outcast from society, the stress of which has caused you to develop your own, entirely valid, worldview. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must be on my way.”

Red Riding Hood walked on along the main path. But, because his status outside society has freed him from slavish adherence to linear, Western-style thought, the wolf knew a quicker route to Grandma’s house. He burst into the house and ate Grandma, an entirely valid course of action for a carnivore such as himself. Then, unhampered by rigid, traditionalist notions of what was masculine or feminine, he put on Grandma’s nightclothes and crawled into bed.

Red Riding Hood entered the cottage and said, “Grandma, I have brought you some fat-free, sodium-free snacks to salute you in your role of a wise and nurturing matriarch.”

From the bed, the wolf said softly, “Come closer, child, so that I might see you.”

Red Riding Hood said, “Oh, I forgot you are as optically challenged as a bat. Grandma, what big eyes you have!”

“They have seen much, and forgiven much, my dear.”

“Grandma, what a big nose you have – only relatively, of course, and certainly attractive in its own way.”

“It has smelled much, and forgiven much, my dear.”

“Grandma, what big teeth you have!”

The wolf said, “I am happy with who I am and what I am,” and leaped2 out of bed. He grabbed Red Riding Hood in his claws, intent on devouring her. Red Riding Hood screamed, not out of alarm at the wolf’s apparent tendency toward cross-dressing, but because of his willful invasion of her personal space.

Her screams were heard by a passing woodchopper-person (or log-fuel technician, as he preferred to be called). When he burst into the cottage, he saw melee3 there and tried to intervene. But as he raised his ax, Red Riding Hood and the wolf both stopped.

“And just what do you think you’re doing?” asked Red Riding Hood.

The woodchopper-person blinked and tried to answer, but no words came to him. “Bursting in here like a Neanderthal, trusting your weapon to do your thinking for you!” she exclaimed. “Sexist! Speciesist! How dare you assume that womyn and wolves can’t solve their own problems without a man’s help!”

When she heard Red Riding Hood’s impassioned speech, Grandma jumped out of the Wolf’s mouth, took the woodchopper-person’s ax, and cut his head off. After this ordeal, Red Riding Hood, Grandma, and the Wolf felt a certain commonality of purpose. They decided to set up an alternative household based on mutual respect and cooperation, and they lived together in the woods happily ever after.


Politically Correct Bedtime Stories: Modern Tales for Our Life and Times, by James Finn Gamer, 1994.


1. prophetic 2. jumped 3. fighting, battle

Questions

Voir les réponses

a) What does the word "womyn" stand for? What is the role of women?


b) Why is it necessary to state that the grandmother is not sick?


c) Why is the remark of the wolf sexist?


d) Which myths are debunked here?


e) What kind of snack does Little Red Riding Hood bring? Why?


f) What is implied by in the expressions in italic? Why is it in italic?


g) What is making Little Red Riding Hood scream?


h) What is Little Red Riding Hood accusing the woodchopper of?


i) What happens at the end of the story? Why?


j) How is this ending different from the usual tales?

Twisted_Tales_RC_bassedef

Politically Correct Bedtime Stories: Modern Tales for Our Life and Times, James Finn Gamer, 1994.

Culture note

Politically Correct Bedtime Stories: Modern Tales for Our Life and Times is a 1994 book written by American writer James Finn Garner, in which Garner satirizes the trend toward political correctness and censorship of children’s literature, with an emphasis on humourand parody. The bulk of the book consists of fairy tales such as Little Red Riding Hood, the Three Little Pigs and Snow White, rewritten so that they supposedly represent what a “politically correct” adult would consider a good and moral tale for children.

Little Red Riding Hood: based on the popular fairy tale of the same name, this parody includes as its main themes mocking the idea of “anti-speciesism” and the more radical branches and concepts of feminism (such as using the spelling “womyn” instead of “women” throughout, a pattern that is repeated in other stories in the book), and is one of the several stories in which the ending is completely altered from the original fairy tale.

Your time to shine!


You are a very famous expert of Fairy Tales and you record a two-minute podcast to present this revisitation of the tale of Little Red Riding Hood.

Decide whether you find the tale inspiring or ridiculous. Justify your answer.

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