What comes to mind when the story The Little Red Riding Hood is mentioned? For many, it’s probably something along the lines of a classic childhood memory, a nightly bedtime story, or a fun read growing up. Although it is a classic today, the story has roots that are far more cynical than the far more modern version. Diving far back, Little Red Riding Hood (Perrault ), was written in 1697 has the same basic tale, without too much gore, as the modern-day version. But as it matured in its history, the story became far more macabre before it evolved further. One example of this is the story Little Red Hat (Schneller ), which was written in 1867 and is a far darker take on the same story. The story involves the main characters Little Red Hat, her grandmother, and an ogre. And while it follows the same theme, it includes a far more gruesome approach and includes details about Little Red eating her own grandmother without knowing it.

Little Red Riding-Hood picture book (1865)

An illustration showing Red Riding Hood and the Wolf

            The details may evolve with the times, but the same basic principles of the Little Red Riding Hood story set have stayed the same for centuries now. On a surface level, the stories all emphasize the danger of children talking to strangers and the lesson that people are not always who they seem to be at first sight, even if they are extremely nice. But digging deeper, it is also apparent that the story hones in on the idea that young women specifically should always follow the rules, behave in the expected manner, and be complacent. It’s interesting to see that throughout the hundreds of years that the same story has been around and been rewritten in so many ways, the moral always remains unchanged. Something to think about would be how the story would be changed if it was rewritten from a modern day, 2017 perspective on things.


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