Reading Questions for Litte Red Riding Hood

Below are two questions to consider as you read various adaptations of Little Red Riding Hood. In your response paper, please focus on one question only. You are also free to focus your response on a different aspect. In both cases please make sure to go beyond describing your emotional reaction and to refer to specific examples from the text (see response paper assignment.)

  1. In her article, Zohar Shavit writes: "Before children's literature could be written, 'childhood' itself had to come into existence and receive recognition and legitimization as a distinct time period in the life of an individual" (Tatar, 317). What is your reaction to reading the 17th, 18th, and 19th century versions of Little Red Riding Hood and Zohar Shavit's analysis? What new insights did you gain about the notion of "childhood" in Western history?

  2. If you grew up with Western fairy tales, what versions of these tales did you read or watch? How do they compare with the 17th, 18th, and 19th century versions included in Tatar's anthology? What does the comparison tell you about the changes in our conception of childhood (please refer to Zohar Shavit's article)?

  3. Compare The Story of Grandmother, Gimms' Little Red Cap, and Roal Dahl's two adaptations of the tale. How would you describe the differences and similarities? What do they potentially tell us about underlying cultural and social values?