Comparison between Charles Perrault's version of "Little Red Riding-Hood" and the Brothers Grimm's "Little Red-Cap."

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The timeless old tale of a little girl who meets a wolf on her way to Grandma's house has been passed down through oral tradition from one generation to the next. The tale of "Little Red Riding Hood" has existed for centuries as a warning for young, disobedient girls. According to what was considered socially acceptable and prudent behavior and according to the author's social and political standing, the tale has undergone significant changes.

The story of "Little Red Riding-Hood" is a descendent of an early tale by French folklorist Frank Delarue. This early version of the tale, called "The Story of Grandmother," features a werewolf and a little girl who must use her wits to escape. In this version, the girl arrives home safely, however, the wolf also survives. "The Story of Grandmother" does not depict the girl in a red cape, as in later versions, nor is she portrayed as naïve.

Charles Perrault wrote the first literary version of "Little Red Riding-Hood" in 1697, and since then, there have been many adaptations of this tale, including the Brothers Grimm's "Little Red-Cap." Presenting a folktale by means of literature can be difficult in that the message of the story may not always be clearly understood by the audience. In comparing the historical, sexual, and moral aspects of Perrault's "Little Red Riding-Hood" and the Brothers Grimm's "Little Red-Cap," readers are left appreciating the different means used in communicating the warnings of entering adolescence. Charles Perrault's version, known as "Little Red Riding-Hood," was not written for the purpose of warning children of the dangers of the forest. Rather, Perrault modified the tale to entertain the royal court in 17th century France. For his audience, Perrault added many metaphors. "In adapting a gross folk tale to the more sophisticated tastes...