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'All the Better to Eat You With!': Charles Perrault's Monstrous Wolf in Le Petit Chaperon rouge

Gemma Egan[1], School of Modern Languages and Cultures: Department of French Studies, University of Warwick

Abstract

Numerous different oral and printed editions of Little Red Riding Hood, as well as reworked versions of the tale, have been passed down through the centuries with many academics focusing on the wolf's masculinity and more widely on the question of whether the fairy tale is for adults or children. However, not much attention has been given to the wolf's female persona when it is monstrously dressed up in the grandmother's clothes. This article will investigate the image of the wolf as a monstrous woman both in Charles Perrault's original seventeenth-century text Le Petit Chaperon rouge, and in Pierre-Jules Hetzel's nineteenth-century illustrated edition of Perrault's seventeenth-century tale, by analysing the relationship between Perrault's text and Gustave Doré's later nineteenth-century engravings. In doing so, the article aims to show how Perrault's text and Doré's engravings work together to inform meaning through considering how the wolf's desire to eat is presented in these two forms and how the need to satisfy hunger brings out feminine qualities in the wolf.

Keywords: Fairy tales, Little Red Riding Hood, gender theory, nineteenth-century engravings, monstrous woman, cross-dressing.

Little Red Riding Hood[2]


Translated from Charles Perrault's 1697 manuscript edition

Once upon a time there lived a little country girl, the prettiest you have ever seen; her mother loved her so much and her grandmother even more so. The good grandmother made a little red hood for the girl which suited her so well that from now on, she was known throughout her village as Little Red Riding Hood.

One day her mother said to her after having mixed the ingredients and baked a cake,[3] 'Go and see how your grandmother is, as she told me she was feeling under the weather. Take her a slice of cake and this little pot of butter.' Little Red Riding Hood left straight away to go to her grandmother's house which was in another village. While walking through the woods, she met a cunning wolf who really wanted to gobble her up but didn't dare as there were some woodcutters nearby.

Figure 1: ‘En passant dans un bois, elle rencontra compère le Loup.’ [While walking through the woods, Little Red Riding Hood met a cunning wolf]. (Bahier-Porte, 2006: 142)

Figure 1: 'En passant dans un bois, elle rencontra compère le Loup.' [While walking through the woods, Little Red Riding Hood met a cunning wolf]. (Bahier-Porte, 2006: 142)

The wolf asked her where she was going, and the poor child, who didn't know it was dangerous to stop and talk to strangers, said to the wolf: 'I'm going to see my grandmother and I'm taking her a slice of cake and a little pot of butter that mother wants her to have.' - 'Does she live far away?' asked the wolf. - 'Yeah, yes she does,' replied Little Red Riding Hood, 'it's on the other side of the mill that you can see right over there, just there, the first house in the village.' - 'Ah well,' said the wolf, 'I want to pay her a visit too; I'll take this path and you take that one and we'll see who gets there first.' The wolf set off, charging down the path that was shorter and the little girl went on her way by the longer path, and in the meantime, she was enjoying collecting hazelnuts, running after butterflies and making floral bouquets from the flowers she came across. It wasn't long before the wolf arrived at the grandmother's house and knocked on the door; Knock, knock. 'Who is it?' - 'It's your granddaughter Little Red Riding Hood' (said the wolf, disguising its voice) 'I'm bringing you a slice of cake and a little pot of butter that mother has prepared for you.' The kindly grandmother, who had taken to her bed because she was feeling a bit unwell, shouted: 'Slide the bolt across and the latch will fall.' The wolf slid the bolt and the door opened.

Figure 2: ‘Cela n’empêche pas qu’avec ses grandes dents il avait mangé une bonne grand-mère.’ [Nothing could stop the wolf sinking its teeth in and gobbling up a good grandmother]. (Bahier-Porte, 2006: 144)

Figure 2: 'Cela n'empêche pas qu'avec ses grandes dents il avait mangé une bonne grand-mère.' [Nothing could stop the wolf sinking its teeth in and gobbling up a good grandmother]. (Bahier-Porte, 2006: 144)

In less than no time, the wolf threw itself on top of the grandmother and gobbled her up in a few mouthfuls as it had been more than three days since it had eaten. Then, it closed the door and got into the grandmother's bed awaiting the arrival of Little Red Riding Hood, who after some time came knocking at the door. Knock, knock. 'Who is it?' Little Red Riding Hood, on hearing the wolf's gruff voice, felt a bit scared at first, but then in believing that her grandmother was full of cold, replied: 'It's your granddaughter Little Red Riding Hood, I'm bringing you a slice of cake and a little pot of butter that mother has prepared for you.' The wolf shouted out, softening its voice a little: 'Slide the bolt across and the latch will fall.' Little Red Riding Hood slid the bolt and the door opened. The wolf, seeing her come in, said to her while hiding under the bedcovers: 'Put the cake and the little pot of butter on the bread bin, and come and get into bed with me.'

Figure 3: ‘Le petit chaperon rouge se deshabille et va se mettre dans le lit, où elle fut bien estonnée de voir comment sa Mere-grand estoit faite en son deshabillé’. [Little Red Riding Hood undressed and got into bed where she was so astonished to see what her grandmother looked like undressed / in her nightclothes]. (Perrault, 1697: 54)

Figure 3: 'Le petit chaperon rouge se deshabille et va se mettre dans le lit, où elle fut bien estonnée de voir comment sa Mere-grand estoit faite en son deshabillé'. [Little Red Riding Hood undressed and got into bed where she was so astonished to see what her grandmother looked like undressed / in her nightclothes]. (Perrault, 1697: 54)

Little Red Riding Hood undressed and got into bed where she was so astonished to see what her grandmother looked like undressed. She said to her: 'Granny, what big arms you have!' - 'All the better to hug you with, my girl.' - 'Granny, what big legs you have!' - 'All the better to run with, my child.' - 'Granny, what big ears you have!' - 'All the better to hear you with, my child.' - 'Granny, what big eyes you have!' - 'All the better to see you with, my dear child.' - 'Oh Granny, what big teeth you have!' - 'All the better to Eat You With!' As soon as these words had left the wolf's mouth, the nasty wolf threw itself on Little Red Riding Hood and gobbled her up.

The Moral
We see here that young children,
Especially young girls:
Beautiful, kind and well brought-up,
Can come a cropper listening to all sorts of people,
And should it not be strange,
That those who listen are the ones the wolf eats.
I say the wolf, because not all wolves are alike;
Some even have good manners,
Without a sound, without bitterness and without wrath,
They are private, pleasant and indeed sweet,
They follow young ladies
Even around the backstreets and even to their houses;
But alas! Who knew that these sweet-talking wolves,
Of all the wolves are definitely the most dangerous to listen to.

Introduction

The question of 'Who is the wolf?' in Perrault's seventeenth-century fairy tale Le Petit Chaperon rouge [Little Red Riding Hood] has already been asked by many academics and by authors rewriting the plot of the tale, with many focusing on the wolf as a male sexual predator (Barchilon, 1963: 99; Pommerat, 2007: 145-54). The reader may be drawn to this interpretation since Perrault writes that the girl is naked in bed and the moral depicts her as an adolescent girl rather than as a child. However, in many nineteenth-century versions such as in Pierre-Jules Hetzel's 1867 edition of Perrault's text, and notably in the Grimm brothers' extensively rewritten Rotkäppchen where Riding Hood and the grandmother's monstrous 'birth' saves them from the wolf, the fairy tale was published without a moral, and was destined for a child readership illustrated through no references to nakedness (Beckett, 2002: 50; Hetzel, 1867: xix). In keeping with this revised presentation of the tale, Gustave Doré's nineteenth-century illustrations of Perrault's edition depict Riding Hood as clothed.

Perrault's 1697 fairy tale, part of the Histoires ou contes du temps passé, avec des moralitez [Stories or Tales of Bygone Times, with Morals] including Cendrillon [Cinderella] and Le Chat botté [Puss in Boots], was concerned with championing authentic French poetry and prose as well as French oral sources in the contemporary Querelle des Anciens et des Modernes,[4] where Perrault was a key force in the modernist camp. The tales were immediately popular, leading to global translation and publication (Betts, 2010: x-xv). However, the original 1697 engraving placed above the title and featuring a female figure in bed confronted by an open-mouthed wolf lacked impact, with Doré's engravings the preferred choice by later editors such as Hetzel because Doré's did not give away the climax and were artistically more spectacular (Betts, 2010: xliv).

While Perrault's seventeenth-century tales were considered adult entertainment with only the moral serving a didactic purpose (Churchwell, 2009), nineteenth-century understanding of fairy tales was underpinned by a 'shift in attitudes about gender formation, sexuality and the use of power' (Zipes, 1993: xii). The whole of the main text as well as the moral of the fairy tale, if there was one, now took on a didactic literary status; to teach children that good behaviour would be rewarded and the bad punished by adults (Churchwell, 2009). Out of this movement in thought, children's literature was born in folkloric form. Hetzel had a major role in the dissemination of children's literature, publishing Honoré de Balzac's Les Contes Drolatiques [Droll Stories] in 1842 and Jules Verne's popular 1866 œuvre: Le Tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours [Around the World in Eighty Days] both containing Doré's wood-cut engravings. In Hetzel's 1867 edition of Les Contes de Perrault [Perrault's Tales] complete with preface written under his nom de plume of P. J. Stahl, Hetzel made no changes to Perrault's plot, sending the grandmother and Riding Hood to their final devouring. His modernisation of French spelling brought the tale to a nineteenth-century readership while respecting Perrault's seventeenth-century thought. Gustave Doré, who was already a successful illustrator after working on Dante's Inferno (1861) and on Tennyson's Idylls of the King (1867-68), furnished Hetzel's edition of Perrault's tale with three engravings that bolstered its popularity. Following Perrault's lead, Hetzel and Doré impacted on this new genre of children's literature by giving a lease of life to the illustrated book (Finke, 1972: 365). So much so that all three, along with the Grimm brothers, inspired Angela Carter's feminist reworking of Little Red Riding Hood, 'The Company of Wolves' in The Bloody Chamber, as well as inspiring other mediums of diffusing folkloric literature such as Lapine and Sondheim's 2014 Disney musical Into the Woods.

Just as Hetzel widened the francophone readership of Perrault's tale, the modern English translation in this article aims to make Perrault's Little Red Riding Hood accessible to those able and unable to read French alike who would have difficulty deciphering the manuscript. The juxtaposition of visual text and images with the rustic, oral quality of the language provides the impetus to compare Charles Perrault's seventeenth-century text with Doré's nineteenth-century engravings, rather than with the 1697 engraving, especially since, artistically, Doré was considered above all other illustrators to have the master interpretation of Perrault's text (Le Men, 1992: 19). Furthermore, I will undertake an original interdisciplinary approach that moves between literary and pictorial analysis (typically critics focus solely on the text when analysing the tales). This critical study of Little Red Riding Hood should concern anyone who has read, or had read to them, the fairy tale as a child and enjoyed looking at the pictures.

This article will argue that Perrault's wolf can be read as a monstrous woman, defined by its large limbs emphasised by the feminine attire, the gruff voice - which it controls to produce a feminine timbre - and cruel desire to lure Riding Hood into bed enacted in a restrained manner through the reassuring guise of the grandmother's clothes. All of which function to heighten the drama of Riding Hood's devouring through Perrault's use of the merveilleux,[5] a literary device which renders the supernatural dress code and speech plausible as a lens to better understand the danger in which Riding Hood finds herself (Seifert, 1996: 30). This monstrous woman interpretation is suggested visually in the wolf's desire to ingest both the grandmother and Riding Hood through the blending of human characteristics with exaggerated animal traits. The wolf's capacity for monstrous devouring is celebrated in Hetzel's edition of Perrault's text when he states that children do not bat an eyelid when faced with monstrosity, 'sans broncher ce qui me paraît une monstruosité' (Hetzel, 1867: xiv) and in Marina Warner's book From the Beast to the Blonde when she states that 'children are more thrilled than disgusted by the wolf who gobbles up Red Riding Hood' (Warner, 1995: 202). Namely, that children perhaps convey fearlessness to avoid appearing vulnerable and that when the façade fails to prevent the wolf from devouring Riding Hood, children are captivated by the primal desire to deride Riding Hood for unsuccessfully sweet-talking the wolf.

Toril Moi, meanwhile, suggests that Simone de Beauvoir's allusion to Little Red Riding Hood in Mémoires d'une jeune fille rangée [Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter; 1958], evokes the female child's 'desire - or obligation to fascinate and please the male' (Moi, 2008: 43). Moi's gender theory reveals female monstrosity when Riding Hood attempts to sweet-talk the wolf perhaps as a man-in-drag through the rhetorical technique of blazon, first used by Petrarch and then extensively by the sixteenth-century French poet Clément Marot to extol individual female appendages, evident in the climactic refrain 'Ma mere-grand que vous avez de grands bras [...] de grandes jambes [...] de grandes oreilles [...] de grands yeux [...] de grandes dens!' [What big arms ... legs ... ears ... eyes ... teeth you have!] (Perrault, 1697: 54-55). Exploring these intimate female relationships in the tale, this article intends to demonstrate how the wolf dressed up in the grandmother's clothes might be deemed emblematic of a monstrous woman, not just in its appearance but also in its speech, particularly at the end of the fairy tale. Here the wolf displays female monstrosity when it imitates the speech of the female personas, Riding Hood and the grandmother, in order to satisfy its monstrous desire to eat. The text and engravings will be discussed thematically rather than chronologically because this approach isolates and highlights the wolf's journey to becoming a monstrous woman from a vantage point outside the text.

'A Wolf in a [bonnet] is an embarrassed wolf!'

(Forward, 2005; Hommel, 2006: 230 adapted).

Figure 3: ‘Le petit chaperon rouge se deshabille et va se mettre dans le lit, où elle fut bien estonnée de voir comment sa Mere-grand estoit faite en son deshabillé’. [Little Red Riding Hood undressed and got into bed where she was so astonished to see what her grandmother looked like undressed / in her nightclothes]. (Perrault, 1697: 54)

Figure 3: 'Le petit chaperon rouge se deshabille et va se mettre dans le lit, où elle fut bien estonnée de voir comment sa Mere-grand estoit faite en son deshabillé'. [Little Red Riding Hood undressed and got into bed where she was so astonished to see what her grandmother looked like undressed / in her nightclothes].[6] (Perrault, 1697: 54)

In Toby Forward's modern re-telling of Little Red Riding Hood, notions of animal femininity are addressed when the wolf wears a dress, prompting the reflection 'A wolf in a dress is an embarrassed wolf' (Hommel, 2006: 230). However in Joël Pommerat's modern French-language play, which emphasises the wolf''s male sexuality through the wolf asking Riding Hood to strip before devouring her, the wolf is portrayed as furry rather than clothed (Pommerat, 2007: 152). Between Perrault's text and Doré's engravings there is a similar clothing disjunction since Perrault does not mention the wolf as clothed, only that Riding Hood undresses of her own accord and immediately gets under the bedcovers next to the wolf, perhaps innocently to bed-share for warmth, as was common during the seventeenth century (Worsley, 2011: 8). Doré, however, illustrates both the wolf and Riding Hood as clothed, which changes the English translation of Figure 3. Here, Doré is extending Perrault's use of the merveilleux to create a talking wolf who is cunning enough to use clothes as a disguise. The rationale behind these differing interpretations of whether both the wolf and Riding Hood, one of them, or neither are clothed lies in the ambiguity of Perrault's language in the caption to Figure 3.

The verb 'se déshabiller' is problematic as its literal translation 'to undress (oneself)' can mean either: to be fully naked or partially dressed in underwear or nightwear. Pommerat's play selects the naked or furry nuance to shock the twenty-first-century audience, whereas Doré's engraving portrays the nightwear nuance perhaps to censor nakedness from a conservative nineteenth-century observer (Goldstein and Nedd, 2015). The full verb 'to undress (oneself)', covering both nuances, has been utilised in this article's modern English translation to respect Perrault's ambiguity. As such, Doré's engravings and later versions of the tale can legitimately portray the wolf and/or Riding Hood as either naked or clothed.

In Doré's engraving, Figure 3, the wolf disguised in the grandmother's clothes might be said to signify monstrosity because it embodies a large size and lures Riding Hood into bed. We can see that the large dark grey snout of the wolf starkly contrasts with the white of the grandmother's bonnet which is suggestive of the danger that might reside in darkness. Furthermore, the notion of danger is reinforced by Doré's lack of precision in his engraving of the bedcovers around the snout area, which is sketched in a way that obscures whether the mouth is open or closed. This dark obscurity of the mouth suggests movement thus the wolf could be mimicking mastication which directly links to the notion of eating. The feminine bonnet which seeks to round the face of the wearer cannot, in this case, entirely tame the sharp features of the wolf's elongated snout and especially the masticating mouth, giving the impression of rearing masculinity behind the womanly façade. Consequently, the feminine clothing suggests the emblem of a monstrous woman because instead of taming the wolf's large and unfeminine features, it draws attention to them. In this way, the bonnet in Doré's engraving is used as a means to an end to satisfy the wolf's desire to eat Riding Hood as it seeks to deform the wolf by enhancing its sharp snout and strong legs, which hint at the wolf's animal nature, in order to heighten the immediacy of the danger that Riding Hood finds herself in, while also giving the wolf female qualities with which to ensnare its prey. It must be remembered that the merveilleux operates in this scene: the observer suspends their disbelief at Riding Hood's naivety when she believes the wolf to be her grandmother, apparently fearless of the beast because the grandmother is family.

Figure 2: ‘Cela n’empêche pas qu’avec ses grandes dents il avait mangé une bonne grand-mère.’ [Nothing could stop the wolf sinking its teeth in and gobbling up a good grandmother]. (Bahier-Porte, 2006: 144)

Figure 2: 'Cela n'empêche pas qu'avec ses grandes dents il avait mangé une bonne grand-mère.' [Nothing could stop the wolf sinking its teeth in and gobbling up a good grandmother]. (Bahier-Porte, 2006: 144)

Doré's engraving of the naked wolf just about to devour the grandmother in Figure 2 shows an oscillation between the depiction of the wolf as an animal because it is not clothed, and the wolf as a woman wearing a bonnet in Figure 3. The wolf's hunger appears aggressive and animalistic when confronting the grandmother here, yet in Figure 3, the wolf can be seen as a monstrous woman considering that it manages to keep its voracious appetite under wraps when wearing the bonnet. Judith Butler explains in her critical study Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity that wearing the bonnet can control the wolf's aggressive appetite because gender is a performance, defined as a 'styli[s]ation' [of the external self] ... 'in the context of a body' (Butler, 2010: xv). As nineteenth-century gender norms required women to be restrained, both in their clothing as well as in their behaviour (Bolich, 2006, vol. 1: 105), the wolf must perform both externally to be convincing. In keeping its large teeth and tongue out of sight while in drag, thus restraining its urge to devour Riding Hood evident in Figure 3, the wolf is fully performing the woman. Here the wolf is suppressing its desire to eat, which directly brings about the notion of monstrosity as there is a humanistic sense of self-control. This represents feminine restraint whereby the wolf can turn its hunger pangs on and off at will. More precisely, it is possible that the bedcovers could hide the wolf's masticating mouth gestures, which would indicate that the desire to eat is still active, but restrained until the right moment to pounce. Consequently, the wolf can be seen as a cunning man-in-drag, therefore a monstrous woman, because the bonnet costume is a flawed façade which performs without internal femininity. However, the bonnet does succeed, externally, in duping Riding Hood into believing the wolf is actually her grandmother. The wolf's cunning is specifically monstrous because it uses the prop of the bonnet alongside the act of restrained behaviour for the malign purpose of devouring Riding Hood.

Food for thought: masticating monstrosity in the wolf's speech

The wolf uses imperatives such as 'mets la galette & le petit pot de beurre sur la huche' - [put the cake and the little pot of butter on the bread bin], and 'viens te coucher avec moy' - [come and get into bed with me] (Perrault, 1697: 54), in order to lure Riding Hood into bed so that it can pounce on and then devour her. Both verbs 'mets' and 'viens' are in the second person singular, informal tense which suggests that the wolf is imitating the grandmother's affection towards Riding Hood. Had the wolf chosen to use the more formal 'mettez' [put], and 'venez' [come], then the effect of intimacy would have been lost as the formal verb forms would give the impression of both physical and emotional distance. It is Riding Hood, though, who first strikes up this intimate tone with the wolf because when she is asked how far away her grandmother lives, she is only too keen to tell the wolf. Riding Hood's response: 'Oh, ouy' (Perrault, 1697: 50) is translated into the informal, tautological 'Yeah, yes' rather than 'Oh, yes' in the modern English translation, in order to emphasise through repetition how gushing she is to talk to the wolf.

What makes the wolf's imperatives monstrous is the fact that Riding Hood cannot tell the difference between the grandmother's benign affection and the wolf's mock affection and that she follows the wolf's commands without question. She is perhaps too innocent and trusting to tell the difference. The moral in Perrault's edition blames Riding Hood for her innocence, stating that listening to the wolf in the woods was her downfall: 'de jeunes filles [...] font tres-mal d'écouter toute sorte de gens' - [young girls can come a cropper listening to all sorts of people] (Perrault, 1697: 56). The wolf's ability to mimic femininity in speech as well as through clothing is therefore key to understanding its monstrous behaviour. Perrault implies that the wolf becomes female by rapidly acquiring the language of female spaces such as the bread bin, the cake, and the butter. The transition of the wolf from the male space of the woods to the female space of the house is thus marked by the wolf's rapid domestication once inside (Verna Haize, 2003: 39). In terms of gender as a performance, the wolf uses the house as a theatrical set to perform in. Figure 3 conveys Riding Hood as curious due to her direct eye contact with the deferential wolf whereas in Figure 2, the wolf is an animal greedy for the kill. These suggest the wolf is a monstrous woman because it successfully performs restrained desire, beguiling Riding Hood.

Monstrous love: eat your heart out!

Figure 1: ‘En passant dans un bois, elle rencontra compère le Loup.’ [While walking through the woods, Little Red Riding Hood met a cunning wolf]. (Bahier-Porte, 2006: 142)

Figure 1: 'En passant dans un bois, elle rencontra compère le Loup.' [While walking through the woods, Little Red Riding Hood met a cunning wolf]. (Bahier-Porte, 2006: 142)

Figure 1 shows Riding Hood as bold and curious on meeting the wolf in the woods through the eye contact exchanged between the two subjects. They also appear to be the equal of each other due to their similar height. Moreover, this meeting marks for the wolf the formation of the desire to eat Riding Hood, but equally for Riding Hood, she formulates the desire to reveal she is en route to the grandmother's house perhaps because she secretly wishes to be followed by the wolf. Claude De La Genardière suggests in his reading of Little Red Riding Hood that the underlying rationale for being followed is that Riding Hood is fearful of growing up, so wishes to be consumed to avoid taking on the responsibility of tending to her sick grandmother that comes with age (De La Genardière, 1988: 425). While it is possible that Riding Hood might like to be followed because it would feed her ego that the wolf is flattered by her presence, evident in the moral where Perrault describes the wolf as 'doux' [sweet-talking] (Perrault, 1697: 56), it seems less likely that Riding Hood fears growing up because when she is chasing butterflies and picking bouquets of flowers, she appears to embrace her independence which comes with age. It is perhaps more probable that stopping to talk to the wolf in the woods marks a point of no return. What may have started off as an ego-trip - that is, self-importance because the wolf took an interest in her - turns to tragedy simply because Riding Hood is too innocent. In revealing her unchaperoned journey through the woods to the grandmother's house, Riding Hood in fact conveys youthful inexperience and vulnerability more strongly than the strength of character for undertaking the journey alone she perhaps assumes she is conveying.

The wolf can be seen as an opportunist for exploiting Riding Hood's vulnerability and as such, De La Genardière clarifies Perrault's stance that the wolf is 'méchant' [nasty] for devouring Riding Hood (Perrault, 1697: 55) whereas the grandmother is the opposite, 'bonne' [of good character] (Perrault, 1697: 52). However, these moral qualities of the protagonists might not be as simple as Perrault's description suggests considering that the wolf mimics the language of the girl, the mother and the grandmother so closely that they almost seem to merge at certain points in the text: 'Le loup fait tenir ensemble les deux faces par sa double position: pris pour l'enfant et pris pour la grand-mère'. [The wolf manages to convincingly keep up its two-faced façade through the double demeanour it takes advantage of: It is mistaken for the child by the grandmother and mistaken for the grandmother by the child] (De La Genardière, 1988: 423). This might lead the reader to the interpretation that Riding Hood's mother and grandmother may be 'nasty', stupid and even wolfish for not chaperoning her through the woods, because they neglect Riding Hood's safety by leaving her to walk through the woods without advising her not to talk to strangers. In this way, the mother and grandmother can be seen as playing an equal role as the wolf in setting up Riding Hood's devouring because they fail to protect her as much as the wolf succeeds in gleaning the grandmother's address from her so it can plot to reach there first.

In comparing Figure 1 in the woods with the wolf in bed in Figure 3, monstrosity might be said to be brought about by the wolf's merging with the female roles of the mother and the grandmother. At the beginning of the tale, the mother's language is in the imperative: 'Va voir comme se porte ta mere-grand' [Go and see how your grandmother is] and 'portes luy une galette & ce petit pot de beure' [Take her a slice of cake and this little pot of butter] (Perrault, 1697: 48). This echoes the wolf-grandmother's orders to Riding Hood of 'mets' and 'viens'. This analysis of the parallel imperatives as directly responsible for merging the roles of the wolf-mother-grandmother-granddaughter goes further than De La Genardière's analysis of repeated motifs in the tale. De La Genardière notes repetition in the wolf and Riding Hood's similar speech, though he does not mention the parallels in speech between the wolf and the mother.

Repetition is also found in the double devouring scenes which lead to a lack of redemption for both the grandmother and Riding Hood as they are not rescued from the wolf's stomach in Perrault's text as they are in the nineteenth-century Grimm brothers' version. Similarly, when the wolf makes Riding Hood's journey to the grandmother's house into a game by sweet-talking her into taking the longer path so the wolf can take the shorter one and devour the grandmother before Riding Hood arrives, this is mirrored by Riding Hood's own sweet-talking of the wolf just before she is devoured. In the refrain:

Ma mere-grand que vous avez de grands bras ! [...] ma mere-grand que vous avez de grandes jambes ! [...] ma mere-grand que vous avez de grandes oreilles ! [...] ma mere-grand que vous avez de grands yeux ! [...] ma mere-grand que vous avez de grandes dens ! [Granny, what big arms ... legs ... ears ... eyes ... teeth you have!] (Perrault, 1697: 54-55)

Riding Hood takes each of the grandmother's appendages and comments on their large size individually. What makes these appendages particularly feminine and specifically part of the blazon genre is the way that Riding Hood shows 'obsessive insistence on particular body parts' (Finney, 1991: 63) as well as repeatedly attributing the appendages to the grandmother by beginning each exclamation with 'Ma mere-grand' [Granny] (Perrault, 1697: 54-55).

This use of anaphora before selecting a different body part leaves the reader or listener in no doubt that Riding Hood only sees the wolf's monstrous appendages as belonging to the female grandmother. By depicting the wolf-grandmother as a series of dissociated parts rather than as a whole, Riding Hood can overcome any fear the large body parts may cause her to feel (Finney, 1991: 63). Riding Hood's fear is palpable when first getting into bed, seen in her wide-eyed expression and clenched hand around the bedcovers in Figure 3, but less obvious in Perrault's text where she is described as 'estonnée' [astonished], because the adjective has both positive and negative meanings - one can be astonished in delight or astonished with fear - although the latter is more probable given the context (Perrault, 1697: 54). Finney goes on to say that the blazon technique 'functioned as a power strategy', that is, 'to control, to possess, and ultimately, to use to one's own ends' (Finney, 1991: 63). It is unlikely that Riding Hood, who is portrayed as innocent throughout Perrault's tale and Doré's engravings, is attempting to become wolfish with the intent to devour the wolf-grandmother, perhaps as a revenge plan for having lured her into bed. It may be possible, though, that Riding Hood is sweet-talking the wolf through the blazon after she has got into bed by exclaiming largeness, thus commending monstrosity in order to dissuade the wolf-grandmother from devouring her. Riding Hood may have felt fear at the point of astonishment, but by this stage it is too late for her to escape. This removal of fear for the wolf is perhaps what causes Riding Hood to mistake the wolf's desire to devour her for the grandmother's love when getting into bed. Riding Hood is therefore consumed by the monstrous wolf-grandmother not only as an object of the wolf's desire but also as an object of misguided motherly love, because she is too trusting. It is important for the reader of Perrault's text to consider this interpretation as it is here that the notions of love, hunger and desire merge, leaving behind for the reader a monstrous blur of motherly love and the primal desire to eat.

Conclusion

The questions raised about the wolf's gender and the audience of Charles Perrault's Le Petit Chaperon rouge will remain an ongoing debate. However, I believe that the wolf's femininity, as depicted in both its clothed appearance and also in its alluring feminised speech, goes hand in hand with its animalistic desire to satisfy hunger. This article has looked at the original seventeenth-century text and nineteenth-century illustrations in order to show similarities and differences in how the fairy tale was circulated over time, revealing that what constituted proper reading matter for children also changed over the years. The article further shows how Little Red Riding Hood was subject to societal notions of innocence as well as nakedness versus the state of being clothed (Dundes, 1989: 95 and Beckett, 2002: 194). Doré's Figures 1 and 2 closely illustrate Perrault's edition of the tale whereas Figure 3 presents a hybrid engraving where Perrault's text meets illustrator's interpretation of a clothed wolf-grandmother. Equally, the wolf's use of imperatives have been analysed in order to assert that the wolf imitates the speech of the female relations as well as their appearance. What we can gauge from some secondary interpretations of the tale, particularly those of De La Genardière, is that the wolf devours Riding Hood because she is an object of too much love, whose innocence reflects a lack of preparation by her mother and grandmother to enter the hostile woods (De La Genardière, 1988: 427). What is clear in this analysis is that the wolf becomes a monstrous woman in both Charles Perrault's text and in Gustave Doré's engravings. This is evident in the clothes and the speech used to construct the wolf's female persona, but most importantly, monstrosity is evident in its desire to satisfy hunger. This desire is therefore directly responsible for driving the monstrous behaviour of the wolf in devouring both the grandmother and then Riding Hood herself.


Acknowledgements

I would like to thank Dr Cathy Hampton at the University of Warwick for her help in the early stages of writing this article. Thanks also go to the editors at Reinvention Journal for supporting me throughout the peer-review process. My deepest gratitude is owed to my parents for their unwavering support throughout my degree.

List of illustrations

Figure 1: 'En passant dans un bois, elle rencontra compère le Loup.' [While walking through the woods, Little Red Riding Hood met a cunning wolf]. (Bahier-Porte, 2006: 142). Public Domain image available at: http://volobuef.tripod.com/pictures-maerchen/GustaveDore_0001_Red_Riding_Hood_meets_old_Father_Wolf.jpg [accessed 10 July 2014]. Reproduced with kind permission of Karin Volobuef.

Figure 2: 'Cela n'empêche pas qu'avec ses grandes dents il avait mangé une bonne grand-mère.' [Nothing could stop the wolf sinking its teeth in and gobbling up a good grandmother]. (Bahier-Porte, 2006: 144). Public Domain image available at: http://volobuef.tripod.com/pictures-maerchen/GustaveDore_0002_He_sprang_upon_the_old_woman_and_ate_her_up.jpg [accessed 10 July 2014]. Reproduced with kind permission of Karin Volobuef.

Figure 3: 'Le petit chaperon rouge se deshabille et va se mettre dans le lit, où elle fut bien estonnée de voir comment sa Mere-grand estoit faite en son deshabillé'. [Little Red Riding Hood undressed and got into bed where she was so astonished to see what her grandmother looked like undressed / in her nightclothes]. (Perrault, 1697: 54). Public Domain image available at: http://volobuef.tripod.com/pictures-maerchen/GustaveDore_0003_She_was_astonished_to_see_how_her_grandmother_looked.jpg [accessed 10 July 2014]. Reproduced with kind permission of Karin Volobuef.

Notes

[1] Gemma Egan graduated with a BA Honours in English and French from the University of Warwick in July 2015. During the third year of her degree, she completed a Year Abroad studying French literature alongside Beginners German and Latin at L'Université de Bourgogne in Dijon, France. Gemma is currently taking a year out and researching postgraduate options.

[2] This is my own translation of Charles Perrault's Le Petit Chaperon rouge including the Moral and all other translations in this article such as captions and in-text citations.

[3] I have chosen to translate the French 'galette' into English as a 'cake' to make the translation more fluid. An English reader may speculate what a galette is if I had kept the original French which would distract from reading the tale. I have sought to avoid this distraction.

[4] The Querelle des Anciens et des Modernes [Quarrel of the Ancients and Moderns] is a literary debate that raged in England and France during the seventeenth century. Authors who positioned themselves on the side of the Ancient Greek and Roman writers (Anciens), such as Boileau, argued that the literature of Antiquity could not be surpassed. Conversely, authors such as Charles Perrault, who was fiercely aligned with the Moderns (Modernes), challenged the authority of classical writers arguing that classical scholarship was not sufficiently enlightened to equal the knowledge of Renaissance intellectuals.

[5] The merveilleux is a French term translatable into English as marvellous or miraculous, and is a device used by both Perrault and Doré to bend reality, allowing the presence of talking or clothed animals, for example, to be perceived as a normal occurrence in the fairy-tale world.

[6] Neither Hetzel nor Doré excerpted citations from the fairy tale to correspond to the illustrations. Perrault also never included a caption with his single engraving. In this article, Figures 1 and 2 use the exact captions used by Bahier-Porte in her 2006 edition of Perrault's tale. Figure 1's caption is an excerpt from Perrault's text but Figure 2 is of editorial invention. Figure 3, however, includes a caption which is excerpted directly from Perrault's 1697 manuscript rather than from Bahier-Porte's edition. This has been chosen because the excerpt serves the dual purpose of providing a caption as well as material for language analysis; Figures 1 and 2 only function as captions. Bahier-Porte similarly chose to excerpt from Perrault's tale for Figure 3 rather than write her own, so to avoid including the same citation twice within the article, it is more economical to excerpt from Perrault's manuscript for the caption in this instance.

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To cite this paper please use the following details: Egan, G. (2016), "'All the Better to Eat You With!': Charles Perrault's Monstrous Wolf in Le Petit Chaperon rouge", Reinvention: an International Journal of Undergraduate Research, Volume 9, Issue 1, http://www.warwick.ac.uk/reinventionjournal/archive/volume9issue1/egan Date accessed [insert date]. If you cite this article or use it in any teaching or other related activities please let us know by e-mailing us at Reinventionjournal at warwick dot ac dot uk.