Banned Book 7 - Little Red Riding Hood

Little Red Riding Hood - Jacob Grimm, Wilhelm Grimm, Daniel Egneus Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked: Sex, Morality, and the Evolution of a Fairy Tale - Catherine Orenstein The Trials and Tribulations of Little Red Riding Hood - Jack Zipes

It’s true, that banned book poster that shows two girls – one with a gun, the other with a copy of Little Red Riding Hood.  Little Red Riding Hood has been banned in parts of the United States.  Apparently, taking wine to your grandmother means you are going to be lush.


                You don’t even have to wait until you grow up.


                Little Red Riding Hood also gets banned when the Brothers Grimm get banned because she forms part of that collection.  The reasons for the Brothers being on the hit list range from sexuality to violence to stereotypes.


                Truthfully, LRRH has been mess with well before she traveled to America.  The earliest known version has the girl saving herself (or saving herself with the aid of washer women) after she has sipped some of the soup made with dear old Grandma.  You know that excuse of going to the bathroom to sneak out on a date going wrong?   Red Riding Hood invented that.


                The sub-text of the tale has been debated for, well, centuries.  There is a sexual tone to it, especially in Perrault’s version, but that really isn’t what gets censored.  Perrault’s ending is changed in some – the Grimms’ version for instance – for the French writer had his girl eaten and digested.  No coming back.


                The Grimms’ version is perhaps the best known, even if the Woodcutter saving the girl isn’t as popular an illustration as some others.  It is the version used in Into the Woods.   But even that version has been edited, dare we say censored, because in the original Grimms (as Angela Carter notes and includes in her collection of folk tales), there is a second wolf who tries to eat Red and Grandma after their rescue.  This time the ladies handle it on their own.  Red has learned.  This coda is usually left out.  Perhaps because it shows women doing?  Can’t have that.  They might be getting ideas.


                But even this form of “censorship” has been challenged lately, where we have version of Red who is a zombie that enjoys a wolf snack among others. 


                That is, if such stories don’t get pulled from libraries.