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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

70 Red Riding Hoods claim the right of women to make decisions without wolves on the prowl

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“Little Red Riding Hood”, the story that mothers and fathers read to their children in childhood despite the crudeness of a story where a wolf devours an old woman and her granddaughter, originated in Europe, at the end of 1600, as a story oral that was not intended for children although it was later versioned on paper by Charles Perrault.

“Once upon a time there was a little girl in a village, the most beautiful that had ever been seen,” begins Perrault’s story in which the protagonist, dressed in a red hood, must bring her sick grandmother a cake, as she tells a wolf that she finds on her way and that will arrive faster than her to that granny’s house and, after devouring her, will wait for the girl to do the same.

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“Here we see that adolescence, especially young ladies, well-made, kind and pretty, should not listen to just anyone, and it is not surprising to see that many of the wolf are prey,” reads Perrault’s final moral .

The story was later taken up by the Grimm brothers, who toned down the horrendous ending and incorporated the figure of a hunter who manages to rescue the girl and her grandmother alive from the belly of the wolf. What hasn’t changed is the presence of a final warning to the girls/women, which in this new version finds Little Red Riding Hood musing, “I will never again turn from the path and into the woods.”

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Undoubtedly, this story has functioned as one of the disciplinary tales of behavior and the female body, but that is not the only reading that can be made of it. To motivate these “other readings”, starting tomorrow the popular library La Chicharra, located on streets 18 and 71 of La Plata, invites you to see the exhibition “Seventy Little Red Riding Hoods and a bookstore”.

There are 70 editions of Little Red Riding Hood, books published in the country and other countries in the world that reverse that story: history returns in different times, with different Little Red Riding Hoods, different wolves and even different versions of grandmothers but with the same objective: to rethink what we the story tells today, why this story that is more than 400 years old remains valid.

“The idea of ​​carrying out this type of initiative was born in the midst of the pandemic. We want to work on book samples that involve the exercise of asking some questions, motivating readings based on the idea of ​​possible variations and versions of the same book that, as in this case became a classic,” Gabriela Pesclevi, a member of the La Chicharra Library, tells Télam, where the exhibition will take place until September 30.

“My maternal family bequeathed me the Little Red Riding Hood of warnings, just as it was born in 1697, with extreme literalness and with the same folklore, but despite that admonitory tale, which had to do with ‘don’t go into the unknown ‘, there was an enjoyment that exceeds the warning and invites transgression, because there is always the possibility of transgressing, of following an alternate path”, says the librarian.

In the popular library La Chicharra, children’s workshops had been held years ago where they had worked with the figure of the wolf, which even led to the development of a beautiful book that presents various “types” of wolves, illustrated by the children themselves. And what sealed the theme of the exhibition was the contact with the bookseller Ana Omelusik, who made her collection of Little Red Riding Hoods available to her.

“When I began to treasure the different versions of Little Red Riding Hood, I did not clearly have the idea of ​​a collection or what is meant by it. From a very young age I always went to collect illustrated books with different themes that attracted me. In the case of Little Red Riding Hood, my special My affection for her dates back to my childhood and connects me directly with my paternal grandmother. It was her versions of the story, which she told me on the way to the fields, that aroused in me this interest that continues to this day,” Omelesik explains to this agency.

With these 70 versions published in the country, in Spain, in Chile, in the United States and France, among other countries – more than half of them reversions or free versions – Paula Panfili, Verónica Barbera and Gabriela Pesclevi were in charge of setting up the exhibition in that entity with the aim of generating interpretations, readings and rethinking what Little Red Riding Hood tells us today, if she follows the disciplining message, what would she be afraid of in the present and also who the wolves are.

“Originally transmitted orally, popular tales spoke of fantasy and fear at the same time, and tried to teach the children of the time aspects and values ​​of life with moralistic messages. The function was to discourage children to commit reckless actions”, specifies Omelusik, who remarks that “the story of Little Red Riding Hood did not arise in principle for a child audience”.

“No story can remain unchanged for a long time. Little Red Riding Hood is one of them. Its original meaning has already been forgotten. The original load of violence has been suppressed, adhering to values ​​of reconciliation and forgiveness. I think that today its reversals are more playful. The Little Red Riding Hood-Wolf antagonism no longer counts in the same way, with the same symbolic load. The roles are reversed, the encounters are friendly. Little Red Riding Hood is not at all naive and the Wolf is no longer so fierce”, he highlights.

Omelusik maintains that “the figure of the werewolf, Bzou or simply wolf, is fascinating. In the versions it is present in different ways. From the most traditional as the cunning and menacing omnipresent villain, or as the great shadow transformed into a forest, or a naive greedy, the lost in love or the sullen conquered by a little reading hood”.

An example of this not so fierce wolf can be found in the book “A Little Red Riding Hood” by Marjorie Leray, one of those 70 versions of this story that will be exhibited in this exhibition. There a thin “ferocious wolf” appears, with huge claws and fangs that announces to Little Red Riding Hood that he is going to eat her but the girl, very sure, says: “no”, that he will not devour her because “you have bad breath” and then offers him a piece of candy. Puzzled, the wolf accepts and instantly grabs his throat with his claws and then drops dead. On the final page we see Little Red Riding Hood say “Naive” with satisfaction, after having poisoned him with her candy.

“There are versions where the wolf does not want to be fierce but happy, and is interested in dancing, or editions that recover the wolf’s gaze and explain his resentment towards humans for having killed his wolf companion, that is, they recover the wolf’s gaze “says the bookstore.

For Pesclevi, the figure of the wolf “invites us to reflect on who the other is in history, how we look at others, even at animals.” In many of these versions the forest is not such either and has mutated into urban environments: from the interior of a passenger bus to a city of tall buildings and highways where there are youth gangs that lie in wait like wolves.

In these 70 versions, not only Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf are the protagonists, since the show also recovers the figure of the grandmother, mainly a cunning, active grandmother.

“In many contemporary families, the figure of protection, of protection, is the grandmother, because the mother works all day. She is the hospitable figure, the place of trust and transgression, with the grandmother you can do things that with the mother you cannot and that is very Caperutian in its original version,” says Pesclevi.

Regarding the grandmother’s cunning, he recalls that “in one of the versions, ‘The night of the visit’, by Benoit Jacques, published in France with excellent illustrations and a rhymed text, there is someone who knocks on the door of the house of the grandmother, at night, obviously a man and the grandmother from the inside does not open it. She is not stupid, she has the knowledge of the old Vizcacha and she will not give way to those who do not know, “he exemplifies.

“I don’t know him”, “I’m a bit hard of understanding. Can you shout?”, “I can’t hear you”, are the excuses that the old woman makes for not opening the door to a wolf who pretends to be different vendors and begins to get tired: ” I’m the one in the fourth, who’s fed up, or better the one in the third who’s up to the hairs,” he declaims, until as a last resort he confesses that he’s the big bad wolf and “I’m here to eat her as agreed, so be reasonable, open me up” .

But not even that manages to get the old woman to open it and finally she leaves.

Omelusik values ​​that “in the story the role of the grandmother is very important. She is the person who orders the red hood to be made and gives it as a gift, the cause of emphasizing the beauty of the girl, feeding her vanity. It is the reason why Little Red Riding Hood is sent through the woods. Grandma completes the cycle of puberty-motherhood-menopause.”

Source: Ambito

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