In this regard, Perrault began a series of literary transformations that have caused nothing but trouble for the female object of male desire and have also relected the crippling aspect of male desire itself. What are the signiicant changes he made? First, she is donned with a red hat, a chaperon,56 making her into a type of bourgeois girl tainted with sin since red, like the scarlet letter A, recalls the devil and heresy. Second, she is spoiled, negligent, and naive. Third, she speaks to a wolf in the woods—rather dumb on her part—and makes a type of contract with him: she accepts a wager, which, it is implied, she wants to lose.
Fifth, she is swallowed or raped like her grandmother. Sixth, there is no salvation, simply an ironic moral in verse that warns little girls to beware of strangers, otherwise they will deservedly suffer the conse- quences.
Jorinda and Joringel Grimm, 69 Brother and Sister Grimm, 13 Cinderella Grimm, 21 Rapunzel Grimm, 12 A frequent problem which troubles kindergarten teachers is how to select tales for a mixed-age group. His murder exhibits one of the first examples of sound in the tale. The tale further illustrates tradition through its description of a natural cyclical framework that predates the clock's role in organizing societal life, which started during the Renaissance. It'll be awesome. Referred to by lyrics from its first two lines - my mother slew me, my father ate me - the song is a miniature narrative of the preceding plot. Categorized under two different numbers by Aarne-Thompson. We never find out.
Sex is obviously sinful. It was translated into English by Robert Samber in and into other European languages. The Grimms made further alterations worth noting. Here the mother plays a more signiicant role by warning Little Red Riding Hood not to stray from the path through the woods. Little Red Riding Hood is more or less incited by the wolf to enjoy nature and to pick lowers.
Instead of being raped to death, both grandma and granddaughter are saved by a male hunter or gamekeeper who polices the woods. Only a strong male igure can rescue a girl from herself and her lustful desires. What constituted its memetic quality? If memes are selish, as Dawkins has declared, the persistence of a story that presents rape relevantly in a discursive form to indicate the girl asked to be raped, or contributed to her own rape, can be attrib- uted to the struggle among competing memes within patriarchal soci- eties that tend to view rape from a male viewpoint that rationalizes the aggressive male sexual behavior.
Yet, it is not entirely negative as a meme, and it is a meme that has mutated, especially in the past thirty-ive years, under strong ideo- logical inluences of the feminist movement. Perrault did not dispute the fact that men tend to be predatory, but he shifted the respon- sibility of physical violence and the violation of the body to the female, and since his communication it the dominant ideology of his times shared by many women and perhaps ours , his story competed with all others and became the dominant meme and remains so to this day.
As dominant meme, it does not simply convey the notion that women are responsible for their own rape, but it also conveys a warning about strangers in the woods, the danger of violation, and an extreme moral lesson: kill the rapist or be killed. Used or transformed as a warning tale, it reveals that the tale is open to multiple interpretations and also has a positive cultural function. Certainly, it is very dificult to change sexual behavior.
At times, Pinker minimizes the connection between sexual drives, social reinforcements, and social power that still enable males to exercise their domination in various ways, but he also fortunately recognizes the sig- niicance of the feminist challenge to the way rape is displayed, trans- mitted, and narrated in Western society. If we have to acknowledge that sexuality can be a source of conlict and not just wholesome mutual pleasure, we will have rediscovered a truth that observers of the human condition have noted throughout history. The great contribution of feminism to the morality of rape is to put issues of consent and coercion at center stage.
The ultimate motives of the rapist are irrelevant. I want to close with some brief remarks about a remarkable ilm that relects upon the possibility for cultural transformation or change. She is picked up on a highway by a serial rapist and killer, and because she is so street smart, she manages to turn the tables on him, grab his gun, and shoot him.
She then takes his car but is arrested because the rapist miraculously survives. Two detectives interrogate her, but largely due to their male prejudices, they do not believe her story about attempted rape. In prison Vanessa succeeds in escaping while the two detectives follow leads from people they interview that convince them that the rapist was really lying. When she arrives, she bravely beats him to a pulp, and the astonished detectives, who had wanted to help her, show up only to witness how Vanessa can easily take care of herself.
The contested representations suggest that there is another way of viewing desire, seduction, and violation. If there are really such things as memes— and I am convinced there are—and if memes can inluence us and be changed as our behavior is transformed, it is important that we take the theory of memes and fairy tales themselves more seriously. As we know, tales do not only speak to us, they inhabit us and become relevant in our struggles to resolve conlicts that endanger our happiness. Although there is some truth to these assumptions, they conceal the deep cross-cultural and multilayered origins and meanings of these pan-European tales that also have fasci- nating connections to northern Africa and the Orient, including the Middle and Far East.
Of course there can be no denying that the tales are culturally marked: they are informed by the languages that the writ- ers employed, their respective cultures, and the sociohistorical context in which the narratives were created. In this regard one can discuss the particular Italian, French, German, or English afiliation of a tale and also make regional distinctions within a particular principality or nation-state. The truth value of a fairy tale is depen- dent on the degree to which a writer is capable of using a symbolical linguistic code, narrative strategy, and stereotypical characterization to depict, expose, or celebrate the modes of behavior that were used and justiied to attain power in the civilizing process of a given soci- ety.
Whether oral or literary, the tales have sought to uncover truths about the pleasures and pains of existence, to propose possibilities for adaptation and survival, and to reveal the intricacies of our civilizing processes. Historical Background For the past three hundred years or more scholars and critics have sought to deine and classify the oral folk tale and the literary fairy tale, as though they could be clearly distinguished from each other, and as though we could trace their origins to some primeval source. As I have stated in the previous chapter, this is an impossible task because there are very few if any records with the exception of paintings, drawings, etchings, inscriptions, parchments, and other cultural artifacts that reveal how tales were told and received thousands of years ago.
In fact, even when written records came into existence, they provided very lit- tle information about storytelling among the majority of people, except for random information that educated writers gathered and presented in their works. Naturally, the oral folk tales that were told in many different ways thousands of years ago preceded the literary narratives, but we are not certain who told the tales, why, and how. We do know, however, that scribes began writing different kinds of tales that relected an occupation with rituals, historical anecdotes, customs, startling events, miraculous transformations, and religious beliefs.
The recording of these various tales was extremely important because the writers preserved an oral tra- dition for future generations, and in the act of recording, they changed the tales to a greater or lesser degree, depending on what their purpose was in recording them. There is no evidence that a separate oral won- der-tale tradition or literary fairy-tale tradition existed in Europe before the medieval period. Graham Anderson has performed a great service for folklorists and serious scholars of the fairy tale by demonstrating how Greek and Roman myths contributed to the generic development of the literary fairy tale by studying oral and literary sources in the pre- Christian ancient world.
It does not seem that folktales, including fairy tales, are memorized in verbal detail but according as they deal with matters of concern to the community, and in terms of stereotyped characters and narrative patterns.
The pattern has its own internal logic which does not necessarily depend on material probability or a plot with strict cause and effect, as does the novel, at least in theory. The general pattern must satisfy the common desire for a marvel and a satisfactory outcome. How this occurred, where it occurred, and exactly when it occurred are dificult questions to answer with precision because the tales developed as a process largely through talk, conversations, and performances that caught the imagination of people from different social milieu and were gradually written down irst in Latin and then eventu- ally in different vernacular languages, when they became more accept- able in the late Middle Ages.
As more and more wonder tales were written down in Latin and vernacular languages from the twelfth to the ifteenth centuries, they constituted the genre of the literary fairy tale, and writers began establishing its particular conventions, motifs, topoi, characters, and plots, based to a large extent on those developed in the oral tradition but altered to address a reading public formed largely by the clergy, aristocracy, and the middle classes.
The tales that were told cut across different classes and segments of a particular society—rural, urban, and court. The threatening aspect of wondrous change, turning the world upside down, was something that these classes always tried to channel through codiied celebrations like Carnival and religious holidays. This must mean that the Cocaigne mate- rial belongs to the oldest of oral traditions, otherwise it would not have been written down as soon as man started wielding the pen.
Their ingredients—consisting of formulaic elements, individual motifs, and stock themes—are part of a widespread oral culture that has continued to the present day. In addition, details of this oral tradition continue to crop up in written literature, which then forms its own traditions, some- times—but not necessarily—interacting with the oral transmission of these same stories. The establishment of literacy was, among other things, a way to police the use of language through schooling, religion, and legislation of laws.
It is extremely dificult to describe what the oral wonder tale was because our evidence is based on written documents, and there are many types of wonder tales with diverse plots and characters, bound intricately with customs and rituals, that are often inexplicable. Gen- eral theories about the origin and spread of the folk tales leading to the formation of the literary fairy tale were irst conceived at the beginning of the nineteenth century and have been elaborated and contested up through the twenty-irst century.
The Brothers Grimm believed that fairy tales were derived from myths that had been religious at one time, but storytellers had gradually discarded their religious connotations, and the tales became secular wonder tales. Their views were expanded by Theodor Benfey —81 , a scholar of Sanskrit, who argued in his introduction to the Indic Pantscha Tantra that the genre of the fairy tale originated in ancient India as an oral wonder tale and spread irst to Persia and then to the entire Arabic-speaking world.
Eventually, the oral wonder tales were transmitted to Europe via Spain, Greece, and Sicily through trade, migration, and the Crusades. The Grimms and Benfrey believed that there was one point of origin or one place of birth monogenesis that led to the formation of the folk tales. The notion of polygen- esis was also at the basis of the British anthropological scholars Edward Burnett Tylor — , Andrew Lang — , and James George Frazer — ,9 who maintained that, since the human species was similar throughout the world, humans responded to their environment in similar ways, giving rise to identical tales that varied only accord- ing to the customs they developed.
A common assumption made by almost all folklorists and anthro- pologists in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was that the fairy tale was part of an oral tradition thousands of years old.
Instead, he argued that, despite the existence of oral folk tales in antiquity, there was no such thing as a fairy tale, and the fairy tale as a genre was really the creation of individual writers, who forged the genre in the ifteenth and sixteenth centuries and its basis is literary. His ideas were soundly rejected and answered by, among others, the Danish folklorist Bengt Holbek, whose thorough and thoughtful work Interpretation of Fairy Tales demonstrates clearly that some forms of the fairy tale have existed in the oral tradition for millennia.
Moreover, she tries to set up a false debate between so-called oral- ists and herself as though there were a clear divide, and argues that only published books provide accurate evidence for the origins, existence, and spread of fairy tales. Her positivist approach to oral history recalls the elitist manner in which the upper classes treated popular culture and negated their customs and forms of entertainment. Scholars who have used a more inclusive and expansive approach that focuses on the inter- action between elite and popular cultures and the interplay between orality and literacy reveal the narrow conines of her argument.
Forms and Contents of the Or al Wonder Tale and the Liter ary Fairy Tale The debate about the origin and transmission of the fairy tale as oral wonder tale, while signiicant and productive, can be misleading and distracting when we consider that the spoken language existed long before writing systems were developed, and when we take into account that it is impossible to determine when and how certain types of tales evolved. What we do know, as Jan Ziolkowski has pointed out, is that: Europe has had writing systems for thousands of years.
Clay, stone, metal, bark, papyrus, wax, parchment, and paper are only a selection of the materials that have been used for this purpose. Tales have been told dur- ing those millennia, but most tellings have not been set down in writing or otherwise recorded.