The Stereotypical Role Of A Woman Demonstrating Her Bravery

Last Updated: 04 Jan 2023
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By taking the Red Riding Hood myth and modernizing it, I depict in this passage that the author Mrs. Carter is illustrating a turn in traditional gender roles in this short story. Angela Carter was a feminist writer, knowing that I assume a feminist message, but also the short story has many metaphors and symbolism pointing towards a turn in traditional gender roles. '𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘊𝘰𝘮𝘱𝘢𝘯𝘺 𝘰𝘧 𝘞𝘰𝘭𝘷𝘦𝘴' takes place in a forested, country in the dead of winter. The narrator explains that wolves are dangerous creatures who live to terrorize and kill those less strong (Carter, Angela, and Camille). When food is scarce during the winter, they are especially more ruthless. Furthermore, they trap and kill any traveler that enters into the forest, which is their territory (Carter, Angela, and Camille).

The story's protagonist is a blond child, even though she knows that wolves are worst in the barren months, she insists on carrying a basket of food to her sick grandmother ( Carter, Angela, and Camille). She stumbles around a handsome hunter who was in fact disguised and underneath was the werewolf. Further on the hunter gets to the grandma’s house first and eats her up. The werewolf took the old lady's clothes and wore it. When the young unnamed girl arrives and encounters the werewolf rather than being afraid the blonde girl kissed him and seduced him. By doing so she lives but at the cost of her virginity and more.

In “𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘊𝘰𝘮𝘱𝘢𝘯𝘺 𝘰𝘧 𝘞𝘰𝘭𝘷𝘦𝘴,” Angela Carter conveys the way women in earlier times were submissive. The short story starts with the objectification of women and is seen in stereotypical roles of how “women” act. At the beginning of the story, the women are compliant and require a man to fight their battles. When a wolf attacked a girl, she was frightened and “made such a commotion” and the strong men with rifles had to save her. In another part of “𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘊𝘰𝘮𝘱𝘢𝘯𝘺 𝘰𝘧 𝘞𝘰𝘭𝘷𝘦𝘴” it states, “Get me my bowl of cabbage and be quick about it.” In that section, it presents how women were helpless and how the men were very dominant.

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Although in the second part of the short story, it shifts to a young blonde girl being brave and strong-willed, and not relying on men. For example, it states in,” 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘊𝘰𝘮𝘱𝘢𝘯𝘺 𝘰𝘧 𝘞𝘰𝘭𝘷𝘦𝘴”, “but she is also armed with a knife and unafraid”(Davidson, Morgaine). This renders a change in the role of how women are seen as defenseless and afraid. Another part in “𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘊𝘰𝘮𝘱𝘢𝘯𝘺 𝘰𝘧 𝘞𝘰𝘭𝘷𝘦𝘴,” exclaims, “when the girl saw that, she knew she was in danger of death.” ,but she doesn't let her fear get the better of her. She shows bravery when approaching the wolf,” she stood up on tiptoe and unbuttoned the collar of his shirt”. She's taken over the situation showing that women can equally sexually dominate and I depict from this that the author is presenting that women can attain the same features as men and not be the traditional submissive and helpless “woman” that the male dominant society has painted. In another quote of “𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘊𝘰𝘮𝘱𝘢𝘯𝘺 𝘰𝘧 𝘞𝘰𝘭𝘷𝘦𝘴,” it states, “All the better to eat you with.’

The girl burst out laughing; she knew she was nobody’s meat. She laughed at him full in the face, she ripped off his shirt for him and flung it into the fire, in the fiery wake of her own discarded clothing”. I picture in this passage that it shows the girl doesn't rely on anyone but her own judgment for survival. So in this situation, she uses her sexual power to distract and overcome the lustful creature. She trusts her own instincts, and the girl sacrifices her virginity, even if it goes against the expectations that society has for women. The unnamed girl refuses to be a vulnerable and submissive figure to become another helpless victim. Additionally, this shows how the blonde girl gets out the stereotypical role of a “women” by showing her bravery and not showing submissive or fearful features.

Finally, my perspective and interpretation of “𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘊𝘰𝘮𝘱𝘢𝘯𝘺 𝘰𝘧 𝘞𝘰𝘭𝘷𝘦𝘴 ”is that the author is sending a feminist message and telling her audience that women are capable to the same actions as man. Plus presenting us with the message that women should not be afraid to go against the expectations that the society has for women. However, there are other interpretation of “𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘊𝘰𝘮𝘱𝘢𝘯𝘺 𝘰𝘧 𝘞𝘰𝘭𝘷𝘦𝘴 ” that analyze it in a different manner. Another analysis that I am fond of is the the message is about the innocence of the blonde girl. Again from the beginning, the short story informs the readers that the blonde girl lives in a bitterly cold region. Showing us it's different from modern time and in that setting people grow up fast and live short, hard lives. Although, this child is not hardened like everyone else because 'she has been too much loved ever to feel scared.' Her family has coddled her and protected her from life's harsh realities.

By doing this, they have civilized her, made her into a sweet and trusting girl. The girl's innocence saves and endangers her life for she is trusting enough to believe in the hunter's good intentions.“Soon they were laughing and joking like old friends. When he offered to carry her basket, she gave it to him although her knife was in it because he told her his rifle would protect them. As the quote above shows how innocent and unknown of when she's in danger. Also saving her life, after all, the werewolf has just killed and eaten her grandmother, and she sees no harm but rather becomes immune to his evil intentions. Not only does she ignore her “grandmother's clattering bones” in favor of consummating her relationship with the werewolf. Anyways this interpretation shows a different aspect that maybe it wasn't her bravery but in fact her innocence that saved her life.

Through the short story, the readers can see Mrs. Carter's strong belief in women voicing their belief and desire by taking action. The fact that the author Mrs. Carter states in the end that 'It is Christmas Day, the werewolves' birthday'(). This reveals her view that women should accept the fact that in every man and also woman, a beast lives in with them, just as the blonde girl had revealed her inner beast. Through this passage, Carter projects the message that in order to fight the evilness in the world, women must learn to use the powers given to them even if it means surreding to corruption.

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The Stereotypical Role Of A Woman Demonstrating Her Bravery. (2023, Jan 04). Retrieved from

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