The Bloody Chamber

by Angela Carter
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Why does the story “The Company of Wolves” start off talking about the wolves before getting into Little Red Riding Hood?

“The Company of Wolves” starts off talking about the wolves before getting into Little Red Riding Hood because this tale focuses on the wolves and what they have in common with the girl in the red shawl.

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Angela Carter’s short story “The Company of Wolves” starts off talking about the wolves before getting into the girl (Little Red Riding Hood) because, in Carter’s version of Charles Perrault’s “Little Red Riding Hood,” the focus is on the wolf and the folklore and symbolism that surrounds this particular...

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Angela Carter’s short story “The Company of Wolves” starts off talking about the wolves before getting into the girl (Little Red Riding Hood) because, in Carter’s version of Charles Perrault’s “Little Red Riding Hood,” the focus is on the wolf and the folklore and symbolism that surrounds this particular animal. As Carter organizes her tale around the wolves, she begins her story with them. As Perrault builds his tale around Little Red Riding Hood, he starts off talking about her.

One could also argue that Carter begins her short story with wolves to draw attention to the similarities between wolves and the girl. Talking about wolves is Carter’s way of talking about the girl. In Carter’s version of Perrault’s tale, the girl and the wolves both have fleshy, fearless traits. The wolves’ “reddish” eyes link to the girl’s “red shawl” and menstruation cycle (“woman’s bleeding”). As for the girl’s undaunted demeanor, Carter addresses this by stating, “She is afraid of nothing.”

Carter amplifies the wolfish qualities of the girl at the end. The girl is not put off by the howls of the other wolves, nor is she fazed by the wolf who devoured her grandma. In Carter’s story, when the wolf utters his trademark lines, the girl laughs in his face. The girl’s handling of the wolf confers upon her the bold traits of a wolf.

Additionally, it might be possible that Carter starts off talking about wolves to align her tale with Perrault’s story. In both works, the authors begin by talking about the vulnerable character. In Perrault’s narrative, the girl’s vulnerability is displayed when the wolf eats her. In Carter’s story, the wolf’s vulnerabilities are exhibited when the girl domesticates him with little difficulty.

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