Wolves in Sheep's Clothing: Transgressive Sexualities in Little Red Riding Hood and Angela Carter

Jennifer Reid


In her wolf stories, Angela Carter uses the rich and often contradictory associations attached to the wolf in Western culture to destabilise binary notions of gender and identity. I explore the metaphorical resonances of the wolf in European tradition and the critical traditions surrounding the fairy tale, in itself a proliferation of discourses upon which Carter draws, before going on to investigate her explorations of Little Red Riding Hood in terms of other contemporary debates which shed light on, and are reflected in, Carters writing. I chart Carters depiction of power and generational conflict in the tale, making reference to Michel Foucaults The History of Sexuality. I then examine how Julia Kristevas theory of abjection in Powers of Horror sheds light on Carters concern with the division between humanity and bestiality. By so doing, I demonstrate that Carter does reinscribe the gender politics associated with the fairy tale,using the multivocal and intertextual tradition of Little Red Riding Hood to present a number of propositions regarding storytelling, female sexuality, and gender construction.


Fairy Tales; Fable; Feminism; Gender Studies; Constructivism; Angela Carter; Michel Foucault; Julia Kristeva;

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Works Cited

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