Carter's Wolf Stories

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  • 1. Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?
  • 2. The Wolf in history and folklore A fear of wolves would have been sensible when packs roamed the countryside. Fear easily becomes superstition – and wolves quickly began to be seen as otherworldly, unnatural, evil creatures. This became reflected in folk tales and fairy tales. Dracula could apparently turn himself into a wolf (as well as a bat or even mist). The big bad wolf became a stock character that children were taught to fear.
  • 3. The Big Bad Wolf The Big Bad Wolf was known for: • Talking to children and tricking them • Stalking little girls and little pigs • Destroying property with a huff and a puff • Masquerading as grandmothers to lure prey • Impersonating sheep in order to sneak up on prey • Attacking livestock when your back is turned • Devouring whole families of goats
  • 4. Who IS the Big Bad Wolf? Is he an actual wolf, a werewolf, or a person who acts in a wolfish way? Is he symbolic?
  • 5. Are real wolves evil? Well….no, obviously. They are predators, but that is their nature – and ours too, if we think about it. They are pack animals, with a clearly defined hierarchy. Only Alphas produce cubs, which are looked after by the rest of the pack. OK, their howl is a bit spooky… but that’s about it.
  • 6. Modern versions This advert is a spoof news feature from the Guardian. It plays with our expectations of the Big Bad Wolf…
  • 7. Modern versions Many modern Big Bad Wolves present alternative ideas to the traditional stories. They often explore whether the wolf has been somehow slandered or misrepresented by the traditional stories. The wolf may be a loyal, protective character. We might feel sympathetic towards the wolf; we might even be on his side.
  • 8. Modern ‘Wolves’
  • 9. Carol Ann Duffy’s wolf In her poem ‘Little Red-Cap’, Duffy presents us with a wolf who is seduced by a 16 year-old Little Red and has a relationship with her. He is older than she is, drinks red wine and likes reading poetry. Little Red asks, at one point, “what little girl doesn’t dearly love a wolf?” – what do you think this means?
  • 10. Angela Carter’s Wolves We are going to focus on the following stories: • The Werewolf • The Company of Wolves • Wolf-Alice
  • 11. The Werewolf Based on the Little Red Riding Hood story Read through the story carefully and make notes, focusing on: • The setting of the story • How the characters from the original story have been adapted
  • 12. The Werewolf How do you respond to the ending of the story? Is it a satisfying ending? What do you think this story is about? • Attitudes towards female power • The brutality of fairy tales • The vulnerability of wolves
  • 13. The Company of Wolves  Also based on Little Red Riding Hood Make notes on the following: • The setting • The character of the wolf • The character of the girl
  • 14. The Company of Wolves How has Carter adapted the original story this time? Consider: • Themes • Character • Motifs – both from the original and from other stories in Carter’s collection
  • 15. The Company of Wolves Compare this to The Werewolf – what similarities and differences can you identify?
  • 16. Wolf-Alice This story invites you to compare what it is like to be human, and what it is like to be a wolf. Alice is a feral child, meaning she is ‘wild’. She has been raised by wolves. She comes into conflict with human society, which values ‘civilised’ behaviour.
  • 17. Wolf-Alice How would you reflect on Alice’s behaviour in the story? Consider: • How she interacts with others • How she understands the world • How she understands right and wrong How does this compare to the Duke’s behaviour?
  • 18. Wolf-Alice Carter’s presentation of wildness and civilisation: Consider the following word pairs – which is ‘wild’ and which is ‘civilised’ in the story? a) human / animal b) natural / unnatural c) tame / wild d) confined / free e) innocent / knowing Can you add any more to this list?
  • 19. Wolf-Alice Many of Carter’s standard motifs and themes feature in this story: • Mirror • Blood • Metamorphosis How does Carter use these in Wolf-Alice?
  • 20. Wolf-Alice What is this story about? a) Is it a Romantic view of the innocence of children and animals? b) Is it attempting to show that wolves are not the frightening monsters they are often assumed to be? c) Is it a ‘coming of age’ story about growing up and finding your place in the world?
  • 21. Summary What conclusions can you draw about the character of the wolf in Carter’s stories? Create a mind map, including brief quotations.
  • 22. Creative Task Brainstorm ways of adapting the Little Red Riding Hood story, using Carter’s texts as inspiration. Consider: • Characters • Setting • Narrative viewpoint