Category Archives: Composing

Resources, Tasks and Comparative Questions: Little Red Riding Hood

Below are six ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ resources, as well as tasks and comparative questions. Although primarily aimed at Junior Cycle students, some of the questions can also be adapted for Senior Cycle students.

 

Resources and Tasks

Perrault and The Brothers Grimm

Click the images below for separate PDFs or click here for the combined PDF.

Charles Perrault: 'Little Red Riding Hood' (PDF)

Perrault: ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ (PDF)

Brothers Grimm: 'Little Red Cap' (PDF)

Brothers Grimm: ‘Little Red Cap’ (PDF)

1. Based on ONE of the stories, write the post the wolf OR the girl might make on their personal blogs later that day.

2. Re-write the Brothers Grimm’s story from the grandmother’s perspective.

3. Imagine a sequel of Perrault’s tale has been found. Write the text of the uncovered story.

4. Write a modern re-telling of the story of Little Red.

5. You are a journalist investigating reports of ONE of the ‘Little Red’ stories.

(i) Write an article reporting on your investigation of the story. The article can be for a tabloid, broadsheet or online news outlet.

OR

(ii) Write the script of your news report. The script can be for a video or audio recording.

6. You have been asked to direct a short production of ONE of the texts, starting from when Little Red reaches her grandmother’s house. Describe how you would stage the scene. In your answer you may wish to consider some of the following: choreography, costume, dialogue, facial expressions, lighting, props, setting and set design, special effects, stage directions, sound, etc.

7. Little Red’s mother has asked you to help advertise her new book of recipes.

(i) Write the script of a book trailer.

OR

(ii) Design a poster. In your answer, describe and explain your choice of images, colour, etc.

8. The house of Little Red’s grandmother has been put on the market. You are the real estate agent assigned with the task of selling the property. Write the text of the advert you would write.

9. “Fairy tales such as ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ present naïve and improbable scenarios, and thus have little or no significance in today’s world.” Write an opinion piece for a popular print or online publication in response to this statement.

 

Into the Woods (music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by James Lapine)

'Hello, Little Girl' from Into the Woods.

'I Know Things Now' from Into the Woods.

1. Describe the effect the rhythm and music create in ‘Hello, Little Girl’.

2. In ‘I Know Things Now’, Little Red Ridinghood states “Even flowers have their dangers” and “Nice is different than good.” What do you think these lines mean?

3. Write a short story inspired by ONE of the following:

(i) “There’s no possible way / To describe what you feel / When talking to your meal!”

(ii) “I should have heeded her advice… / But he seemed so nice.”

(iii) “Down a dark slimy path / Where lie secrets that I never want to know…”

(iv) “Do not put your faith / In a cape and a hood – / They will not protect you / The way that they should…”

(v) “Isn’t it nice to know a lot! / … and a little bit not…”

 

‘Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf’ (from Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl)

The text and a recording of Dahl reading the poem can be accessed here.

1. Do you think this would be an enjoyable poem to read aloud? Explain your answer with reference to the poem.

2. What age group do you think this poem is aimed at? Explain your answer with reference to the poem.

3. “… She’s going to taste like caviar.” Compose an alternative ending to the poem, continuing from this line.

4. Compose an acrostic using the words ‘fairy tales’ OR ‘fairy story’.

 

‘An Interview with Red Riding Hood, Now No Longer Little’ (by Agha Shahid Ali)

The text of the poem is available here.

1. Describe the character of the wolf presented in this poem.

2. Write the text of an interview with ONE of the characters from the story of ‘Little Red Riding Hood’.

3. You have just learned that Little Red Riding Hood’s father has begun to buy pieces of the forest and he intends to can cut it all down to find the wolves. Write the text of a speech defending OR opposing his actions.

4. Write an acrostic using the word ‘interview’.

 

‘The Wolf’s Postscript to ‘Little Red Riding Hood” (by Agha Shahid Ali)

The text of the poem is available here.

1. Describe the character of the wolf presented in this poem.

2. What do you think is the main message of the poem? Explain your answer with reference to the poem.

3. Imagine you are the wolf of this poem. Write an open letter about your negative portrayal in the story of Little Red Riding Hood. Your letter may reference more than one adaptation of the story.

4. A collection of writings similar to ‘The Wolf’s Postscript’ has been published, featuring the so-called “villain’s” perspective of fairy tales. Select ONE fairy tale and write a submission by the villain of that tale. The submission can be in the form of your own choosing.

5. Write an acrostic using the word ‘postscript’.

 

 

Comparative Questions

Perrault and The Brothers Grimm

1. To what extent are the two texts similar/different? In your answer you may wish to consider the characters, themes, outcomes, etc.

2. Which of the two texts do you prefer? Explain your answer with reference to BOTH texts.

3. Which text, in your opinion, more effectively presents ‘the moral of the story’? Explain your answer with reference to BOTH texts.

 

Into the Woods, Perrault and The Brothers Grimm

1. Do you think ‘Hello, Little Girl’ is a faithful adaptation of Little Red’s encounter with the wolf in the Brothers Grimm’s text? Give reasons for your answer with reference to BOTH texts.

2. “‘I Know Things Now’ and Perrault’s and Grimm’s ‘Little Red’ present lessons to be learned.” Which text, in your opinion, does this more effectively? Explain your answer with reference to all THREE texts.

 

Into the Woods and ‘Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf’

1. Compare the character of Little Red in BOTH texts.

2. Compare the portrayal of the wolf in BOTH ‘Hello, Little Girl’ and ‘Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf’.

 

‘Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf’ and ‘The Wolf’s Postscript to ‘Little Red Riding Hood”

1. Compare the depiction of the wolf in BOTH poems.

2. Which of the two texts do you prefer? Explain your answer with reference to BOTH poems.

 

‘Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf’ and ‘An Interview with Red Riding Hood, Now No Longer Little’

1. “We reluctantly feel sympathy for the wolves in both poems.” To what extent do you agree with this statement? Support your answer with reference to BOTH poems.

2. “These poems reveal that Little Red Riding Hood undergoes a significant change after her encounter with the wolf.” Do you agree with this statement? Support your answer with reference to BOTH poems.

 

‘An Interview with Red Riding Hood, Now No Longer Little’ and ‘The Wolf’s Postscript to ‘Little Red Riding Hood”

1. “Agha Shahid Ali evokes feelings of sadness from his tragic reconstructions of the story of ‘Little Red Riding Hood'”. With reference to BOTH poems, describe the feelings are you left with after reading these poems.

2. “In offering a new perspectives on the tale of ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, Agha Shahid Ali asks us to reconsider how we traditionally view the characters and morals presented in fairy tales.” Examine this statement with reference to BOTH poems.

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Speech Writing: Checklist and Useful Phrases

Checklist

Speech Writing - Checklist

 

Useful phrases, links and conjunctions

Speech Writing - useful phrases, links and conjunctions

Short Story Tips

Plan and practice.

Finding which genre (short story, argumentative speech, personal essay, etc.) in the ‘Composition’/’Personal Writing’ part of the exam works best for you takes time and a lot of practice. When you have found which one you are most comfortable with, work on it.

If you choose the short story question in the exam, make sure you’ve written many of them until you’ve found a ‘pattern’ that works best for you.

Remember: short stories do not tell’ us what is happening. They show’ us.

It can be useful to keep a record of good descriptive phrases and descriptions that you like and have used, as well as some ‘connecting’ or ‘transition’ words and phrases that you have practices – remember, your story must flow naturally!

Imagine your story in stages – again, just ensure that the plot flows naturally. Be sure that you understand your characters and their world before you begin planning.

If you ‘hit a wall’ in the plot, ask yourself “What if…?” to explore some possibilities. Don’t be afraid to draw inspiration from the texts in the exam paper, or from something in the news or in a book, a short story, film, TV series, fairy tale, etc. – never copy it, get inspiration from it!

Always draw/write plan in your answer booklet.  Some may also find it useful to make a short list of ‘techniques’ to use.

In your plan and in your answer, make sure you are answering the question. Do not ignore the details of the task you are being set.

You’ll find that if you have written a few very good stories you can adapt them to suit almost any question. This will take practice!

Capture the reader’s attention from the first sentence, and keep them in suspense.

You want to get the reader’s attention straight away and make them eager to continue reading.

Start the story in ‘the middle’ of a specific event/situation and keep the reader guessing about what is happening; instead of starting with what happened just before the ‘big moment’, start with the big moment or just after it.

Opening paragraph may be started with a detailed description – a vivid image of a place, thing or person (e.g. “A battered black bowler hat sat snugly above the stout man’s large ears and unkempt beard as he paced restlessly by the windows – gnarled hands clasped tightly behind his back.”).

Instead, you might start with a series of short sentences, rhetorical questions, dialogue or a shocking/abrupt statement to create tension or an air of mystery, (e.g. “She dropped the gun. He was dead. The silence was deafening.”).

Economise: one setting, one event, one/two characters.

Create an appropriate mood and atmosphere. This can be achieved by appealing to the senses – what is heard/seen/felt/smelt?

By keeping the number of characters to one or two, you can focus on revealing more about them and the situation they are in. These details are revealed through actions, thoughts, dialogue, physical appearance, and interaction with others’ and their surroundings. Don’t reveal it all in one paragraph – that’s overkill. Tease it out so that the reader becomes gradually familiar with the character.

The ‘middle’ or ‘development’ part of the story should draw the reader in – arouse their curiosity and draw them in closer to the story. The development may involve a challenge/complication for the character.

Be specific when using detailed descriptions and vivid imagery to help the reader visualise – show don’t tell, and vary your vocabulary!

Keep the reader guessing.

Delay revealing an important detail, such as the setting, who the character is, what is happening, etc.

End with a bang: leave the story on a cliffhanger and the reader in suspense. For example, you may revisit where the story started – raise or answer a question which emerged, reveal an important detail, have your character (about to) make a difficult decision or experience a revelation, etc.

Alternatively, you may reach a ‘resolution’ and ‘tie up the knots’ to the story. This does not mean you summarise everything that happens next!

Endings can be tricky to do well (avoid the expected!), so try out a few ways. Just remember that a short story is a brief insight to a person/situation – not the character’s life story or the complete story to an event.

Always ask your teacher for feedback on short story questions that you answer.

Don’t be afraid to ask for a bit more detail or ideas on how to develop/improve your story – we’re here to help!

Story List

Collection of stories (PDF or online)

 

Forty Two Stories: New Writing from Harper Perennial

 

Chris Adrian

 

Kevin Barry

 

Ambrose Bierce

 

Ray Bradbury

 

Frederick Brown

 

John Cheever

 

Kate Chopin

 

Arthur C. Clarke

 

Roald Dahl

 

Neil Gaiman

 

Gabriel García Márquez

 

Brothers Grimm

 

Shirley Jackson

 

Franz Kafka

 

Jhumpa Lahiri

 

DH Lawrence

 

David Marcus

 

Steven Millhauser

 

Alice Munro

 

Vladimir Nabokov

 

Frank O’Connor

 

Liam O’Flaherty

 

Edgar Allen Poe

 

Saki

 

Tobias Wolff