For this non-academic genre assignment, you will research a traditional fairy tale and then write a version of that fairy tale. You will also write an analysis of how and why you wrote your version. In the creative portion, you will need to reimagine the fairy tale you have chosen. In the analytical portion, you will need to summarize the history of that fairy tale, analyze how your version fits into that history, and show how your fairy tale relates to other versions.


To understand why authors write new versions of fairy tales and introduce you to researching fairy tale scholarship and criticism; to focus on genre differences and constraints.

Key Terms

genre; analysis


  1. Recall that, as we have seen in our readings, almost all fairy tales are retellings and revisions: Charles Perrault’s version of “Little Red Riding Hood” is based on an oral tradition, the Brothers Grimm version is based on Perrault, and the James Thurber, Angela Carter, Francesca Lia Block, and Anne Sexton versions are based on Perrault, the Grimms, and the oral tradition.
  2. Choose a traditional fairy tale. You may choose one of the fairy tales we are studying in class, or a fairy tale we are not studying. However, you should choose a fairy tale that is important to you in some way. Read your fairy tale closely, and annotate it, identifying the important elements.
  3. Research your fairy tale. What tale type does it belong to? What is its history, and does it exist in a variety of versions? Are there modern versions of your tale? What has been written about it by fairy tale scholars?
  4. Write your own modern version of the fairy tale you have chosen. Your version should be 4-5 pages. In writing your version, you should reimagine the fairy tale, as Thurber, Carter, Block, and Sexton reimagine “Little Red Riding Hood.” Think about how modern versions you know, including literary, film, and television versions, engage with and reenvision traditional fairy tales. What are the authors trying to say, and how might their messages differ from those of the older versions? By “modern” I do not mean that your fairy tale must take place in the twenty-first century; it may be set at any point in the past or future. But your version will be informed by your sensibility as a modern writer.
  5. Analyze your version and discuss the fairy tale you chose, including its history, explaining how you revised it. Use your research and the sources we have studied to show how your version relates to the original. Your analysis should be 3-4 pages long, excluding the Works Cited page, and it should use at least 3 sources. Like all of your analytical papers, it should have an introduction with a central claim, body paragraphs that support your claim in an organized way, and a conclusion.

An expanded version of this assignment sheet is available to download here