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Term Project Progress Report: Intertextuality and "The Three Little Pigs"

Bethany and I have chosen to focus on the story of “Three Little Pigs” and perform an intertextual study by comparing several different versions of the text. The following is a list of the texts we have chosen to focus on:

• Joseph Jacobs version
o considered by many to be the original

• John Scieszka’s version
o This version twists the story to imply that the wolves actions resulted from a simple misunderstanding rather than malice

• “The Wolf and Seven Young Kids” by the Grimm brothers
o Still debating on this one…it’s more like “Little Red Riding Hood,” but it might be interesting to show how different tales overlap

• Eugene Trivizas’s “The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig”
o A cute twist on the classic where the roles of the pigs and the wolf are reversed

• Green Jello’s song, “Three Little Pigs”
o Hilarious…

• Disney’s song, “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf”
o Part of a short film produced by Disney that retells the story in a more traditional manner

• “A Dairy Tale: The Three Little Pigs”
o Another Disney remake; interesting because it assumes the viewer’s familiarity with the story (like some of the other version above)

Obviously, we may not have time to cover everything in this list in our presentation, so we still have some narrowing down to go. This list is by no means finalized.

Also, we’re still discussing the format we want to present our study in. Some options might be to create a long blog or a website where we can include links to all of the versions listed above and explain their significance to the tale as a whole. Then we could choose a select few versions to present to the class. In our presentation, we will compare and contrast the different versions: we will read select lines from each version (possibly from a power point or a handout) and also, play the songs selected using YouTube. We will formulate a list of questions to ask the class based on the similarities and differences between the versions (For example, we might ask the class something along the lines of “Which is the real version, the true story, of The Three Little Pigs? Is there one?”)
Below is a rough outline of what we have yet to do in preparation for our presentation:

• Narrow our thesis for our presentation (We know we are focusing on “The Three Little Pigs” as an intertextual study, but we’re still dealing with general ideas at this point.)

• Find and read secondary sources to support/ help formulate our argument.

• Choose the format in which we will present our work.

• Put the whole presentation together.

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Comments (7)

Greta Carroll:

Wow, that sounds really interesting! I like how you’re further expanding on the fairy tale idea you used during your presentation. I’ve always been fascinated with fairy tales and enjoy reading many different versions of them. What is it about these tales that catches our imagination so? Disney’s portray of fairy tales is always interesting to consider, so I like how your included the Disney song. They frequently change the actual story or if nothing else the tone and feel of it. Sometimes I wonder why Disney even feels the need to change some things that they do…But anyway, the other one from your list that really jumped out at me was “The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig.” This certainly puts a new spin on the tale. It sounds like you have a really interesting topic though and I wish you luck in getting it all done. Also, I’m just curious, is there some reason you picked “The Three Little Pigs” in particular?

Thanks, Greta. Originally, Bethany and I were going to focus on the theme of the labyrinth in Spanish literature, including Life is a Dream; however, as we found other sources that we might include into our intertextual study (100 Years of Solitude, Pan's Labyrinth, etc..) we realized that much of the class would not be familiar with these sources and this concerned us. So, still wanting to do an intertextual study, we turned towards a familiar topic to almost everyone: fairy tales. Actually, when we met with Dr. Jerz about changing our topic he had a good point about fairy tales: fairy tales are to society today what the Bible was to people in the past; everyone knows the stories. In addition to wanting to pick something the class was familiar with, we also decided to switch to fairy tales because we wanted to focus on something a little more lighthearted than the dark undertones of "the labyrinth." As for choosing "The Three Little Pigs" specifically, it has always been one of my favorites. In fact, at one point, I had the story "The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig" memorized--I read it before bedtime daily to my little sister for about a year straight, and I secretly loved it as much as she did. So, I threw the idea of "The Three Little Pigs" out to Bethany and she liked it, so we ran with it. We've still got a little running to go, but we're getting there. Thanks for the good luck wish :)

Derek Tickle:

Wow! I just conducted a WCPM (Words Correct Per Minute) evaluation on "The Three Little Pigs" story today in my assessment class. I think this will be a great project and it will also give us, education majors, a better understanding of how language changes over time and how the culture influences it. I think that by using fairy tales you could apply some deconstruction from Derrida and use post-structuralism to connect your ideas through your intertextual approach.

I found a book review article on EBSCO called "The True Story of The Three Little Pigs (Book)." The library may be able to get this book or they may have it - hopefully it can help! The book review describes Alexander T. Wolf and how the story was intended to mean one thing and how it is told today.

Overall, I can't wait to see your finished project! Great Job!

Thanks, Derek. The source you mention sounds great. I'll look into it.

Greta Carroll:

Ellen, that makes sense. We probably all have our favorite fairy tales from when we were children. It’s interesting to consider fairy tales today as occupying the same niche as Bible stories. I certainly never looked at it that way, but they really have become a fundamental part of our culture. And it’s interesting to consider the shift in the intentions of the telling of these stories. I mean, originally, they were mainly meant as warnings and lessons to children. Today, I think they are seen not so much as lessons, but simply a way of entertaining. The book that Derek is referring to (The True Story of the Big Bad Wolf by Jon Scieszka) I am actually familiar with. I had the book as a child. I remember being able to see the cover of it from my bed at night. The cover had a picture of a wolf on it and it would always give me nightmares. The story itself is not actually scary though. Trivizas’s “The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig” sounds really similar to it actually. Basically, the story takes the wolf’s perspective and portrays him in a more favorable light. If you’ve ever heard of the children’s book, The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, it’s written by the same person.

Derek Tickle:

Greta - I am so glad that you added that you are familiar with the book that I referenced. I think this is helpful because you have experience with it as a child and adult. Your feedback and experience will be helpful to Ellen and Bethany when they are creating their project!


From yesterday's presentation:
You did a great job. I liked that you took the seemingly simple story of "The Three Little Pigs" and did an intertextuality criticism. You brought up some thought provoking points about the themes and how they change in the different versions. The video of "A Diary Tale: The Three Little Pigs" was adorable.


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