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Wolf Alice analysis
Transcript of Wolf Alice analysis
The Duke's 'gloomy mansion' -typically gothic, represents isolation
'On such a night, in a moony, metamorphic weather' - pathetic fallacy
The Duke as a gothic character;
lonely, invincible creature who doesn't cast a reflection
becomes ravenous when the moon comes out (typical stock character of werewolf) and devours human corpses. - 'haunts the graveyard'
seen as an ally of the devil by townspeople, attempt to scare him using garlic or Christian symbols.
Even wolves would not accept the Duke, because he eats his own kind. Doesn't belong among humans or wolves - lonely
Transgression and Transformation;
Blurring boundaries between human and animal
Transformations - 'half-beasts' ---> humans
Links to The Tiger's Bride and The Courtship of Mr Lyon 'the nuns poured water over her,poked her with sticks to rouse her'
'this nine days' wonder and continuing embarrassment of a child was delivered over to the bereft and unsanctioned household of the Duke' - Carter denouncing religion? Rejected by nuns because of animal instincts.
'use the holy cross as a scratching post' - grouping religion with animalistic qualities - disrespect of the church Loosely based on;
Red Riding Hood
Beauty and the Beast
Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass
What Alice Found There
Links to twentieth-century case studies of 'feral children' who were raised by wild animals A mirror as an object holds no secrets, tells no lies, it's unbiased, and hauntingly accurate; in contrast to human nature.
Distinguisher of human, beast, and half-being.
Humans recognise their reflections, beasts do not, and half-beasts cast no reflection.
Wolf-Alice is trapped between being a beast and a human until she recognises her reflection; her revelation draws her out of the timeless, undefined beast's experience into a human experience.
The Duke is a half-being in two ways; he is a half-beast-half-wolf and is trapped between the physical and metaphysical worlds. He is 'an aborted transformation, an incomplete mystery.'; The Duke is 'real' enough to kill and eat people, but not 'real' enough to cast a reflection in the mirror. His lack of reflection is as if he were dead; possibly the way humans may define living?
The mirror sparks Wolf-Alice's transformation, it also witnesses her transformation of the beast into a being. 'first she tried to nuzzle her reflection' -Wolf-Alice begins to lose her 'innocence' when she beings to menstruate and become a 'conventional' woman. 'The moon had been shining into the kitchen when she woke to feel the trickle between her thighs'
-Wolf-Alice is used to being dirty, like any animal but when she begins to menstruate she is ashamed of the blood and licks it clean; conveying the shame society make women feel when involving being sexually aware and ready.
-Wolf-Alice licks The Duke back to health, possibly symbolising their sexual desires; licking being seen as intimate, and how she ridded herself of the menstrual blood.
Cycle of the moon represents her menstrual cycle - 'the moon vanished; but, little by little, reappeared. When it visited her kitchen at full strength, Wolf Alice was surprised into bleeding again. -Wolf-Alice is physically a woman, but 'nothing about her is human except that she is not a wolf': she runs on all fours, is nocturnal, howls rather than speaks, and does not wear clothes.
-As an animal, unaware of her own mortality; the issue behind morality being a Gothic feature and an issue throughout The Bloody Chamber.
-Wolf-Alice learns to cooperate with the nuns in order to get food, a typically instinctive and animalistic quality but the nuns fail to break her of her animal habits; deep rooted
-The Duke devours humans and their corpses, but when he does not devour Wolf-Alice it reenforces the idea that she is 'inhuman'.
-Wolf-Alice sees her reflection in a mirror for the first time, she tries to play with her reflection because she does not recognise it as her own; animalistic, child-like and innocent.
-As the plot moves forward, Wolf-Alice becomes more 'human'; before she felt at one with nature, as though it was 'the emanation of her questing nose and erect ears,' now she sees it as 'a backdrop for her, that [waits] for her arrivals to give it meaning.'
-To save The Duke, she uses animalistic qualities and senses (smell); reverting back to her animalistic ways in the presence of danger.
-Wolf-Alice tenderly licks the blood and dirt off The Duke face, to reveal his reflection 'as vivid as real life itself'; animalistic Different to structure of 'Company of Wolves' and 'The Werewolf' - no background information on culture and townspeople, goes straight into describing Wolf-Alice
But, constant links to townspeople throughout and society's attitude towards her. 'the townspeople "fear her imperfection because it showed [them] what [they] might have been."
Contrasts to the werewolf, heroine in the werewolf ends in the wolves den, whereas Wolf-Alice starts there
Opening highlights her lonliness and inablitiy to fit into society or nature; 'she howls because she lonely - yet 'howl' is not the right word for it'
Ending shows her transformation to human and her acceptance in the Duke saved and gave him an identity Language links to the Bloody Chamber
-"heaped in the corners of his bloody chamber"
-'nibbled her cunt'
Similar theme in loss of innocence?
Similar themes to 'The Courtship of Mr Lyon' and 'The Tiger's Bride'
heroines embrace their beastial natures to become enlightened and break free from social constraints, BUT
in Wolf-Alice, protagonist moves away from beastliness in order to become more human.
The Lady of the House of Love - white dresses, bridal references 'the coffin had been ripped open...not a trace could be found but for a rag of the bridal veil...’ - negativity towards marriage
‘His eyes see only appetite. These eyes open to devour…’ - use of food and appetite to remind us of the link between animals and humans. The word ‘devour’ emphasizes the need for food and also his uncivilized existence. Links to the Courtship of Mr Lyon; health decreases when he doesn't eat – reminds the reader of the close link between animals and humans.
'Her pace is not our pace.' - Society looks at what sets people apart, rather than focus on similarities.
'...nibbled her cunt' - shocking language Links with other stories Isolation Objectification and Gender Roles Wolf-Alice lives in the Duke's castle and serves as a sort of primitive maid to him, using skills the nuns taught her. - conforming to typical role of woman in society 'she can perform the few, small tasks to which the nuns trained her'
'Deposited at the castle'
'the nuns poured water over her, poked her with sticks to rouse her' - treat her as less than human
'picking lice from each other's pelts' - equality between 'man' and 'woman' 'Perennial stranger' - Wolf-Alice as a lonely outcast
Plays with own reflection - 'she was lonely enough to ask this creature to try to play with her'
Duke isolated - doesn't fit in with humans or wolves, '...who has as little in common than the rest of us'