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The Bloody Chamber
Transcript of The Bloody Chamber
Set during the Third Republic in France
This period was synonymous with corruption, decadence and defeat
The narrator is married off to the Marquis
She receives a ruby choker, a piano and a painting
The Marquis takes her virginity but is then called out on a business trip
He gives her the keys to all the rooms in the castle and tells her she can go wherever she wants except into one room.
She makes friends with the blind piano tuner; Jean-yves.
She goes exploring the castle and her curiosity gets the better of her and she goes to the forbidden room.
She finds the corpses of the Marquis' dead wives and drops the key
It becomes blood-stained which will not be cleaned and turns into the shape of a heart
The marquis returns and wants his keys back
He sees what she has done and plans her exectution
Out in the courtyard, the narrator's mother rides in and shoots the Marquis
The mother, the narrator and Jean-yves live happily together in Paris and the castle becomes a school for the blind. "Damsel in distress" or heroine of the story, typical to fairy tales.
Portrayed as vulnerable linked with her naivety.
Used to show the theme of maturation/growing up through her sexual awakening.
Her inexperience allows her to expose herself to danger.
Taking risks proves thrilling and exciting, involved when becoming an adult.
Describes herself as "infinitely disheveled" after consummating her marriage.
Describes it as a "one-sided struggle" and reveals no pleasure or pain as she bluntly, emotionlessly states "I had bled".
This may be linked to submission of feelings experienced by rape victims who instead of relieve the horror feel a numbed detachment.
Still childlike in her petty control over the staff, showing her not being part of the adult world yet.
Nameless and is defined by her role as the Marquise.
Introduced as a mysterious abstraction, becomes more identifiable as story progresses.
Associated with wealth "gold", "carnal avarice", "richest man in France".
Identity is built with his "opulent male scent", his face being a "smooth mask".
Bestial allusions with his "exquisite tact" when courting the narrator, similar to an animal stalking its prey. He has a "dark mane".
Represents the appealing risk and danger of the unknown.
Synonymous with death and decay with a dying social order.
Intertextuality of 'Little Red Riding Hood' as the Marquis states "all the better to see you with", the well known saying of the Wolf, heightening his animalistic qualities.
Narrator "impaled" by him, allusions of vampires; Vlad the impaler, showing again as inhuman
"Deathly composure", "mask".
Shown as unholy due to his "shriek and blaspheme". Seen as demonic in his passion.
Lack of auditory and visual presence due to little speech and indistinguishable features make him feel as if he is not really there. Complete opposite to the Marquis.
Gentle, blind, and trained in his trade by a "good priest"
Blindness is a symbol of his weakness and the possibility of a non- threatening relationship.
Not based on visual gratification.
Provokes a greater reaction in the narrator compared to the Marquis.
One with nature as he speaks with the "rhythms" of the land and sea.
Only character in the story to be given a first name; a feminine name it is also.
Analogy between him and Adam as he sticks with the narrator as Adam did with Eve.
A feminist reinvention of the typical fairytale "hero."
Has "maternal telepathy"
Character is established early as "adventurous" and "indomitable".
Contrasted to her daughter as she is prepared to defend herself against any threat. Seen in the train ride to the castle; showing transition
Metaphor of the emotional and physical journey the girl experiences when entering the world as an individual.
"The unguessable country of marriage".
Act of putting on ring marks the end of childhood Viewed in the symbol of marriage showing the ownership of woman.
The bloody chamber can be seen as a way of the Marquis truly owning his wives forever "My darling, I cannot wait for the moment when you make me yours completely".
The marquis is used to present the dying social order of a male dominated society.
Woman shown as possessions by the Marquis "winning" her virginity.
By the Marquis giving her all the keys on the condition she must not use one shows men placing limits on the freedom of knowing the truth.
Marriage to a man of power gives power to the woman.
Subverts this by using a female as the hero of the story.
It is most directly communicated to the reader.
Marquis has a fascination with death which is linked to the consummation of their marriage.
Shown through marriage literally as can be from death from childbirth or domestic violence.
Chamber is most obvious symbol of this theme, evoked by "mutilation" and "annihilation".
Echoed by blunt language of narrator in consummation. Entrapment Seen through the symbols of the bloody chamber.
The castle is a cage.
Nature: the waves surrounding the castle when usually the sea is seen as freedom it is instead used as no escape from the castle. Gothic The hallway leading to the bloody chamber "ill-lit", "hung with heavy...tapestries", "a long, a winding corridor", "the door of hell" showing Gothic interior styling
Allusions Biblical Allusions The narrator is an analogy of Eve "like Eve" as she "only did what he knew" she would do.
Jean-yves is an analogy of Adam as he shares, as did Adam of Eves, her punishment.
The marquis meant to be god-like as he gives the narrator the keys placing limits on her freedom to knowing the truth.
The marquis' phone call could be fake to test the narrator as possibly God tested Adam and Eve.
Seen as omniscient presence by seeing her trespass as god is all-seeing too.
12 mirrors alluding the 12 apostles of Christ. Symbols The Ruby Choker "Like an extraordinary slit throat".
Symbolizes the death the Marquis has planned for her.
Saint Cecilia Lilies The Wedding Ring Foreshadows how she will die as she was decapitated.
Symbol of martyrdom.
Foreshadow her death as the "insolent incense" turns the bedroom into an "embalming parlour".
Connects sex with death. Symbolizes marriage as is traditional token of love.
However the "gold band" also symbolizes the ownership of marriage. Blood At first is the symbol of loss of innocence of narrator "I had bled".
Being a symbol of virtue and innocence.
However later in the story twists to become the narrators association with guilt and her evidence of wrong doing.
Becomes a heart stain on her forehead, similar to the mark of the Brahmin women, a high caste, giving positive connotations of possible enlightenment. The Piano Symbol of protection.
Brings the Piano tuner to her.
Tries to create a "pentacle" using her music; a pentacle being a play on words of a pentangle which was a symbol of protection in British folklore. The Bloody Chamber Symbolizes many themes; entrapment, Male domination by being able to possess women utterly and violence. Literary Devices Structure Story split into seven sections: marks passage of time and adds emphasis to significant moments in the story. Narrative Voice Narrated by a female first person: nontraditional for typical third person fairy-tale voice.
By giving the heroine a voice she empowers the figure of women which is juxtaposed against a typical helpless princess.
Indirect and direct speech.
Language Metaphors: The lighting up of the castles darkness reflects the "exhilaration" of the bride finding the Marquis' "true nature".
Oxymorons: "sombre delerium", "guilty joy" shows mood shifts in the Marquis.
Sensory detail: the Marquis perceived through smell. The Marquis sees bride through sight. Piano gives music.
Lexis and Semantics Lexical field of violence and horror
Extended metaphor/lexis of animalistic qualities of the Marquis.
Lexis of possession that the narrator is an object.