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Angela Carter The Bloody Chamber - Themes explored

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lucy Murray

on 27 January 2015

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Transcript of Angela Carter The Bloody Chamber - Themes explored

Exploring the themes of Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories

Sexuality and Violence
Influenced by the writing of the Marquis de Sade
Particularly illustrates his idea that sex is often linked with violence.
Other stories in this collection also involve some sort of link between sex and violence.
Violence associated with sex often leads to an objectification as well. Even in a "happy" ending, such as The Company of Wolves or The Tigers Bride sexual freedom comes at the cost of some sort of pain.
Creating a Gothic tone, with the fairy tales portraying a darker side of human desire.
Virginity
Many of the heroines of the stories are virgins.
Can be seen as an invitation for corruption, but also a kind of strength.
Though virginity suggests a kind of innocence, in Carters stories it also posses a unique strength.
'She stands and moves within the invisible pentacle of her own virginity.'
In several stories, when the heroine loses her virginity this act seems to release a kind of trans-formative power that is more than sexual and often liberating.
Contents
1. Brief introduction to the novel

2. Exploration of Theme 1 - Sexuality and Violence
- supporting quotes from The Bloody Chamber
- supporting quotes from the Tigers Bride
- supporting quotes from the Snow Child

3. Exploration of Theme 2 - Virginity
- symbol of the white rose
- supporting quotes from The Bloody Chamber
-supporting quotes from the Tigers Bride
- supporting quotes from the Snow Child

4. Exploration of Theme 3 - Metamorphosis
- supporting quotes from The Courtship of Mr. Lyon
- supporting quotes from The Tigers Bride
- supporting quotes from The Erl King

4. Exploration of Theme 4 - Power and Objectification
- supporting quotes from The Bloody Chamber
- supporting quotes from The Erl King
- supporting quotes from The Snow Child

5. Review



Introduction
Stories based on Charles Perrault's versions of fairy tale's
Written 2 years after Angela Carter translated them
Many consider it a modern feminist reworking of the patriarchal fairy tale style
In her view, she was simply exposing the previously obscured core content of fairy tales.
supporting quotes from the Tigers Bride
'A great, feline, tawny shape who's pelt was barred with a savage geometry of bars the colour of burned wood. His domed, heavy, head, so terrible he must hide...i felt my breast ripped apart as if i suffered a marvelous wound'
supporting quotes from the Snow Child
'So the girl picks up a rose; pricks her finger on the thorn; bleeds; screams; falls. Weeping the Count got off his horse, unfastened his breeches and thrust his virile member into the dead girl'
Supporting quotes from The Bloody Chamber
'There is a striking resemblance between the act of love and the ministrations of a torturer' opined my husband's favourite poet; i had learned something of the nature of that similarity on my marriage bed'
supporting quotes from The Bloody Chamber
supporting quotes from the Tigers Bride
supporting quotes from the Snow Child
Metamorphosis
supporting quotes from The Courtship of Mr. Lyon
supporting quotes from The Tigers Bride
supporting quotes from The Erl King
Power and Objectification
supporting quotes from The Bloody Chamber
supporting quotes from The Erl King
supporting quotes from The Snow Child
Review - To check you have been listening!
Creatures who are half-human and half-beast, or under go some kind of change from beast to human or vice versa.
Exist in an 'in between' state in the world, a are neither fully human or fully non-human.
They are the traditional creatures of ancient fairy tales, but Carter also links their kind of life 'in between' with sexual awakening and loss of virginity that most of the heroines in the stories experience.
Theme of manipulative power and the objectification of women.
Follows Laura Mulvey's theory of the 'Male Gaze'
Instead of rejecting the old fairy tales for their objectification of women and sexual violence, Carter retells them from a female point of view, giving the female characters greater control over their fates.
'And, for the first time in my innocent and confined life, i sensed in myself a potentiality for corruption that took my breath away'
This white rose, unnatural, out of season, that now my nervous fingers ripped, petal by petal, apart as my father magnificently concluded the career he had made of catastrophe.'
'So the girl picks a rose; pricks her finger on the thorn; bleeds; screams; falls.
Weeping, the Count got off his horse, unfastened his breeches and thrust his virile member into the dead girl'.......'Soon there was nothing left of her but a feather a bird might have dropped; a bloodstain, like the trace of a fox’s kill on the snow; and the rose she had pulled off the bush… '
'but now, painfully, tentatively, at last began to stretch his fingers. Her tears fell on his face like snow and, under their soft transformation, the bones showed through the pelt, the flesh through the wide, tawny brow. And then it was no longer a lion in her arms but a man…'
'And each stroke of his tongue ripped off skin after successive skin, all the skins of a life in the world, and left behind a nascent patina of shining hairs. My earrings turned back to water and trickled down my shoulders; I shrugged the drops off my beautiful fur.'
'Then she will open all the cages and let the birds free; they will change back into young girls, every one, each with the crimson imprint of his love-bite on their throats.'
'He in his London tailoring; she, bare as a lamb chop. Most pornographic of all confrontations. And so my purchaser unwrapped his bargain. And, as at the opera, when I had first seen my flesh in his eyes, I was aghast to feel myself stirring.'
'In the evenings when the cold darkness settles down, I always go to the Erl-King and he lays me down on his bed of rustling straw where I lie at the mercy of his huge hands.
He is the tender butcher who showed me how the price of flesh is love; skin the rabbit, he says! Off come all my clothes.'
'So the girl picks a rose; pricks her finger on the thorn; bleeds; screams; falls.
Weeping, the Count got off his horse, unfastened his breeches and thrust his virile member into the dead girl.'
White Rose - Symbolic of Virginity
Linking metamorphosis with the narrative techniques and the Gothic genre
Who's versions of fairy tales were the stories within The Bloody Chamber based on?
Who's writing that often linked sex to violence was Carter influenced by?
How can metamorphosis be linked with narrative style?
Which two Gothic features were linked to metamorphosis?
When the women of the book are objectified they have no more power or influence than a white rose. However, how might a feminist read the fact that they are able to 'bite'?
What was Laura Mulvey's theory called? and what did it involve?
Charles Perrault
The Marquis De Sade
Carter changes the narrative forms and type of narrator throughout the tales, in line with the shape shifting involved in metamorphosis
The Liminal, Abhuman
Although they may be symbolized by a powerless white rose. They also have thorns and can 'bite' therefore are not completely powerless.
The Male Gaze. Women are denied human identity, relegating them down to the status of objects to be admired for their physical appearance.
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