• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Angela Carter essay

Extracts from this document...


Critics have often disagreed about whether The Bloody Chmaber and Other Stories is a rewriting of the Gothic with fairy-tale elements or a rewriting of the Fairy Tale with Gothic elements. In contrast to the French tradition, Carter's attitude towards defining the fairy-tale is inclusive, recalling the Grimm's practice. Her position is stated explicitly in the introduction to her first edited volume of tales, the Old Wives' Fairy Tale Book. There she defuses terminologyby labelling 'fairy tale' as a 'figure of speech' , and thus allowing her to the bri Carter is widely known for her feminist rewriting of fairy tales; the Bloody Chamber can be viewed as a midway between the disquietingly savage analyses of Gothicism and patriarchy and the revolutionary novels of the 1980's and 1990's. The violence in the events of earlier Gothic novel, for instance (the rapes, the physical and mental abuse of women) are used to mock and explode the constrictive cultural stereotypes, and in celebrating the sheer ability of the female protagonist to survive, unscathed by the sexist ideologies. The tales in the Bloody Chamber contain a great deal of what is means to be Gothic; the hidden themes of excess, social transgression , taboo, and forbidden sexualities, but the narrative itself provides a rewriting of the fairy tales that actively engages the reader in a feminist deconstruction. ...read more.


In the 'Lady of the House of Love' we are told that the lady's 'ancestors sometimes peer out of the windows of her eyes'. In the Company of Wolves the folk myths of the past haunt the protagonists steps as she steals through the haunted forest. The 'Bloody Chamber' is populated by images of modernity, 'trains' and 'bicycles' in defiance of Gothic temporal conventions. Yet, Carter is most famous for her challenges to the way female characters had previously been represented in pre-modern literature. As well as rewriting fairy tales, Carter also edited two collections of them in the early 1990's, which included tales collected by Charles Perrault in the 1690's. Perrault rewrote and sanatised the older, darker oral tales in order to use them to make moral points about the conduct of middle class children. In the Bloody Chamber Carter attempts to reclaim these tales from their seventeenth century recomposition and draw out their more covert gender implications. Two of the tales also rework elements familiar from the Female Gothic concerning absent mothers, most notably in the 'Bloody Chamber' when it is the mother's presence that promises salvation. The tale concludes with the arrival of the young bride's mother, summoned by 'maternal telepathy' (reworking Radcliffe's heroines unconscious pursuits of their mothers) ...read more.


The Bloody Chamber may be read as an exploration of the possibilities of the kind of synthesis de Sade himself 'could never find because he wasn't looking for it'.1 Predator and prey, master and slave, are the only two categories - or roles; one person may play both, although only alternately. Above all, sex between unequals cannot be mutually pleasurable because pleasure belongs to the eater and not the eaten. What Carter seems to me doing - among other things is looking for ways in which the tiger and lamb parts of the psyche, can reach some sort of accomadation. The nature of men is not fixed by Carter as inevitably predatory, with females as their natural prey. Lambhood and tigerishness can be found in either gender , and in the same individual at different times. Indeed the chamber in the 'Bloody Chamber' can be read as metaphysical representation of the Marquis's tigerishness which awakes in the marriage bed and the closing scene but is kept under lock and key in the dark recesses of his mind for the remainder of the story. It is this repressed human emotion that is a key point of exploration in the Gothic and fairy tale forms. 1 The Sadeian Women and the Bloody Chamber, Gamble ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Angela Carter section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Angela Carter essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    "The Bloody Chamber" by Angela Carter - With close reference to one of the ...

    4 star(s)

    create a pentacle out of music that would keep me from harm". The music in Carter's story has an almost religious significance as the young girl feels as if she can cleanser her feelings of guilt and sinfulness from God.

  2. Peer reviewed

    Consider how and to what purpose Angela Carter uses a folk story in any ...

    3 star(s)

    When she does return in Beauty finds the Beast near death, and her promise to stay with the Beast forever and be His wife brings him back to life and transforms him into a human, which is also similar to both versions of the tale.

  1. Peer reviewed

    Explore the narrative techniques used by Angela Carter to subvert, reverse and challenge the ...

    3 star(s)

    The author makes us believe that her version of the story will be the same as the fairytales but they are not, this makes them exciting to read and very enjoyable. The author uses many narrative techniques to challenge and reverse our expectations as a reader.

  2. The story "The Company of Wolves" written by Angela Carter taunts the reader's imagination ...

    An exqusite book to pique anyones interest into his or her sexuality and its implications, both in the realms of action and imagination Before it was trendy to adapt fairy tale themes into adult fiction, there was Angela Carter. In _The Bloody Chamber_, Carter works with a variety of fairy

  1. Angela Carter - The Bloody Chamber

    As a child the Bluebeard tale left me with the moral that 'nasty things would happen to girls who were too curious'. In Carter's reworking things happen rather differently. The new bride unlocks the secret chamber and finds the bodies of Bluebeard's earlier wives.

  2. "The Company of Wolves" by Angela Carter

    The very nature of the story means that there are strong independent main clauses as well as subordinate clauses. The lexical choice in "The Boy Who Cried to a Wolf" is simpler than that of "The Company of Wolves" but it sticks closer to the lexical conventions of a fairytale.

  1. Wise children essay

    Her dialogue is also crude, as the first line of her dialogue in the novel is "where does the orgy begin." .She was also willing to sleep with people in order to help her career, as she "left lipstick on every pair of underpants further up the hierarchy".

  2. Close Reading of "The Bloody Chamber" pages 11 to top of 15

    of the noun ?child? highlights the dominant male role within this story once again reinforcing patriarchy. It can be argued that the narrator is not accepted as a woman by the Marquis in a virginal or non-virginal state and therefore is in a liminal state because he treats her as

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work