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Bloody Chamber - Commentary

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It is late evening, the child runs out onto the moonlit green, searching for something in the lean grass, she had only the light of the moon to guide her as she gazes into the ground in melancholy. She swore she had it on her earlier, she swore to look after it, she swore she wouldn't lose it, but, as whenever we promise ourselves something, the worst always seems to happen. It started with a doll, a petite wooden doll her late mother had given her. The feel of it against her skin did nothing to bring back the warm embrace of her. A dress of embroidered orange silk, the stitching on it as fine and golden as a thread of Rapunzels hair or the spun gold of that millers daughter who had given her word in exchange for a name, her tiny painted face relentlessly smiling in sympathy. Since then she had never managed to hold onto anything for long. Each precious gift would go missing in time, no matter how extensively she clung to it, as a spider clings its sticky, furred, legs to a painted wall. Someone had taken it, it had been there and now it was gone, she remembered it clear as day, even though the dim night had already crept in, had muted the daylight. Innocence has flushed from her cheeks into a guilty crimson. There was no end to her excuses. After that it was an antique music box, the lid engraved with her initials in the cursive script of an antique bible or a medieval tapestry. ...read more.


The incredibly stereotypical characters in fairytales make it perfect for Angela Carter to take a different twist on. In my piece, the first Carter style technique I have used is the switching of tenses. While the story starts in the present tense, with 'It is late evening', very different to common narrative, it soon switches to past tense. It also switches between events that have happened recently or are happening to something that has happened long before, for example in the switch from the first paragraph being in the present tense and the second paragraph switching to a past event or story. This is similar to the way The Bloody Chamber changes between the current events and much earlier in the story. This makes the reader feel more involved in the story, as the present tense really puts them in the position of what is going on around them. As well as this technique, I used the technique of directly addressing the reader, which again involves them in the story more with the phrase 'whenever we promise ourselves something, the worst always seems to happen.' This makes the reader think of their own personal issues helps them find a similarity with the main character. I also used a similar juxtapositioning of words, which help create a contrast. I described the feel of the music box as 'bitter, reassuring metal'. This contrast creates a different image of the seemingly innocent item and makes it more complex to the reader, whilst also adding a sense of darkness. ...read more.


In my story I have played with this idea, as my piece is loosely based on the Frog Prince I have looked into the moral 'things are not always what they seem'. In the original Frog Prince, the ugly frog turns out to be a handsome Prince. However, in my story I decided to make a significant twist. Infact the moral of my story was that sometimes things are what they seem, and sometimes people who appear suspicious are exactly what you think of them. Another point I tried to add was the idea of the enchantment being similar to that of Eve and the Serpent in the garden of Eden. The male character's charm is similar to that of the serpent in convincing Eve to take the apple. The golden orb also represents the apple of the story. This religious aspect of the story strongly relates back to the traditional fairytales which combined magic realism with strong religious views. In many traditional fairytale the replacement of a mother with a step-mother, or no mother at all, is very apparent. In my story I made reference to the lack of a mother figure when I said 'a petite wooden doll her late mother had given her. The feel of it against her skin did nothing to bring back the warm embrace of her'. This is a common fairytale feature. In conclusion, I think my story showed many of the similar stylised techniques as Carter's stories. The overall values of common fairytales were clearly apparent, but along with several elements that are similar to Carter's own style. Francesca Haselden ...read more.

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