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Critical Analysis, Snow Child (Angela Carter). Angela Carter brings to plain sight many issues, within modern day human relationships, within the extended metaphor of The Snow Child;

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Introduction

The Snow Child Angela Carter Doug Turner Angela Carter brings to plain sight many issues, within modern day human relationships, within the extended metaphor of 'The Snow Child'; a story built on the basis of the classic fairy tale 'Snow White'. The story starts of with a great sense of danger, the first three words "MIDWINTER - INVINCIBLE, IMMACULATE." Create the picture of a cold, powerful and barren land. The use of capitals further enforces the image of the power of the nature surrounding the characters. Carter uses this dangerous atmosphere to aid the creation of the character of the dominatrix-esque Countess, who wore "high, black shining boots with scarlet heels", the black leather links to fetishes, and the scarlet hints to the reader of the woman's role and therefore superiority, of sexual domination and quite possible causes of pain. Angela Carter immediately forms an air of danger, merged with one of sexual desires. ...read more.

Middle

This is made obvious to the reader when Carter describes the hatred which the Countess has towards the 'Snow Child', showing clear jealousy, and made even more prominent when: "the furs sprang off the Countess' shoulders and twined around the naked girl". Later, the countess loses her boots to the girl in a similar fashion. Both instances of the Countess' replacement come after she has tried to kill the girl out of jealousy. Yet again Carter uses themes from fairy tales, where an older woman, often a step mother or aunt, is jealous of the younger, beautiful heroine, and tries to assassinate them. E.G. Snow White, Sleeping Beauty etc. Carter entwines the feelings of the countess with the nature around the characters. For example; when she tried to kill the girl she throws her 'Diamond brooch through the ice of a frozen pond' there is much emphasis on the description of the pond, both the words 'ice' and 'frozen' being sharp and short, relates to how the countess feels towards the girl. ...read more.

Conclusion

"Then the girl began to melt", once the Count has used the girl for her intended purpose, she has lost the attraction to him, her purity was destroyed along with her virginity, and therefore the count has caused the loss of 'the child of his desire'. The audience is told by Carter that men only want women for sexual pleasure. Once the girl has melted "...the Countess had all her clothes on again." Now that the Countess has successfully assasinated the 'Snow Child', and the Count has lost his attracting to the girl, she regains her place as his partner, this idea is strrengthened by; "The Count pivked up the rose, bowed and handed it to his wife;...", shows that positions have returned and that the Countess has retained her dominatrix role is the relationship. Finally "when she touched [The Rose], she dropped it. 'It bites!' she said." This could relate the the Latin Myth of 'Vagina Dentata' (Toothed Vagina). If so, Carter is expressing the irrational male fear of female sexuality, of what females want from a sexual relationship. Thus re-telling us of male's simple materialistic views toward sexual relationships. ...read more.

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Response to the question

Essays which simply aim to write a critical analysis are never as strong as those which engage with a question set. This is evident in this essay, as there is little argument built into the essay. Focusing on the authorial ...

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Response to the question

Essays which simply aim to write a critical analysis are never as strong as those which engage with a question set. This is evident in this essay, as there is little argument built into the essay. Focusing on the authorial purpose of the short story would open this essay to more discussion. A key aspect of A-Level is the evaluation of alternative interpretations, yet by having no discussion over meanings or reception, this assessment objective cannot be met.

Level of analysis

Some of the analysis here is strong, looking at the techniques Carter uses and the meanings the convey. However, some of the comments are simply asserted and the points aren't explained fully. For example "The use of capitals further enforces the image of the power of the nature" doesn't really address the choice of words, or what effect this opening has. The analysis around necrophilia is strong, looking further into why Carter has portrayed the images. I liked the discussion of the male's base instincts taking control. However, these ideas need to be sustained in the discussion to meet the top bands at A-Level. Evaluation of how the male gaze characterises the Snow Child, and how she ceases to exist after his gratification are high-level discursive points for this short story.

Quality of writing

The spelling, punctuation and grammar are fine in this essay. I would've liked to have seen more references to Carter's choices, rather than simply stating what happens in the short story. There are a few spelling mistakes scattered around, and a simple proof read would prevent these from making the final draft. Parts of this essay tend towards the colloquial side. I would advise against using phrases such as "the count wants a sexually pure plaything" as this detracts from the quality and depth of the analysis. I like the critical voice expressed here. Phrases such as "by far the most distinct image" show examiners that you are capable of looking at the significance of techniques.


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Reviewed by groat 26/06/2012

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