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

Three ways of reading The Bloody Chamber.

Extracts from this document...


                   Three ways of reading The Bloody Chamber

In order to look at The Bloody Chamber as a set of interlinked stories which can be read in a variety of ways, I propose to use the ideas about language and myth as semiological systems that Barthes expounds in Mythologies. A brief account of Barthes views is therefore necessary.

Barthes, following Saussure, looks upon a story as comprising a semiological structure, with three terms – signifier, signified and sign. The signifier is the linguistic unit: word, sentence, story. The signified is the thing the signifier refers to, object, thought, concept. The sign is the unity that the signified and signifier constitute for us. Barthes gives the example of someone giving a bunch of roses as a token of their affection to someone. The roses are the signifier, the signified is their passion, and the sign is the unity of signifier and signified, ‘passionified’ roses, which we grasp in thought.

For Barthes, myth as a semiological system constitutes a second order semiological system. That is, in a myth, the signifier, the first tem in the semiology of myth, is already an item which is full of meaning, a sign. The following diagram should help to clarify Barthes point.







Here, the first order terms are given in lower case: signifier, signified and sign, and the second order, mythic, terms, are given in bold upper case: SIGNIFIER, SIGNIFIED, SIGN.

It may be easier to understand with an example.

...read more.


A first order reading of the title story of The Bloody Chamber, similar to the one offered by Darnton of Red Riding Hood is also both possible and plausible. In this story, a much older, sexually experienced man marries a young woman, barely an adult, who is sexually inexperienced and perhaps naïve. He turns out to have rather predatory designs upon her. The meaning of the story, at the first level would then be quite simply, for inexperienced 18 year old women to be sceptical about the intentions of sexually experienced men old enough to be their fathers. Their intentions are probably not centred around companionate marriage and romantic love. This is a perfectly legitimate way in which to read the story, as a warning. Read this way it is precisely the sort of warning that the 18 year old Dianna Spencer could well have profited from before marrying the 40 year old, sexually experienced and emotionally jaded Charles Windsor and embarking upon her preordained role as a symbol of emotional victimhood.

This leads nicely into the second level of semiological analysis, the mythic. For Darnton, at the first level of semiological analysis, a wolf is just a wolf, and a key is just a key. At the mythic level, the SIGNIFIERS incorporate that first level of meaning, and go beyond it. So, at the mythic level a wolf is more than a wolf and a key is more than a key.

...read more.


This helps us defuse certain feminist reservations about the story The Bloody Chamber. A post-modern reading achieves a certain ‘ironic’ distance from the sort of interpretation that feminist find problematic, without supplanting that interpretation. It is as though the writer and reader acknowledge that there is something problematic and a knowing look passes between us, neither endorsing nor contesting that problematic interpretation, but acknowledging the ‘distance’ that our inability to accept, even at the mythic level, that the signifiers of problematic female passivity can stand simply and innocently for that very thing, female passivity.

In that respect, since there is no definitive ironic stance, the reader is the determinant of the meaning of the story. Irony of this kind is a negative stance it isn’t an endorsement of any particular reading, rather a rejection of the simple and innocent one. What the reader then makes of it is left up to them.

...read more.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Core & Pure Mathematics 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 Core & Pure Mathematics essays

  1. The open box problem

    side says that when x is 4, the volume is 1024 so we can be certain this and of my hypothesis. So by creating these tables and graphs I have gradually progressed into discovering a hypothesis. And by testing out this hypothesis on one final square, it proves that my hypothesis is correct.

  2. Math Portfolio Type II - Applications of Sinusoidal Functions

    Explain how the latitude of a location is related to the hours of daylight, and explain how this relationship is illustrated by the differences in the parameters in the two equations. The latitude of a location is related to the hours of daylight, since there are more hours of

  1. Functions. Mappings transform one set of numbers into another set of numbers. We could ...

    Adding and Subtracting ==> To add or subtract fractions, they must have the same denominator ==> Be careful when subtracting (especially where there are double negatives) ==> When the denominators have no common factor, their product gives the new denominator (multiply the numerator accordingly)

  2. Mathematics Coursework - OCR A Level

    the rearrangement method does not work for this rearrangement of the equation as it cannot calculate the y-value for x=0.332207 and beyond. The above is the graph of y=(3x5-x+0.31)1/2 (blue line) and y=x (red line). The purple line shows the method diverging and then it stops when it cannot work

  1. Portfolio - Stopping Distances

    increases exponentially. Since it is a quadratic we can develop a model to fit a data using the equation also known as, however, there is another model that would fit the data is by using a power function. First I will develop a quadratic model.

  2. Henna Night

    The other two people at the other corners were Yasmin's friends Tara and Saira. Slowly, as they approached the middle of the hall, pink, white and red flowers were thrown over as they all passed, to walk upon the stage, which was where Yasmin was to sit.

  1. Although everyone who gambles at all probably tries to make a quick mental marginal ...

    The odds of winning anything at all can be expressed as: Although this seems like very poor odds, it must be kept in mind that the entry price is one dollar, and the payout is relatively large compared to that.

  2. Change of sign.

    however I feel that 6 decimal places are enough. Fixed point iteration - Newton Raphson This method is based on the theory of utilising gradients of the curve to eventually zoom in close enough to the root. The stated formula (shown below)

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