• 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

    Lets use the square 6x6 so x will be 1 and V will be 16. V=x(L-2x)^2 16=1(6-2*1)(6-2*1) 16=1(36-12-12+4) 16=36-12-12+4) 16=16 So that proves the equation is correct. As well as this I already know that x=L/6, so if I now substitute this into the original equation, I should be able

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

    can order that is equal to or larger than the denominator ? The remainder is written as a fraction ==> There are two methods for doing this ? Polynomial long division ? Remainder theorem ==> Remainder has to have a lower power than the divisor Let F(x)

  1. Portfolio - Stopping Distances

    Equation obtained: When graphed on a GDC this is what it looks like below using this table 1 and the function Graph 4. Quadratic model for Speed versus Braking distance However, because it is a quadratic we have to evaluate whether the negatives will be a good fit to represent the data.

  2. 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.

  1. Math Portfolio Type II - Applications of Sinusoidal Functions

    Use a sinusoidal regression to find the equation for the number of hours of daylight as a function of the day number, n, for Toronto. Write your equation in the form T(n) = a sin[b(n - c)] + d, with a, b, c, and d rounded to the nearest thousandth.

  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. The Rational Zeros

    We obtain the smallest positive root as . These set of results corroborate the assertion on the previous section, while the second and fourth term are kept constant, the numerator of the smallest positive root remains the same, while the denominator assumes the value of the coefficient of the first term.

  2. Mathematics Coursework - OCR A Level

    1.249 This is an example of a graph that does not work. When putting in integer values into the equation, there is no change of sign as the graph crosses the x-axis twice in between 0 and 1. x y -5 626.6767 -4 257.3433 -3 82.01 -2 16.67667 -1 1.343333

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