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By discussing closely the opening 20 pages of 'The Bloody Chamber', how effective is Carters use of the fairy tale in your opinion?

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Introduction

By discussing closely the opening 20 pages of 'The Bloody Chamber', how effective is Carters use of the fairy tale in your opinion? In each of her short stories Angela Carter subverts the idea of the Fairy Tale, writing in the tradition of the Carnavalesque focusing on the excesses of life and rejoicing in the physical through her rich and opulent language. A fairy tale always involves a series of seven elements around which the story is formed, these elements being: a prohibition, the breaking of this prohibition, the consequence, an alteration of state, quest, and reinstatement of order and then a moral. In her story 'The Bloody Chamber' carter takes the fairy tale of 'Bluebeard', which adheres to these elements, and bases her account around this. However, she inverts the archetypal idiom and circumstances often seen in fairy tales, especially 'Bluebeard', using overly prurient descriptions of bodily functions creating a more shocking narrative and a new and more modern outcome. ...read more.

Middle

According to the traditional fairy tale this is exactly what is meant to happen later in the story, the girl is meant to be reprimanded for giving into her curiosity. However Carter uses the fairy tale to give the story another edge by inverting the ending so that the girl does not get punished for her crime but in fact gets away. Carter is constantly doing this- switching from the traditional course of the fairy tale and inversions of the traditional. The idea of the fairy tale is also used in the inclusion of the essential seven elements. The introduction of the prohibition is used to full effect when her husband tells her that she must not go into the room, and she, realising the temptation involved describes how he 'dangled the key tantalizingly above her head'. Carter uses this key element to the fairy tale by letting us know that the way in which the husband introduces the prohibition is deliberately 'tantalizing'. ...read more.

Conclusion

This type of language is seen throughout the story with the girls description of her nightdress saying, 'it teasingly caressed me, egregious, insinuating, nudging between my thighs'. This kind of excessively sexual and voluptuous language is a complete inversion of the conventional kind seen in a fairy tale. This inversion of the typical language is further seen in the inclusion of the Freudian ideas. Again this is introduced almost immediately into the story when the girl is said to be travelling on a train- a phallic Freudian metaphor. This is extended in the inclusion of the 'antique service revolver' of her fathers which in another twist to the classic fairy tale is used to kill her husband not by a knight in shinning armour but by her mother. Carter, in my opinion, uses the Fairy Tale very effectively by creating an effective balance between using traditional elements and inversions of these elements. She does this not only through the events that occur in the story but also through the language which she uses to depict these events. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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