Angela Carter makes good use of dismal situations in both ‘The Bloody Chamber´ to gain control of the readers attention.
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Angela Carter makes good use of dismal situations in both 'The Bloody Chamber´ to gain control of the readers attention. The major sense of desperation arises when the heroine enters the bloody chamber in her newly wedded husbands castle. The impact of this moment is powerful because up to now the bride is portrayed as a naïve blushing bride. At this point it can be sensed that death awaits her. Once she passes the ill-lit corridor she crosses the boundary into the realm of death, mutilation, blood and horror. The passage leading up to this point has been thoroughly described by Carter. Angela Carter goes as far as to personify the chamber walls, "they gleamed as if they were sweating with fright." Initially the narrative begins in an excited garbled state, but as the description becomes detailed it invokes a sense of immediacy. At the height of suspense we are led to the dead corpse with, "the dead lips smiled" making the situation even more drastic. Carter then strangely begins to describe the surroundings with elegant imagery, "yet the skull was still so beautiful, had shapes with sheer planes...." As the bride becomes familiar with her surroundings there is a growing sense of tension and when she finally comes face to face with the previous bride she is overwhelmed and is forced to escape the horrors.
When the creature comes to life and he stretches out his hand in a natural attempt to receive affection, Victor teaches the monster that he cannot be loved by, instead of reciprocating his creation's innocent gesture, feeling the need to "escape" and taking "refuge" (57) from him. Even though the creature does not remember his creator's flight, his first recollections of being a "poor, helpless, miserable wretch" and "feeling pain invade [him] on all sides" result from this traumatic rejection (99). In stark contrast, when as an adult in jail Victor reaches out his hand towards his father in search of the same reassurance the creature instinctively desired, he continues to learn that even as an adult he will always be forgiven and there are no consequences to his actions because his father responds by calming him and appearing as his "good angel" (175). While Victor's parents give him love and affection as a child and he selfishly denies these necessities to his creature, both childhood scenarios influence these characters' development into adults. As a result of each character's childhood circumstances, Victor becomes a selfish adult who does not understand consequences and the creature's natural kindness develops into vengeful misery. Because Victor was never denied anything as a child, he grows up to be a self-centred being.
Once Victor has died and the creature no longer has a reason to live in his loveless, companionless state of existence, he vows to put himself out of his misery and die. Victor's overindulgent childhood and the monster's emotionally dry upbringing lead to the destruction of those close to them and, eventually, their own tragic demise. While the creature's barren childhood sharply differs from Victor's supposedly ideal upbringing, both situations lead to problems for both characters as adults and ultimately lead to each destruction. Shelley presents these two opposing experiences, but she sets both the "ideal" and the blatantly horrific up to fail and lead to death and misery. She suggests that maybe what seems like an ideal child rearing method when the child is given everything he could ever want really raises an adult who is self-involved and inconsiderate of the world around him. Shelley further uses the far-reaching effects of these extreme childhoods through the entirety of the characters' lives to imply the importance of a balanced upbringing to create a balanced adult. By portraying the two extreme possibilities in the creature and Victor, she indicates the necessity of teaching children from the moment that they are born not just unconditional love and acceptance, but also consequences and selflessness. Shelley expresses through her novel that it is essential to have all of these elements in order to survive in the world.
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