The Werewolf (Review) from Angela Carter's "The Bloody Chamber".
By: Harshal Patil
A wolf, women, blood and lots of blood is what you will see in ‘The Werewolves’, a story recently published and written by Angela Carter in the book ‘The Bloody Chamber’. The story is a variation of the classic fairy tale ‘The Little Red Riding Hood’. The story revolves around a little girl who is on her way to meet her sick grandmother and has to stride through a jungle.
The little girl leaves her house but before she leaves her house, her mother gives the girl a knife for her protection. As she is strolling through the woods, she hears a ‘wolf’s cry’ .The girl turns and cuts the animal’s paws, puts them in a bag and carries on. As she enters her grandmother’s house, she finds her grandmother to be very sick. The girl shakes the cloth to make a hot compress and the paw falls out. The girl looks at the paw and realizes that it has changed and tuned into a human hand. She recognizes it as her grandmother’s.
She pulls her grandmothers sheets and sees that her grandmother has a rotting wound on her arm which was the cause of sickness. The girl starts to cry and hearing this, the villagers come in and stone the grandmother to death. The story ends with surprising note “Now the child lived in her grandmother's house; she prospered."
This is a preview of the whole essay
The girl approaching her grandmother’s house. (From )
In the story we see that even though the girl loses her grandmother, but she shows no remorse as she gets all her grandmother’s possessions including the house she lived in. This story is very much different from Angela Carters usual stories as it is not written from a feminist point of view. She depicts the grandmother as the monster suggesting that man is not a woman’s only enemy. This trend (non-feministic) is also evident in another story by Angela Carter, ‘The Snow Child’ where it is the other female characters who attempt to destroy the main character. It must also be noted that this story ‘The Werewolf’ is less sexual compared to the other stories written by Angela Carter.
The evil character is a fusion of a human and a wolf forming a werewolf! This story differs from the others as the actual evil character or the wolf is not a man but a woman. Moreover it is not clarified whether the wolf wanted to eat or sleep with the girl as in various other rewritings of ‘Little Red Riding Hood’. The theme of the story is different from the original as the girl is not trying to stay on the path or get eaten or raped by a wolf. The girl mentioned in this story is neither naive nor is she innocent and nor is she a virgin.
Angela Carter has portrayed the girl as a brave character, as the girl cuts of the wolf’s paw instead of approaching him or talking to him as in the original story. Angela Carter has presented an extremely gory image to the readers and has also heightened the sense of suspense in the story. The story took a sudden turn when I read that the paws fall out of the bag and the girl discovers them to be her grandmother’s. Does that mean that the very people you trust or love can harm you or evil persons can present in society in any form, as werewolves do and must be duly punished by society as is the grandmother stoned in this story.
This story isn’t a fairy tale for little kids. It is for mature readers. The story is overall very interesting and tries to make the reader hang on to it, to find out what happens in the end. Angela Carter uproots the original fairy tale and makes it resemble real life rather than a fable.
I wrote a review on “The Werewolf” by Angela Carter from the book “The Bloody Chamber”. I chose to write this because it dramatically transforms a simple children’s fairy tale into something totally eerie. My target audience is teenagers and adults who are more likely to be interested in reading about the horrors that exist in the undefined area between the real and the supernatural world and at the same time be intelligent enough to comprehend that this evil is not supernatural but exists within the very depths of human nature.
I kept the tone focused on the fact that this is a story that everyone is familiar with since their childhood and right from the beginning indicated that it would progress into something sinister. I began by giving a short summary of the story and eventually going on to state that the story ended on a surprising note. In this review, I compared the story to the original “Little Red Riding Hood” and to the classic style of Angela Carter in her other stories and how her style differed in this one. Additionally I added a picture of a hooded red figure that seemed to be approaching what looks like a lonely house isolated in the depth of the grey woods. The reviewing reader would definitely associate this with a place that is haunted and create a sense of suspense within their minds.
After giving the audience a general idea what the story is about, as a reviewer I added my interpretation of it and the realistic message Angela Carter may have tried to convey through this story.