The Bloody Chamber (title story and feminism)

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  • Created by: Megan
  • Created on: 04-06-15 11:34
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  • The Bloody Chamber
    • Title Story
      • Context
        • The protagonist of the novel states that her mother had an 'adventurous girlhood in Indo-China'
          • Indo-China was the French Colonial empire in southeast Asia
          • It had its heyday at the end of the 19th Century.
        • At the start of the novel the protagonist refers to her means of travel- 'great pistons ceaselessly thrusting'
          • This tells us that she is in a steam train and places the story in a specific time
        • Terror of the French revolution in mentioned
        • At the Opera they hear Wagner's Tristan und Isolde
        • An ancestor of her husband's knew Catherine de Medici
        • Description of the castle bears resemblance to Mont St Muchel; an island and abbey of the coast of Normandy
        • Address issues of transgression and taboo
          • Marquis forbids her to enter his private study but she transgresses against his interdiction
            • Partly due to the great wealth of her husband which has left her bored.
          • Her marriage to Marquis in itself is a transgression against the convention of love.
          • The use of ''cunit'' is in itself a breaking of taboo
      • Summary of the story
        • 1. The Protagonist marries a wealthy man
        • 2. She is taken away to live in his castle
        • 3. Eventually he has to leave for business and forbids her from entering a room
        • 4. Her curiosity and boredom with her new life leads her to enter the room
        • 5. Here she finds the bodies of his previous three wives and realises her own fate
        • 6. Her husband returnes home early and knows she has been in the room
        • 7. Marquis tries to kill her but she is saved by her mother
      • A few quotes
        • 'Delicious ecstasy of excitement'
        • 'unguessable country of marriage'
        • ' I felt a pang of loss'
        • 'ceased to be her child in becoming his wife'
        • ' My eagle-featured, indomitable mother'
        • 'leaving his  wife and child a legacy of tears'
        • ' starburst of lights spattered the drawn blinds
        • 'Our destination, my destiny'
        • 'absolute absence of light'
        • 'My skin crisped at his touch'
        • 'his wedding gift, clasped round my throat'
        • 'potentiality for corruption'
        • ' Into marriage into excile'
        • 'I was innocent but not naive'
        • 'I had seen his face without its mask'
      • Writers methods
        • First person narrative
        • Female protagonist
        • Internal thought
        • External speech
        • Dialogue
        • Direct speech
        • Retrospective at start
        • Taboo language
        • Negative imagery
        • References to the natural
        • Violent imagery
        • Symbolism of staining
        • Symbolism of blood
        • Unromantic language
        • Possessive pronouns- 'my' in 'my husband'
      • The title story makes explicit the link between sex and death. Here Carter gives a vibrant depiction of female sexuality and the female body
    • Carter said  it is thanks to the lack of superficial realism that 'the tale cannot betray its readers into a false knowledge of everyday experience'
    • Feminism
      • Carters stories are from fairy tales. Some influential feminists in the 20th century argued that the fairy tale form should be unacceptable to modern women
        • According to these feminists fairy tales delineate the roles, interactions and values available to women.
      • Fairy tales heavily suggest that if we do not become good then evil will destroy us- For women fairy tales offer a damaging and limited model of behaviour
        • This idea that the good woman is a victim and the bad women must be destroyed is approached by Carter.
          • Usually the bad woman must be killed or punished but to what extent does Carter do this?
            • The Snow Child certainly doesn't punish the 'bad woman'
            • Similarly  in the Courtship of Mr Lyon, the girl grows to be selfish and although she does transform you could argue she doesn't get what she deserved by the end
            • Even the Lady of the House of Love, blurs these common fairy tale conventions some say to present women in a more positive way...
      • Some argue that Carter's adoption of the fairytale provides a feminist twist as gender roles are reversed and the role of women is arguably much stronger.
      • However, some may say that Carter's tales are celebrations of heterosexual desire and that Carter didn't break more boundaries. Carter envisages women's sensuality as a response to male arousal.
        • In light of this it can be argued that Carter still uses the conventional stereotype that women are submissive in society and males are dominant.
      • In the title story the protagonists mother is presented as a character who transgresses. The image of her goes against the cultural conventions at the time.
  • However, some may say that Carter's tales are celebrations of heterosexual desire and that Carter didn't break more boundaries. Carter envisages women's sensuality as a response to male arousal.
    • In light of this it can be argued that Carter still uses the conventional stereotype that women are submissive in society and males are dominant.

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