similarities between dracula and bloody chamber

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the bloody chamber 

dracula 

  • main characters - protagonists are always the young bride, showing vulnerablitity and innocence
  • Labrinth - the marquis castle is big and has many unknown and winding corridors that are unknown to the bride, possibly reflects how the marquis's life is very unknown to the bride - hidden secrets.
  • Metamorphosis - human to animal; prey to predator; passive to active; more pronounced as the collection goes on; portrayed in a positive light for women to transform out of their passive roles into having greater agency, and perhaps being even more powerful than the aristocratic power of the patriarchy, such as presented in 'Wolf Alice'
  • Pornographic imagery - The marquis objectifies women by making them feel they are objects ' join my gallery of beautful women', he makes them feel they are only used for reproductive organs, yet later in the stories she allow stge women to feel they can please their sexual desires when he wants. Carter strips away the taboo that stoker presents throughout Dracula.
  • Sex and Violence - at the beginning of the marriage, we notice that loev and violence is connectedc 'a dozen husbands impaled a dozen wives, reflects how the women and physcially and mentally trapped, into their passive role corrupting their innocence.the collection goes on the female narrator realises "his appetite need not be my extinction" reflecting how women must not just see themselves simply to please men and it is society (like in Dracula) that forced women into the roles whereby men can destroy them through sex due to their passivity but Carter wants women to liberate themselves and see themselves as equal to men
  • Setting -The Bloody Chamber takes places in an archetypal Gothic castle, but it is liminal, surrounded by the 'amniotic salinity' of the sea, perhaps suggesting the womb-like element of the castle where the narrator will be re-born as a liberated woman who is not just seen as an object, the chamber itself is suggestive of a womb, however it is corrupted as it is male created, which is perhaps liberating as it refuses to see women as just being for reproduction; many of the other settings of the stories take place in liminal settings, such as the forest in The Earl King and the castle in The Lady of the House of Love. These woods are not threatening, they enable women to see their own power and allow women to be reborn as liberated women
  • feamle sexuality - both these writers expose the sexual desires that have been supressed by societal contraints. It is  celebrated throughout the text and by the end in Wolf Alice there is much more female autonomy; women are not placed into the two roles that Lucy and Mina are, they disturb the binary and depict how women can be both predator and the prey and they can prosper just as men can when they realise they must break out of their passive roles; the mark on the narrator's forehead remains for the rest of her life perhaps because she still desires her life, although society forces her to be ashamed of that, but as the novel goes on the women become more metaphorically 'marked' by liberation however they are unapologetic for it because they can prosper as individual women, not by conforming to male standards or what is expected of women, but as true liberated beings
  • text instability -  the book itself is a labyrinth made up of diary entries that the reader is never really sure if they happened or not as one is not sure when they were put together and the copies are not originals; Dracula only exists in the cracks of the novel as he is never given a first-hand account; Harker is not true as to what is fact and what is fiction when he is with Dracula and thus reflects how perhaps Dracula is not a being, rather he embodies fear itself; the text reflects a scientific procedure of being put into chronological order
  • the main protagonists - are the male characters such as Count Dracula and jonathan Harker.
  • Labrinth - the Counts castle is perhaps a reflecion of jonathan harkers mind.
  • Metamorphosis - women regress in a negative light to something that should be disgusted; Lucy transforms into a wild beast that is punished; women regressing to an animalistic, highly sexual nature is viewed negatively due to the conservative context
  • Pornographic imagery -the language is more taboo and subtle but also portrayed in a negative light to do with death or ungodly desires; every scene of sexual titillation is viewed from a man's perspective thus enforces the male gaze (Dr Seward recounts both Lucy's death and Mina getting bitten)
  • sex and violence -  although there are no actual sexual scenes in Dracula, Lucy's death and Mina getting bitten by Dracula are represented through highly sexual terms; "driving deeper and deeper the mercy-bearing stake"; " Her white nightdress was smeared with blood"; evokes masculine heroism
  • Setting - Stoker uses a circular structure for his novel, beginning and ending in Transylvania, with the rest taking place in London or Whitby. The stark contrast between the settings of the East and the West reinforces the fear of reverse colonisation, there was the fear of the wild and Catholic, supernatural believing world affecting the modernity and punctuality of the Western world. However, Britain is unable to cope with the weather that Dracula brings and the modernity of the British world cannot destroy Dracula, but it also highlights the stark contrast between the two worlds as Dracula does infect Britain, but in a very modern and legal way, thus suggesting the fear of modernity and how it could be corrupted. The setting in the first few chapters of the wild mountains and Dracula's castle also creates much suspense and terror for the reader as the first person narrative immerses the reader in Harker's situation. there is contrast in the landscape leading to the counts castle, such as the 'deep green' this allows an insight possible between the fight of good and evil.
  • female sexuality - deeply problematised; presents women as either virginal, Mina whom is esstential to the redemptive ending of the novel and is rewarded by not giving into Dracula's threat over women and inspires men to heroism, or whoreish, Lucy whom's sexual instability threatens to undermine the domestic order and society itself through her weakness to resist her desires; Lucy's symptoms reflect female hysteria further emphasising the weakness and instability of women and their need to be protected; the three vampire women are more perverse and violent than Dracula; suggests women should not stray from Victorian standards otherwise they will be punished as Mina is only rewarded for conforming; the mark from Mina's forehead is removed once the men overcome Dracula suggesting that only men can purge women of their sins
  • text instability -  familiar stories told in liberated and twisted ways; 'new wine in old bottles' suggests this instability is deliberate; Carter breaks into the cracks of the patriarchy and uses the same texts many times to free women from traditions; the narrators of each text is never given an name, perhaps to reflect how the voice is universal and the instability of liberation if one does not break out of their role themselves

historical content 

historical content 

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Koteka Wenda

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Thank you! This was much needed **