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`The Erl-King'
Angela Carter,
Short Stories
Lauren Oakley and Harriet Holmes…read more

Slide 2

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Origins of the `Erl-King'
· Scandinavian folklore/legend
· The `Erl-King' was originally a female spirit
(adapted to feminist perspective by replacing it to
be a man)
· Goblin/spirit that haunts the woodlands and
seduces young women
· Erl-King is at harmony with nature but can control
the animals (showing a malicious side, the two
sides of nature and personality- Dr Jekyll and
Hyde)…read more

Slide 3

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· In ``The Erlking,'' an innocent young woman walking through a
deserted wood is seduced by a wild man/goblin/spirit who lives
there. Like the animals that surround him, she falls subject to the
Erlking's strange power. She learns that he is planning to transform
her into a bird--many of which he keeps in cages in his cottage to
sing for him--but she nevertheless remains compelled to submit to
his will.
· However, an alternate fate for the woman is imagined when, at the
story's close, it is conjectured that she will strangle him with his
own hair and set free all the birds, which will then turn back into
the form of other young virgins the Erlking has seduced. ``The
Erlking'' is one of the collection's more experimental stories.…read more

Slide 4

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· Female narrator- the heroine
· Speaks directly to the audience
· Young woman- mature and knowledgeable
· Not a naïve young woman- already aware of
Erl-King folklore.
· `The Erl-King will do you grievous harm'
· References to Red Riding Hood…read more

Slide 5

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· The Narrative begins as a `distant' recount, it begins with the
3rd person and in past tense, moves through to a more direct
address in 2nd person and then wholly involved in the first
person-feminist point of view. It moves from the past,
present and future and this insinuates morality and time
which is a common theme throughout the story- as with the
weather and the seasons. However this form of narrative
can also be interpreted as being `disorientating' adding to
the feel of the reader and the protagonist being `lost' in the
wood- the vertigo.
· Narrative- series of sudden shifts in point of view- sense of
experience- losing herself in the narrative, the story, the
wood- allows the reader to also.…read more

Slide 6

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· Set on a very cold day, in late Autumn and the forest is said to
have `an air of impending death'
· `grass grew over the tracks years ago'- no man made tracks to
follow- desolate, unwelcoming.
· `the trees stir with a noise like taffeta skirts of women who have
lost themselves in the woods'- foreboding
· Use of wood- away from civilisation, and constraints on females in
society which also adds to the gothic idea of Isolation and
· `these vertical bars of a brass- coloured distillation of light'-
foreshadows cages
· `the wood swallows you up'
· `a young girl would go into the woods as trustingly as Red Riding
Hood to her granny's house'…read more

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