Bloody Chamber

This is a brief theme/structure for everyone needing help with Bloody Chamber! Hope it helps you guys :) 

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  • Created by: naina
  • Created on: 27-05-13 14:03

Themes (Marriage)

Identified with past, corruption and deception. Bloody Chamber- potrays marriage as a moral and literal equivelant of death. Courtship of mr Lyon- Portrays marriage as financially motivated- a women passes on to the ownership of another men. (Context) - Historically marriage was represented to be said that all the property of women became her husbands on marrige. However this is no longer the case but Carter is suggesting that men still have dominance over women. 

Tigers Bride- The 'Parlour' symbolises the rituals of the wedding ceremony where the father gamlbles his daughter- ' La bestia'. The parlour is a casion which emphaises the role that chance plays in human relationship. (Context)- Carter is pointing out the economic cicumstances that govers peoples actions as their beliefs. 

Wolf Alice- portays different versions of partnership not any ceremony or conventions: Marriage is a major aspect of human civilisation however wolf alice exists outside all norms. This reinforces marriage as a binding contract or life sentences. 

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Carters collection offers an impression of sexuality as a frightening and exciting aspect of adult behaviour.  

Bloody Chamber- emphaises the risk of marrying an older and much experianced man. Her sexual responses to the Marquis is shown to be 'strange, impersonal and arousal'. The Marquis suggests that the ancitapation of the event is far more pleasurable than the event itself which is true for the young girl. The Marquis pleasures are visiual as he enjoyes looking at her and she likes the way he looks at her. (Context)- This was a contraversial sentiment for a feminist writer to a female character in the 1970's as it comes close to confirming a male chauvinist attitude around that time. The narrator is passive- takes no part in the consumption of the marriage  'my husband beds e'. Her unfullifilled desires which seems to survive the Marquis attentions is thrawed by his decision to abandon her on their honeymoon for business. 

Male sexuality in the 1970- was aggresive and selfish- Marxist (for capitalism) 

Mr Lyon laying down with Mrs Lamb at the end of Courtship of Mr Lyon suggests her self sacrifice for her survival. 

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Fears and Risks

Some of the womens in the tales express a fear of sex. This may be because womens sexuality brings the possiblity of pregnancy and the pain of birth. (Context)- Past childbirth also bought with a considerable risk of death for the mother. Sexuality is seen as a kind of a doorway through which women passes towards a fullfillment. The sensation of fear, particularly fear that is proved and thrilling. Gothis and Horror genres- humans find fear a pleasurable sensation up to a point. 

Bloody Chamber- The bride does not mention any fear of the Marquis until she approaches the forbidden chamber. She only admits the 'deadful anguish'. The trill of risk taking accompanies all the experiances of the young women in these tales as they find themselves confronted by strange men who exert power over them. 

Tigers bride- fear of being naked on the beasts demand, 

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Represents the presence of two natures in one person. Carter explores how beasts can be 'hairy on the inside' (The Company of wolves) 

Transformation reveals some ideas of truth is a common theme of folk and fairy tales, Original fairy tales show the good side of things. Courtship of Mr Lyon- looses his attractivness and poweful animal qualities and ends up looking 'unkempt'. Tigers bride- It is not the beaste, but the beauty who has transformed. Carter inverts the traditional transformation from beast to human and it's symbolism. 

The Snow child offers a different view on metamorphises: A wish can become reality but can easily be wished away. 'Soon there was nothing left of her but a feather, a bloodstain and the rose' 

The Lady of the House of Love: turns the traditional fairy tale of 'Sleeping beauty' upside down.A beautiful aristocrat vampire is transformed into a far older less beautiful women. 

Transformation of the wolf- a powerful symbol of nature and the dangers of the unknown and all consuming desires. In the company of the Wolves, the metamorphises is prevented by the 'wise child'. Carter draws on another strand of folk tale which sees women as having the wit to outsmart the devil 

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Beauty and Wealth

Beauty should not be bought or be owned by wealth. 

  • The Bloody Chamber- The wife is bought with jewels and clothes. - The 'tell tale stain' on the narrators forehead takes the shape and brilliance of the heart on a playing card'. 
  • The Tigers Bride- 'If you have enough money anything is possible Courtship of Mr Lyon- Beauty is bought with dishonest dealings, both financially and at the card table.Suggests that Wealth corrupts beauty.

Their appearances and their emotional state show that being groomed for their master's pleasure damages them. Unlike the lovers in the standard fairy tale (A03) happy endings, where the characters become rich,marry and live happily ever after. Carters characters show an escape from the material world as freedom from corruption. The Bloody Chamber- is a narration of the hers dead husbands wealth as a revision that she became rich, and lived happily ever after'.The beast in the Tigers bride wears a mask to look entirly human. Carter is playing with the readers expectations by hiding the real identity of the beast but that wealth enables disguis. 

Context- Marxist: People become obsessed with things they make, buy sell or use. Aleination

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Man Women and Nature

Man- Masculine noun was a cliche challenged at the time Carter was writing The Bloody Chamber. Man is shown to be disconnected from nature in these tales, while women is potentially a creature for nature. For Carter, womenkind has the power to heal the rift between man and nature. 

The Erl King- shows the spirit of nature as man but an isolated and femisined man: 'He is an excellent housewife'. The Erl King performs domestic tasks in the middle of the forest. Carter describes as a primitive hunter gatherer. Carter describes all the natural things collected by the Erl King :'pigeons, eggs' and the ending paragraph describes his cruel habbits of keeping the singing bird' in cages. 

AO3- The green eye. Erl King green eye is an intertexual reference to shakespeare's play Othello and Iago's ironic warning that jealousy is 'the green eyed monster' . This suggest that men are naturally jealous. Carter also suggests that women do not have to be limited by this element of man s human nature. 

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Appearance Vs Reality

Man hides his true nature behind masks:

  • The Bloody Chamber & The Tigers bride - The Marquis and the beast are the most dangerous when the mask is removed. Other tales show the power of nature is disguised by man. 
  • The Courtship of Mr Lyon and the other wolf stories - Presents the relationship between man women and nature as an evil trick played upon women 'Carnivore incarnate, only immaculate flesh appeases him'. 

Carter challenges the notion that their is such a thing as unchanging human nature or a natural order in human society. 

Wolf Alice- Carter expresses that human has been overtaken by animal. Part of being human is being able to communicate in sophisticated visual and verbal language. Carter makes the point that humans can adapt to the enviroment which meeth their needs. By adapting to natural enviroments, we have created a social enviroment that does not allow all our human needs to be fulfilled. For Women, social enviroment that has evolved is a patraichal one. 

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Cold nature

Most stories is a cold and unwelcoming place that begins where human civilisation ends. Nature in Carters stories can be interpreted in a number of ways: It can refer to the physical world itself or the physical world as a symbol or to characters instinctive nature that breaks the social codes of civilised behaviour. 

  • The Courtship of Mr Lyon- winter landscape' and 'drift of fallen petals' suggests the arrival of spring and a more hopeful ending. 
  • The Tigers bride- Parlour is 'cold as hell' 
  • The Erl King-takes place in an autumnal world with 'introspective weather' 
  • Snow Child, Company of wolves, and the werewolf: 'set in midwinter' 
  • Lady of the house of love- hot ripe summer' and the events of 'Wolf- Alice' span a period that is not tied to one season. 

The way human behaviour is shaped by a harsh and bleak enviroment. The distance from civilisation or how far society is from being truly civilised is symbolised by the emptiness of the landscapes that surround the fortness of the patriarchs. 

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  • The Bloody Chamber, The Courtship of Mr Lyon and The Tigers Bride form a trio of tales about women marrying monstrous men. 
  • Puss in Boots provides an entertaining comic interlude. 
  • The Erl King- a dark and disorientating exploration of the fairy tale forest 
  • The Snow Child- moves along brisky, simple structure following the fairy tale formula patterns of three
  • The Lady of the house of love- elaborated gothic romance
  • Werewolf, Company of wolves and wolf alice are concerned with how to deal with the big, bad wolf. 
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Structure of Wolf Alice

Wolf alice suggests that the narrator is possibly involved in the action of the story, but these implicate the reader in the rejection of the wild child rather than create an identifiable narrator. The opening sentence invites a sense of collusion. 

First person pronoun is used to show- attention being focused on to the child as an alien being who does not speak like we do. 

The omnisent narrator- 

Other tales have an omniscient narrator. It is safe to assume that this is the voice of Carter herself. She is not a parcitapant in the events of the stories, however makes an aside to the reader in the knowing way that recounters often do to change the pace of an anecdote. 

'What big eyes you have'- convetional speech puntuation which implies that words are the inner thoughts of the character, something that happens naturally when stories are verbally exchanged and read aloud. They are allusions that assume a shared understanding of the storytelling conventions of fairy tales. 

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