The Bloody Chamber Quotes

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Sex

The Bloody Chamber

  • “he stripped me, gourmand that he was, as if he were stripping the leaves off an artichoke”

  • “and so my purchased unwrapped his bargain”

  • “I longed for him. And he disgusted me”

Puss in Boots

  • “shows him the target, he displays the dart, scores an instant bullseye”

  • “Satisfaction has not satisfied him; that soul they both saw in one another’s bodies has such insatiable hunger no single meal could ever appease it”
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Continued

The Erl-King

  • “he lays me down on his bed of rustling straw where I lie at the mercy of his huge hands”

  • “he strips me to my last nakedness… like a skinned rabbit”

  • “his touch both consoles and devastates me”

The Lady of the House of Love

  • “and I leave you as a souvenir the dark, fanged rose I plucked from between my thighs, like a flower laid on a grave”
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Death/ violence

The Snow Child

  • “the girl pricks a rose; pricks her finger on the thorn; bleeds; screams; falls”

  • “thrust his virile member into the dead girl”

  • “like the trace of a fox’s kill on the snow”

The Bloody Chamber

  • “a choker of rubies, two inches wide, like an extraordinarily precious slit throat… bright as arterial blood”

  • “On her throat I could see the blue imprint of his strangler’s fingers...The worst thing was, the dead lips smiled”

  • “she was pierced, not by one but by a hundred spiked, this child of the land of the vampires who seemed so newly dead, so full of blood…”

  • “she raised my father’s gun, took aim and put a single, irreproachable bullet through my husband’s head”
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Continued

The Erl-King

  • “and softly, with hands as gentle as rain, I shall strangle him”

The Lady of the House of Love

  • “the end of exile is the end of being”

  • “in death, she looked far older, less beautiful and so, for the first time, fully human”

  • “and I leave you as a souvenir the dark, fanged rose I plucked from between my thighs, like a flower laid on a grave”

  • “she has no mouth with which to kiss, no hands with which to caress, only the fangs and talons of a beast of prey”

The Company of Wolves

  • “when he had finished with her… He burned the inedible hair in the fireplace and wrapped the bones up in a napkin”
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Continued

The Werewolf

  • “she made a great swipe at it with her father’s knife and slashed off its right forepaw”

  • “there was a bloody stump where her right hand should have been, festering already”

  • “they drove the old woman, in her shift as she was, out into the snow with sticks, beating her old carcass as far as the edge of the forest, and pelted her with stones until she fell down dead”

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Love

The Snow Child

  • 'It bites'

The Courtship of Mr Lyon

  • “he helplessly fell before her to kiss her hands”

  • “Since you left me, I have been sick”

  • “I could not eat. I am sick and I must die; but I shall die happy because you have come to say goodbye to me."

  • “'It seemed December still possessed his garden”

The Bloody Chamber

  • “‘are you sure you love him?’ ‘I’m sure I want to marry him’”

Puss in Boots

  • 'love is desire sustained by unfulfillment'

  • “he won’t eat, either”

  • “I must and will have her forever”
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Transformation

The Courtship of Mr Lyon

  • “he forced himself to master his shyness, which was that of a wild creature, and so she contrived to master her own”

  • “she longed for the shabby home of their poverty”

  • “She was learning, at the end of her adolescence, how to be a spoiled child”

  • “she smiled at herself in mirrors a little too often, these days”

  • “her tears fell on his face like snow and, under their soft transformation... It was no longer a lion in her arms, but a man, a man with an unkempt mane of hair”

  • “Miss Lamb, spotless, sacrificial” and “Mr Lyon” - “Mr and Mrs Lyon walk in the garden"
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Continued

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Continued

The Bloody Chamber

  • “away from Paris, away from girlhood, away from the white… into the unguessable country of marriage”

  • “I had, in some way, cased to be her child in becoming his wife”

  • “I sensed in myself a potential for corruption that took my breath away”

  • “the spoiled child did not know she had inherited nerves and a will from her mother who had defied the yellow outlaws of Indo-China”

The Tiger’s Bride

  • “I was a pale, hollow-eyed girl whom I scarcely recognised”

  • “And each stroke of his tongue ripped off skin after successive skin, all the skins of a life in the world, and left behind a nascent patina of shining hairs. My earrings turned back to water and trickled down my shoulders; I shrugged the drops off my beautiful fur”
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Continued

The Bloody Chamber

  • “away from Paris, away from girlhood, away from the white… into the unguessable country of marriage”

  • “I had, in some way, cased to be her child in becoming his wife”

  • “I sensed in myself a potential for corruption that took my breath away”

  • “the spoiled child did not know she had inherited nerves and a will from her mother who had defied the yellow outlaws of Indo-China”

The Tiger’s Bride

  • “I was a pale, hollow-eyed girl whom I scarcely recognised”

  • “And each stroke of his tongue ripped off skin after successive skin, all the skins of a life in the world, and left behind a nascent patina of shining hairs. My earrings turned back to water and trickled down my shoulders; I shrugged the drops off my beautiful fur”
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Continued

The Lady of the House of Love

  • “the end of exile is the end of being”

  • “in death, she looked far older, less beautiful and so, for the first time, fully human”

Wolf-Alice

  • “locked half and half between such states, an aborted transformation, an incomplete mystery, now he lied writhing on his black bed in the room”

  • “she leapt upon his bed to lick, without hesitation, without disgust, with a quick, tender gravity, the blood and dirt from his cheeks and forehead”

  • “then in firmer yet still shadowed outline until at last as vivid as real life itself, as if brought into her being by her soft, moist, gentle tongue, finally the face of the Duke”
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Crime/ innocence/ corruption of innocence/ evil/ g

The Snow Child

  • "Fresh snow fell on snow already fallen"

  • “she was the child of his desire and the Countess hated her”...“she thought the girl would drown”

The Courtship of Mr Lyon

  • “this lovely girl, whose skin possesses that same, inner light so you would have thought she, too, was made all of snow”

  • “his girl-child, his pet, the one white rose she wanted” - beauty + youth

The Bloody Chamber

  • “I had, in some way, cased to be her child in becoming his wife”

  • “I sensed in myself a potential for corruption that took my breath away”

  • “the lilies I always associate with him; that are white. And stain you”

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Continued

The Tiger’s Bride

  • “When I break off a stem, I ***** my finger and so he gets his rose all smeared with blood”.

The Lady of the House of Love “he has the special quality of virginity, most and least ambiguous of states: ignorance, yet at the same time, power in potentia”

  • “since he himself is immune to shadow, due to his virginity - he does not yet know what there is to be afraid of”

  • “she is so beautiful she is unnatural; her beauty is an abnormality, a deformity… Her beauty is a symptom of her disorder, of her soullessness”

  • “In her dream, she would like to be human; but she does not know if that is possible”

  • “everything about this beautiful and ghastly lady is as it should be, queen of night, queen of terror - except her horrible reluctance for the role”

  • “with her stark white face, her lovely death’s head… she looked like a shipwrecked bride.”... “a whore’s mouth”

  • “so delicate and damned, poor thing. Quite damned”
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Continued

The Company of Wolves

  • “her breasts have just begun to swell...she has just started her woman’s bleeding”

  • “she stands and moves within the invisible pentacle of her own virginity. She is an unbroken egg; she is a sealed vessel; she has inside her a magic space the entrance to which is shut tight with a plug of membrane...she is afraid of nothing”

Wolf-Alice

  • “Wolf-Alice was surprised into bleeding again and so it went on, with a punctuality that transformed her vague grip on time”

  • “she would spend hours examining the new skin that had been born, it seemed to her, of bleeding... She examined her new breasts with curiosity; the white growths reminded her of nothing so much as the night-sprung puffballs she had found, sometimes...to her astonishment, she found a little diadem of fresh furs tufting between her thighs. She showed it to her mirror littermate, who reassured her by showing she shared it”
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Supernatural

The Snow Child

  • “The furs sprang off the Countess’ shoulders and twined around the naked girl”

  • “her boots leapt off the Countess’s feet and on to the girl’s legs”

  • “the girl pricks a rose; pricks her finger on the thorn; bleeds; screams; falls”

The Courtship of Mr Lyon

  • “the pervasive atmosphere of a suspension of reality that he had entered a place of privilege where all the laws of the world he knew need not necessarily apply, for the very rich are often very eccentric and the house was plainly that of an exceedingly wealthy man”

  • “all the natural laws of the world were held in suspension, here, where an army of invisibles tenderly waited on her, and she would talk to the lion”

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Continued

The Tiger’s Bride

  • “nothing human lives here”

The Lady of the House of Love

  • “he has chosen the most rational mode of transport”

  • “the bicycle is the product of pure reason applied to motion”

  • “he must dismount and push his bicycle before him, the path too steep to ride”

The Werewolf

  • “to these upland woodsmen, the Devil is as real as you or I”

  • “it was a hand, chopped off at the wrist, a hand toughened with work and freckled with old age”... “by the wart, she knew it for her grandmother’s hand”

  • “squeaking like a thing possessed”

  • “they knew the wart on the hand at once for a witch’s ******; they drove the old woman, in her shift as she was, out into the snow with sticks, beating her old carcass as far as the edge of the forest, and pelted her with stones until she fell down dead”

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Animals

The Courtship of Mr Lyon

  • “the great paws that grasped his shoulders so that their claws pierced the sheepskin as he shook him like an angry child shakes a doll”

  • “head of a lion; mane and mighty paws of a lion, he reared on his hind legs like an angry lion yet wore a smoking jacket of dull red brocade”

  • “a lion is a lion and a man is a man and, though lions are more beautiful by far than we are, yet they belong to a different order of beauty and, besides, they have no respect for us: why should they? Yet wild things have a far more rational fear of us than is ours of them, and some kind of sadness in his agate eyes, that looked almost blind, as if sick of sight, moved her heart”

  • “Miss Lamb, spotless, sacrificial” and “Mr Lyon”

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Continued

The Tiger’s Bride

  • “there is a crude clumsiness about his outlines”

  • “the Beast not much different from any other man, although he wears a mask with a man’s face painted most beautifully on it”

  • “he is a carnival figure made of papier mache and crepe hair; and yet he has the Devil’s knack at hands”

  • “a great, feline, tawny shape whose pelt was barred with a savage geometry of bars the colour of burned wood. His domed, heavy head, so terrible he must hide it. How subtle the muscles, how profound the treat. The annihilating vehemence of his eyes, like twin suns”

Puss in Boots

  • “A tom, sirs, a ginger tom and proud of it. Proud of his fine, white shirtfront that dazzles harmoniously against his orange and tangerine tesselations”

  • “do you see these fine, high, shining leather boots of mine? A young cavalry officer made me the tribute of, first, one; then, after I celebrate his generosity…”

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Continued

Wolf-Alice

  • “nothing about her is human except that she is not a wolf; it is as if the fur she thought she wore had melted into her skin”

  • “his eyes see only appetite. These eyes open to devour the world in which he sees, nowhere, a reflection of himself, he passed through the mirror and now, henceforth, lives as if upon the other side of things”

  • “he carries on his frail shoulders a weird burden of fear; he is cast in the role of the corpse-eater, the body-snatcher who invades the last privacies of the dead. He is white as leprosy, with scrabbling fingernails, and nothing deters him. If you stuff a corpse with garlic, why, he only slavers at the treat: cadavre provencale.”

  • “she saw, with irritation, then amusement, how it mimicked every gesture of hers when she raised her forepaw to scratch herself or dragged her bum along the dusty carpet to rid herself of a slight discomfort in her hindquarters”

  • “his mirror faithfully reflects his bed but never the meagre shape within the disordered covers”

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Power

The Snow Child

  • "She was the child of his desire and the countess hated her". The challenge for power between the damsel in distress and the femme fatale.

  • 'The furs sprang off The Countess's shoulders and twined round the naked girl', Neither Countess nor child have the control which he possesses.

The Courtship of Mr Lyon

  • “the leonine apparition shook Beauty’s father until his teeth rattled and then dropped him sprawling on his knees while the spaniel, darting from the open door, danced around them, yapping distractedly, like a lady whose dinner party blows have been exchanged”

  • “I am the beast, and you must call me beast, while I call you, thief!”
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Continued

The Bloody Chamber

  • “he had loved other women before me”

  • “he had invited me to join this gallery of beautiful women”

  • “my husband liked me to wear my opal over my kid glove… as though it was proof positive I was his master’s wife”

  • “the pupper-master, open-mouthed, wide-eyed, impotent at the last, saw his dolls break free of their strings,”

The Tiger’s Bride

  • “my master’s sole desire is to see the pretty young lady unclothed nude without her dress and that only for the one time after which she will be returned to her father”

  • “-you must then”... “‘you’, said the valet ‘must’”... “when I saw how scared he was I might refuse, I nodded”

  • “he was far more frightened of me than I was of him”

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Gender

The Snow Child

  • “the Count and his wife”

  • “I wish I had a girl… as soon as he completed her description, there she stood”

  • 'The furs sprang off The Countess's shoulders and twined round the naked girl' - It personifies clothing and seems magical, Male dominance of clothing and unclothing to his desire.

The Courtship of Mr Lyon

  • “Miss Lamb, spotless, sacrificial” and “Mr Lyon”, vulnerable women, purity

  • “'Do not think she had no will of her own …”

  • “Mr and Mrs Lyon walk in the garden"

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Continued

The Bloody Chamber

  • “and so my purchased unwrapped his bargain. And, as at the opera, when I had first seen my flesh in his eyes, I was aghast to feel myself stirring”

  • “courage. When I thought of courage, I thought of my mother”

  • “she raised my father’s gun, took aim and put a single, irreproachable bullet through my husband’s head”

  • “You never saw such a wild thing as my mother” unconventional knight in shining armour”

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Continued

The Tiger’s Bride“my father lost me to the Beast at cards” - This expresses a sense of ownership and oppression of women.

  • “if you are so careless of your treasures you should expect them to be taken from you”

  • “my master’s sole desire is to see the pretty young lady unclothed nude without her dress and that only for the one time after which she will be returned to her father”

  • “the door swings open and out glides a soubrette from an operetta, with glossy, nut-brown curls, rosy cheeks, blue, rolling eyes; it takes me a moment to recognise her in her little cap, her white stockings, her frilled petticoats. She carries a looking glass in one hand and a powder puff in the other and there is a musical box where her heart should be; she tinkles as she rolls towards me on her tiny wheels” “take my clothes off, like a ballet girl? Is that all you want of me?”

  • ““my master’s sole desire is to see the pretty young lady unclothed nude without her dress and that only for the one time after which she will be returned to her father”

  • “The lamb must learn to run with the tigers”

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Continued

Puss in Boots

  • “a kitchen cat, a sleek, spry tabby whom I accost”

  • “poor, lonely lady, married so young to an old dodderer”

  • “I neatly land on all my fours and Tabs goes wild, huzzah!”

  • “oh this tabby one, sharp as a tack she is! I congratulate her with a few affectionate cuffs round the head and home again”

  • “so may all your wives, if you need them, be rich and pretty; and all your husbands, if you want them, be young and virile”

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Continued

The Erl-King

  • “he is the tender butcher who showed me how the price of flesh is love; skin the rabbit, he says! Off come all my clothes.”

  • “I had no wish to join the whistling congregation he kept in his cages although he looked after them very affectionately, gave them fresh water and fed them well”

  • “Then she will open all the ages and let the birds free; they will change back into young girls, every one, each with the crimson imprint of his love-bite on their throats”

The Company of Wolves

  • “the girl burst out laughing; she knew she was nobody’s meat. She laughed at him full in the face and she ripped off his shirt for him and flung it into the fire, in the fiery wake of her own discarded clothing”

  • “she will lay his fearful head on her lap and she will pick out the lice from his pelt and perhaps she will put the lice into her mouth and eat them, as he will bid her, as she would do in a savage marriage ceremony”

  • “Sweet and sound she sleeps in granny’s bed, between the paws of the tender wolf”

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Gothic

The Snow Child

  • “I wish I had a girl as red as blood”

The Courtship of Mr Lyon

  • “an unearthly, reflected pallor remained behind upon the winter’s landscape”

  • “chilled through, he pressed the latch of the gate and saw, with a pang, how, on the withered ghost of a tangle of thorns, there clung, still, the faded rag of a white rose”

  • “gate clanged loudly… that reverberating clang seemed final, emphatic, ominous as if the gate, now closed, barred all within it from the world outside the walled, wintry garden”

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Continued

The Bloody Chamber

  • “strange, heavy almost waxen face” “still as a pond iced thickly over” wears his face like a mask- gothic

  • “the faery solitude of the place; with its turrets of misty blue, its courtyard, its spiked gate, his castle that lay on the very bosom of the sea”

  • “a metal figure, hinged at the side, which I knew to be spiked on the inside and to have the name: the Iron maiden”

  • “absolute darkness. And, about me, the instruments of mutilation”

  • “this stark torture chamber were the naked rock; they gleamed as if they were sweating with fright”

  • “she was pierced, not by one but by a hundred spiked, this child of the land of the vampires who seemed so newly dead, so full of blood…”
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Continued

The Tiger’s Bride

  • “this dark, bitter city has caught up with us at last, flocking against the windowpanes to mock my father’s expectations of perpetual pleasure”

  • “the candles dropped hot, acrid gouts of wax on my bare shoulders”

  • “the chill damp of this place creeps into the stones, into your bones, into the spongy pith of the lungs; it insinuated itself with a shiver into our parlour”

  • “the featureless landscape, the sullen river sweating fog, the shorn, hunkering willows”

  • “it was a world in itself but a dead one, a burned-out planet”

The Erl-King

  • “there is a haunting sense of the imminent cessation of being; the year, in turning, turns in on itself. Introspective weather, a sickroom hush”

  • “the woods enclose”

  • “the wood swallows you up”

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Continued

The Lady of the House of Love

  • “depredations of rot and fungus”

  • “at the room’s four corners are funerary urns and bowls which emit slumbrous, pungent fumes of incense”

  • “this being, rooted in change and time, is about collide with the timeless Gothic eternity of the vampires, for whom all is it has always been and will be, whose cards always fall in the same pattern”

  • “he was surprised to find how ruinous the interior of the house was - cobwebs, worm-eaten beams, crumbling plaster”

  • “he gently takes her hand away from her and dabs the blood with his own handkerchief, but still it spurts out. And so he puts his mouth to the wound. He will kiss it better for her, as her mother, had she lived, would have done”

The Werewolf

  • “they have cold weather, they have cold hearts”

The Company of Wolves“it was a white night of moon and snow; the blizzard whirled round the gaunt, grey beasts who squatted on their haunches”

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