The Bloody Chamber

The story's in The Bloody Chamber

  • Created by: Charlie
  • Created on: 29-04-12 12:34

"The Bloody Chamber"

Summarised plot: A young girl discovers that her husband kills his wives. When he finds out that she knows, he is very angry and wants to kill her too. She is then saved by her mother.

Original Tale: BlueBeard.

Narrative Perspective: It is mainly first person, however second person does appear ocassionally (pages 16 + 17).

Genre: Contains fairytale elements, as well as gothic-horror elements.

Setting/Location: In the Marquis' castle in France.

Characterisation: Heroine - a poor 17 year old pianist who marries a Marquis.

The Marquis - a French nobleman who takes plasure in challenging his wives to disobey him and then murdering them.

Jean-Yves - A kind blind piano tuner who helps the heroine escape from the Marquis and later marries her.

Themes: Curiosity, innocence, naivety.

Symbols: Death, torture chamber, bloody chamber.

Intertextual References: Dracula (page 24)

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"The Courtship of Mr Lyon"

Summarised plot: Man gets lost in the woods and goes to the Beast for help. He gives him a rose in return for his daughter. Daughter lives with him for a bit then leaves him for the Winter, promising him that she will return. When she doesn't return, Beast begins to die. Then she finally returns and saves him with a kiss, transforming him.

Original Tale: Beauty and the Beast.

Narrative Perspective: Mostly third person (omniscient), some first person at the start.

Genre: Fairytale, gothic, romance.

Setting/Location: Isolated house in the countryside, around London, a bisthe "perfect palladian palace".

Characterisation: The Beast/Mr Lyon - starts shy, tries to humanize himself

Beauty - starts shy, naive and curious, matures throughout.

Themes: Curiosity, innocence, objectification of women.

Symbols: Roses (page 44), seasons, bloody chamber (beast's room), liminal experience, mirrors.

Intertextual References: Alice in Wonderland (page 45).

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"The Tigers Bride"

Summarised plot: Father loses his daughter to the beast in a game of cards. She is taken to his castle and she ignores beast's requests. Eventually he reveals himself as an animal, she likes this and turns into an animal too.

Original Tale: Beauty and the Beast

Narrative Perspective: Mostly first person. Cases of extrenal indirect reported speech (pages 62 + 74 "gobble you up").

Genre: Fairytale, gothic "black as a herse", magivcal realism (talking monkey).

Setting/Location: Italy in a house.

Characterisation: Beast - a tiger disguised as a man

Heroine - Russian woman. At the end she turns into a tiger when the beast licks off her skin.

Themes: Virginity,innocence, pretence, reality.

Symbols: Mirrors, roses, nakedness.

Intertextual References: Beauty and the Beast.

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Summarised plot: Puss agrees to work for an officer, who falls in love with a young woman married to a rich man. Puss brings them together through an arranged murder. Happy ending.

Original Tale: Puss-in-Boots.

Narrative Perspective: Puss switches between 1st and 3rd person, still talking about himself in both. Male narrative throughout.

Genre: Commedia de l'arte, romance, fairytale.

Setting/Location: Italy.

Characterisation: Puss - given a voice, behaves as if he's human (conceited).

Woman - not as innocent as she seems.

Themes: Humour, disguise, wealth, aristocracy.

Symbols: Boots (clothing).

Intertextual References: Romeo and Juliet (singing to her on a balcony, wants to be with her when he can't).

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"The Erl-King"

Summarised plot: Girl wonders in the forset. She comes across a man known as the "erl-king". He keeps cgaed birds and treats them well. He seduces her. She realises that he is trying to turn her into a bird too and kills him with her hair.

Original Tale: German poem called "The Erl-King".

Narrative Perspective: Constantly switches.

Genre: Fairytale, gothic.

Setting/Location: Woodland, his house.

Characterisation: Erl-King - described as nature. Lures women with a birdcall.

Themes: Music, objectification of women, nature.

Symbols: The cages, hair, the fiddle. 

Intertextual References:

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"The Snow Child"

Summarised plot: Count and Countess wish for a child. She comes and the Countess hates her. She is killed by a thorn, then ***** by the Count.

Original Tale: Snow White.

Narrative Perspective: The third person narrative is used.

Genre: Fairytale, gothic, horror.

Setting/Location: Midwinter, snowy wood, affluent area.

Characterisation: Countess - female figure named as the Counts 'wife'

Girl - the Count's sexual desire.

Themes: Innocence, hate, envy, death, horror, objectification of women.

Symbols: Blood, raven, snow, clothes.

Intertextual References: Sleeping beauty (when she pricks her finger) and The Raven - Edgar Allen Poe.

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"The Lady of the House of Love"

Summarised plot:  Vampire in Castle, young soldier arrives and ends her existence, she turns human then dies. Soldier returns to war.

Original Tale: Isn't one.

Narrative Perspective: Mostly 3rd. 1st - page 119, occassionally 2nd. 

Genre: Fairytale, gothic, romantic.

Setting/Location: Gothic castle, deserted town in middle Europe.

Characterisation: Vampire - predator, shows human qualities.

Man - very practical.

Themes: Love, death, fate, seduction.

Symbols: Tarot cards.

Intertextual References: Jack and the Beanstalk (page 111 + 112), Sleeping Beauty, Great Expectations.

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"The Werewolf"

Summarised plot: A peasant sends daughter to visit her grandmother, she gives her a knife. Wolf approaches her and she defends herself by cutting off his paw. She arrives at her grandmother's house and holds the paw up to her grandmother, it turns into her hand. The grandmother is stoned to death.

Original Tale: Little Red Riding Hood.

Narrative Perspective: 3rd person narrator. Page 127 - warning.

Genre: Fairytale, gothic.

Setting/Location: Country, nothern "cold weather", Germany.

Characterisation: Girl - very sure of herself, brave, fearless.

Grandma - animalistic (top of page 128).

Themes: Bravery, superstition, reality vs. myth.

Symbols: Winter, death, knife.

Intertextual References: Little Red Riding Hood.

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"The Company of Wolves"

Summarised plot: Pack of hungry wolves in the forest. Girl goes to visit her grandmother and she meets a man on her way, who races her to her grandmothers for a kiss. When she arrives, the wolf had already been there and eaten her grandmother. Girl then sleeps with the wolf.

Original Tale: Little Red Riding Hood.

Narrative Perspective: 3rd person narrator.

Genre: Fairytale, gothic.

Setting/Location: Midwinter, woods, grandmother's house.

Characterisation: Child - not like other children because she is sheltered. Seduces the wolf at the end.

Wolf - Tries to eat the girl at the end but is instead seduced by her.

Themes: Bloody chamber, ***********, virginity.


Intertextual References:

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"Wolf Alice"

Summarised plot: Girl raised by wolves. Meets a Duke. Goes through menstruation. Duke gets injured and Alice licks his wounds. Live together.

Original Tale: Little Red Riding Hood, Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There.

Narrative Perspective: Third person narrative.

Genre: Fairytale, horror, gothic.

Setting/Location: Town.

Characterisation: Girl - sent to live with the Duke.

Duke -  Werewolf who employs girl as a maid.

Themes: Bloody Chamber (duke's castle), liminal experience.

Symbols: Mirrors.

Intertextual References:

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This is quite helpful to see the stories summarized and with little points on themes and what fairytale they originated from. Thank you! :)



This is great for quick revision of all the stories, thanks!



Some spelling mistakes, but otherwise great notes.

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