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The Bloody Chamber Angela Carter

The Were-Wolf
Based on Little Red Riding Hood. Story of inter-generational female rivalry. Wolf not representation of male sexuality/patriarchal tyranny embodiment of preceding generation of mothers. Suggests man not womans only enemy. Threat= female BUT defeated. Grandmother-wolf: fears, younger, beautiful generation of women. Shape-shifting witch, stoned to death (masculine revenge for adultery.) Girl: perpetuates idea that women are rivals + try destroy each other. Perspective on female experience as socially constructed expectations that succeeding generation has to acknowledge and accept. Ending suggests this generations women can benefit from ancestors wealth of experience without inheriting dangerous shape-shifting tendencies dont have to pretend to be what they arent. Break stereotypical feminine role/mould further feminine rights/power. A hand toughened with work and freckled with old age girl learns can't trust/respect women of previous generations who have taken on role created by men. Matriarch- crone old woman- mirror image of tyrannical patriarch. She prosperedsuggests each generation has to free itself from tyranny of patriarchal society + women whose identity/nature warped by men (monstrous.) Knowledge= womans key to survival. BUT girls knowledge = superstitions/timeworn warnings. Girl contrasts Red, not helpless- mountaineers child. (Inverted power relationship.) Narrator separates us from girl- rather condescending towards girl/ townspeople, treats with bemused curiosity of naturalist. Implies beliefs= nave/ignorant to these upland woodsmen, the devil is as real as you or I. We dont trust /pity girl so dont have to hate werewolf. Pity wolf- lonely, tormented half-creature, no self-control (appetite.) Dont valorise or rebuke heroine- ferocious as wolf. Devil in whatever form are the instutionalised projection of our fears and desires (Bacchilega)- we fear own wrong doing so create monsters- external projections of it. Evil outside rather than inside ourselves. Villagers/girl subscribe to scapegoating hunting witches implicates them (+ us) as violent. Links cruel behaviours as characteristic of people with simplistic beliefs. Crude icon of the virgin-symbolises dogmatism/limited understanding. Fairy tale perceptions of right+wrong uprooted resembles real life (more than allegory.) Forced to criticise werewolf AND townspeople + question ourselves- do we subscribe to similar delusions of moral clarity.

The Company of Wolves Narrative technique- delays deployment of plot/character introductions- describes danger of wolves. Ominous note of warning, hints at other fantastical dangers, the wolf may be more than he seems. 2 tales=preface Child has been too much loved ever to feel scared protected from lifes harsh realities. Innocence- endangers + saves girl- trusts hunter but empathetically understands his torment. Werewolf + Grandma separate- wolf + child allegory of heterosexual relationships. Child is irreverent- doesnt care about benevolent Grandmas death women are antagonists. Dont understand each other. Grandmas bones clatter as warning to not to marry wolf; shes well versed in evil intentions of werewolves. Girl understands by claiming her desires, becomes immune to harm. Narrator believes fervently werewolves= evil addresses reader you to convince. Howl is in itself a murdering. Dissuades from pitying werewolves BUT transforming= condemnation for half-beings. The beasts would love to be less beastly if only they knew how. Childs pity moves her to join werewolves. Heroine=nave BUT wears sexual desire on sleeve. Cape, blood on snow= sexual readiness. (Red symbolises menstrual + virginity blood.) Red riding hood allusion draws on significance of blood as physical evidence of passing from girl to women. Colour of sacrifices- heroines world is male dominated, women surrender to men in acts of sex+marriage. Girl is cloaked (hymen) with protection of the invisible pentacle of her own virginity prevents her knowing/experiencing too much- able to embrace werewolfs traditions +literally embrace wolf. Mother allows to make journey; father wouldnt have- suggests men prefer girls not to become women, kept in dependent position (infantilising them) maintain patriarchal authority. Shes sexually mature but a virgin- lends her ignorance + power (like soldier Lady of House of Love.) She cannot shiver- fear supernatural evil- as doesnt know about/believe in. Virginity-welled up force, overwhelms potential devourers. Wolf will devourer her BUT she uses human pity + immense sexual power to transform act of devouring into sexual one. Power of ignorance/virginity- she survives. Nakedness of man, genital size= menacing/deadly. Granny cant be saved (like in original tale)- anything not of use is burned/hidden. Language refrains of original tale (awed recognition of size of bodily features) interspersed with girls realisation of danger. STILL feels pity for wolves outside in cold. She has no use for fear. Heroine strips/gives kiss freely- not sacrificing self as she [knows] that she [is] nobodys meat by acting out sexual desires, offers herself as flesh, not meat. Sacrificial victim belongs to deity/person whose honour ceremony is given. Women who give themselves to men are objects already, owned by men. Heroine claims flesh and sexual desire as her own- therefore gives self to wolf and also takes of him. Seizes control of situation, burns wolfs clothes (no longer threat). Masculinity= more dangerous/deadly than beasts. Dangerous nature domesticated, merely a tender wolf. Meat-feminist perspective on representation of women in media as object of flesh for male consumption. Declaration of defiance- women should refuse to accept allotted role of passive victim. Burning of clothes- removes implements of objectification/subjugation- ALSO rejects virginal naivety for sexual enlightenment. Renounces townsperson identity of categorical superiority to beasts. Becomes one with werewolf.

Undressing- relate to beast in themselves (sexual desire) and beast to who theyre betrothed (Tigers Bride.) Take initiative- re-born, self-owning sexual beings. Re-birth- wolfs transformation compared to birth of Christ (maybe connected with God not Devil.) Romantic notion of locating divine in nature, even parts not traditionally beautiful. Carter says we are all part beast- only authentically ourselves or Christian ideal when we claim our bestial desires. HOWEVER unlikely Carter saying Jesus=werewolf. The werewolves birthday being Christmas refers to natural solstice (change in daylight hours)- draws on mystic tradition/belief in solstices when magic/transformations arise- BOTH= image of redemption of man through realising animal nature. Defiance+ ingenuity of girl= turns tables on attacker, defined by laughter. Wise child laughs full in the face of werewolf- seen to be strong enough to cope with any situation- enjoys moment of power. Women can have relationship with men on own terms- take charge of destiny. Savage marriage ceremony = prelude to montage of images conveying idea of future peace/prosperity- happily ever after promised in fairy tales yet rarely glimpsed in reality. All silent, all still- echoes carol silent night- concludes with hopeful+ powerful metaphor of reconciliation.

Wolf-Alice Combine werewolf mythology + legends of feral children raised by wolves (e.g. Victor dAveryron.) Opposite from other heroines- begins as de facto beast + becomes human. Combine girl +wolf- hence title characters hyphenated name. Antithesis of well-pampered, wellbehaved, sheltered woman (without society to inform how to behave.) Behaves like wolf, no awareness of being human- sees world in undeveloped, (in some sense) inhuman way. Human and inhuman at same time-questions what defines humanity. Not physicality as wolf-Alice= human body. Things that distinguish humans from animals: knowledge of morality, ability to feel shame-wear clothing, belief that were more important/masters of, our surroundings. All latent in Wolf-Alice- but she cant realise them until in presence of human things: mirror, house, dress. Reminder: we are beasts without our culture. McCrone says shes mentally naked + physically naked- no humans to shape her thinking. Bacchielga says shes a new eve =-retains authenticity of being that which was lost on humans since leaving Garden of Eden. Through undisturbed experienceaudience sees world objectively + anew. Narrator- implicated in rejection of child, hides behind collective personal pronoun we. Child= other to narrator. Child cannot speak like we do; audience invited to view from narrators angle. No language, perception of time- narrator sees as assets of human identity. Duke: nothing can harm him since he ceased to cast an image in the mirror- conflates werewolf+ vampire myths, links to Dracula. Stoker combined Eastern European folklore of werewolves/vampires to create Count- added inability to cast a reflection (characteristic not found in earlier Vampires.) Duke regards self both less and more than a man even though cant see himself. Namesake, Alice-Carrolls Through the looking glass and What Alice Found Therestrength (like Alice)= childish curiosity, no powers, but steps through glass by just wondering whats on other side- gains knowledge. Similarly- Wolf-Alice enlightenment stems from pure wonder at her own reflection. Female maturation- child learns sense of time through physical connection to cycles of moon + menstrual period. Menstruation- causes her to experience time + shame. Discovery of reflection- part of discovery of personal identity. Sees herself within it. Learning imagination process- ability to understand form/content of images (human characteristic.) Her perspective shifts from animal objectivity to human subjectivity. Human on the inside=inspired to look human on outside by wearing clothes. Gains control over mirror image, creates self-image and helps Duke regain his image. Mirror= distinguisher of human, beast, half-being (humans recognise image.) WolfAlice trapped in liminal existence, between human+ beast until this recognition. This draws her from timeless, undefined beasts existence into calculated human experience. Mirror almost character -draws on Snow White mirror is rational, impartial recording of girls image + reflects as vivid as real like itself Dukes face- image of surrender, masculine identity brought into being by music/sensuous touch of girls instrument of language = happy ending. Woman creates image of man, to know him as she has come to know herself. Duke is half-beast-half-wolf and trapped between physical + metaphysical worlds An aborted transformation, an incomplete mystery. Real enough to kill, but not real enough for a reflection (as if dead.)

Mirror sees Alice go from beast to human and Duke from half-being to being. WolfAlice pities Duke, realises hes imperfect- transforms tormented half-being by kindness alone. Her pity= function of animal side- humans want to kill Duke, dont understand his ravenousness + torment. Wolf-Alice becomes more human but regains her animal kindness to save Duke. Name doesnt change- still caught between worlds. Mirror reflects the face of the Duke is this human or wolf? Both characters left in liminal ambiguity- suggest authentic living requires a balance of humanity and beastliness. Feminism- question over control of representation of men/women in media- principle of material outlook: in order to appear to be something over sustained time, its necessary to be- important to know who we are/what were becoming. Rational glass= important: its art, literature, life: warts and all. Eponymous character= device to explore idea of natural impulses in relation to stereotypes such as maternal instinct. Stripped of inhibitions of civilisation- finds own to grow into role- part daughter, part love, part mother- no clear distinction. Her pitiful ministrations to Dukes wounds not conducted with civilised behaviour. Marriage= major part of civilised world, but Wolf-Alice lives outside norms- so leads Duke into realisation of identity beyond traditional values of patriarchy. New realignment of male/female relationships can only be brought into being by herimplies recognition that idealisation of marriage as binding, life-contract= difficult to sustain.

The Lady of the House of Love.

Gothic romance, based on Sleeping Beauty- but distorted. Passive female replace by vampire woman- preys on men. Incorporates vampire legends + Jack + the Beanstalk. Test cluttered with intertextual allusions to Dracula. Seen as allegory for triumph of reason over unreason. Countess= unreason. Reason states death is definite but she defies law- (un-dead.) Rational, unimaginative males destroys the irrational fantastic female. Lives in dark- represents ambiguity/mystery. Referred as Juliets tomb- Juliet- alive in guise of death, shes dead in guise of life. Light kills vampires- bodies disintegrate BUT light also kills, as exposes them as impossibilities. Dont only repel light but enlightenment. Irrational existence= great power BUT condemns to misery. Trapped in unasked-for, irrevocable destiny- enjoys caging/controlling lark as shes caged herself, but cannot free herself from illogical fate like lark. Its song mirror own imprisonment in her unnaturally preserved beauty. Vampire= malevolent sexual presence, her army of shadows turns good into bad. Charm of sexuality reversed- Prince draws Beauty to him through physicality; Boy is protected from beautiful Vampire by innocent chivalry. Soldier= reason. No belief in supernatural (doesnt shiver.) He rides bicyclesymbolises human reason at work: functions on basis of human laws, no power beyond their stipulations. By refusing to give governess bicycle, symbolically denies a belief in irrational. Refuses to be separated from bike, from reason. Boy dismisses ghost stories as fancies- refusal to participate in imaginary terrors protects from danger- hes no child Masculinity= rejection of childhood/ imaginationpatriarchal view of world. Tweed jacket= synonymous with English aristocracy. Soldier embodies the light of reason- his face blinds countess so wears glasses. Light floods room at end-symbolically, reason invades realm of unreason showing to be no more than illusion (appears false/chintzy.) Countess: I was only an invention of the darkness- transforms impossible creature to creature of reason, human. Succumbs to definiteness of death. Soldier takes rose to barracks- act of unreason (restoring life)-suggests despite reasons triumph unreason has small place in life. Tarot cards correct prediction gives validity to unreasonable art. Abandoned village- sense of unease. Carter balances subtlety+ vindictiveness of vampire with hint she cannot help herself- helplessly sleepwalking eternity, chief emotion=sadness. Vampire = bony, representing death (in Renaissance art.) Skeleton looks masculine, predatory figure- vampire, in subsuming role of male, preserving her beauty at cost of becoming what threatened her. Central to Countesss torment: desire in absence of sex- devoid of sexual desire (as dead), sole lust for blood. However hard she tries to think of any other, she only knows one kind of consummation. She lures soldier to bedchamber- he misinterprets prey as a sexual advance. She doesnt understand sexual desire: she dies virgin (rose=vagina.) Idea of vagina dentata (toothed) by describing roses thorns as fangs. Not able to kiss, only kill with her mouth and unable to experience pleasure from her thorned vagina. Rose= dead, like countess + chance to experience love/sex. Roses bloom over buried victims- illogically decadent, beautiful, fragrant- echoing her

physical perfection. They mock countesss sexless existence within mansion (prison.) Only when dead can palace be House of Love- full of light/potential. Giants voice impertinently interrupts narrative, booms out cannibalistic desires. Narrator invokes Sleeping Beauty and Jack and Beanstalk underscoring how enlightenment/death are inseparable for countess. Reminded of kiss to awaken sleeping beauty and countess being like giant- natural antagonist of mankind. Countess cannot help but want to destroy man who can save her. Countess= obscenely beautiful, a symptom of her disorder. No flaw, falsely human- a mask, only when dead does she look fully human. Reversal of storys end= love cant survive in Countess tormented world. Human= suffer feelings for others. (Dies; Beauty regains health.) Boy= Jack the giant killer+ prince rescuing princess- he is love and death. His actions mimic prince who hacks through jungle of roses- imagery is inverted- they arent a barrier, they intoxicate with heavy scent + symbol of romantic love, invite/welcome hero in to her lair. Protagonist taken from exterior of immense, rambling ruin to private chamber. Intends to suck boys blood, instead tastes her own- spilling blood= loss of virginity/menstruation- Countess coming of age as well as getting brief sexual contact. Her enlightenment is brief she cannot survive world of reason: the end of exile is the end of being. Rescue comes in form of death- love of boy restores true age/humanity. He comforts her when she cuts self- Carter compares to mother figure, excluding characters gender to make a point about perceived parenting roles, tries to kiss it better. Countess lack of sexual understanding/experience= weakness. For soldier, virginity, sexual naivety= strength, because untapped- he is more than he knows- kiss turns her human; his reason overwhelms unreason. He destroys her with reason but redeems part of her, in rose, illogically, with love and unreason. Ultimate sentence- reminds that soldier is human despite power- exemplified reason links with mortality- he will be killed in war (average life expectancy measured in months.) Signalled soldiers doom recognising special glamour of those prevented growing old by war. Allure of youth/beauty shared by man + vampire. She becomes old and dies, he will never grow old. Rose in its corrupt, brilliant, baleful, splendour symbolises his imminent deathsuggests no matter how bizarre our fantasies of death our, the real world of men is horrible beyond scope of imagination. Not just ominous end, as soldier in WW1 - represents opportunity for righteousness, change, progress. Carter includes most clichs of spooky interiors, ruinous mansion, in keeping with gothic eternity of vampire legends Gothic location- labyrinth- winding stairs. Re-invents Charles Dickens character, Miss Havisham, Great Expectations who jilted on wedding day + shuts out light, rots in decay of wedding feast. Worm-eatenatmosphere of death/decay (=misapprehension worms eat body- culturally repealing images.) Carter shows hunter + victim= interchangeable roles.

The Bloody Chamber Based on Blue Beard Perrault. Uses linguistic style of erotic literature (: by men about sexual awakening of womenvoyeuristic entertainment.) Delicious ecstasy, burning cheek, pounding. heartlinked to mockery of clichd mechanical phallic imagery- trains great pistons ceaselessly thrusting. Narrator- introduces experience as sequence of remembered moments- opens with flashback through linked memories- though generally chronological. Narrator= detached perspective distances reader from immediacy of characters experiences. Implies shes changed since events. Journey=metaphor: emotional/physical- leaves home + enters adult world. Destination= the unguessable country of marriage reminiscent of Hamlets undiscovered country (journey of life to death.) Intertextual echo- connects sex, marriage, death. Journey is crafted into a waking dream of a unique and strange location. Simile for day break, a cool dream, developed through sequence of reference to narrators blurred perception of surroundings and sense that boundaries and limits are not easily defined in this unfamiliar place. Melting sea and sky- described as if they are hazy images captured in landscape art through use of pastel colours. Misty style of such art is soft, gentle, unfocused. Carter links liquidity of this image of landscape to the deliquescent harmonies she plays on piano- Debussys music= meditative, tranquil, calm, unthreatening- symbolism of Debussy as a romantic, gentle depiction of the daydream of love= ironic reminder of how far her reverie is removed from the reality of the Marquis. Use of double negatives no room, no corridor that did not rustle with the sound of the sea- emphasises way landscape seems to melt into interior while hinting that no part of the castle offers any kind of peace or tranquillity. When bride reaches destination, narrative still moves reader along on journey, through landscape and mysterious, amphibious castle and the personal interior landscape of the brides psychological state. Girl= creature of sensations, delights in descriptions of impeccable linen of the pillow; he stain nightdress supple as a garment of heavy water. Attracted to Marquis disturbing absolute absence of light in his eyes and that his face seemed. like a mask. Foster mother brings to mind role of wicked stepmother in traditional fairytales. Bedroom- decorated with gothic gargoyles; dark colours scheme of blood red, black wood and gold leaf. Ambiguity in henceforth, a maid would deal with everythingrecognition that servants will do work/ foreshadows way female characters have to take control of own destinies in order to avoid being merely servants of the patriarch. Still as a pond iced thickly over- simile evokes coldness of characters nature. Ring= symbol of marriage. Female life roles (mother/daughter/wife) interwoven in gold band- symbolises ownership of woman + price agreed between mother and Marquis. Pang of loss for youth/freedom- ring marks end of childhood and separation from mother- she prepares to be mother herself.

Carter positions reader so aware of/question gender stereotypes at work (but not

didactic) in typical rite of passage account. Works within conventions of narrative form devised by men to depict women in limited ways- Carter simultaneously adopts+ subverts genre of erotic lit. Mother= adventurous and indomitable role reversal: strong women. Male= mysterious abstraction (a masculine pronoun)- identity unfolds slowly. Associated with symbols of wealth. Physical form as kiss, rasp of beard. Opulent male scent builds identity: courtship= lion stalking prey. Dark mane-bestial. Face= perfectly smooth mask- never fully revealed. Reader comes to know Marquis through process of revelation of his character to narrator- but we arent limited by her naivety in appraisal of his nature. Dangerous! Combines inherited wealth/position of aristocrat with power of bourgeois financier. (Title references to Marquis de Sade selfish sexual predator- represents indulgence.) Marquis= lily- funeral flower- death; his calm detachment/composure = inhuman; gravity in his desire-links to impact of lilies overpowering, heavy perfume on senses. Carter equates social position/wealth with corruption. (1970s- resentment for privilege inherited not earned.) Ideal= Individual empowerment- what women choose to be more important than who fathers were- aristocratic father figure resembles everything about patriarchal society that limits control in womens lives. Marquis represents past, patriarchy, dying social order: synonymous with death/decay. Narrator foreshadows with seemingly innocent remarks. Narrator= innocent/naveexplains willingness to expose self to danger- thrill/excitement taking risks (in becoming adult) Marquis=mysterious appealing risk/danger of unknown. Character is a submissive woman- Carter explores attraction of dominance as part of the sexual dynamic of human relationships, the extent of which shes a willing victim is delineated by Carter- she doesnt know what shes dealing with despite claim shes innocent but not nave. Gift- choker of rubies bright as arterial blood emphasises luxurious defiance. Marquis passivity and inscrutability of expression gives way to weary appetite when he approaches his familiar treat and he smiles upon examining her- rare movement of his lips (incapable of expressing human feeling.) Old, monocled lecher controlling this most pornographic of all confrontations. Bride is trembling + blushing- clich honeymoon behaviour- but embarrassment of excitement of desire (sexual arousal.) Links marriage to prostitution- formal disrobing of the bride, a ritual from the brothel heightens unease- part of his art. Bought with a handful of coloured stones and the pelts of dead beasts- marriage=licensed prostitution (only difference is haggling over price of commodity+ virginity- used up in moment her spent body.) Girl knows shes a bargain but is aroused by treatment. Postponement of consummation= sadism in Marquis. Narrators statement he closed my legs like a book shocks not just because the voyeurism of the Marquis is disturbing in itself, but also links her to his collection of pornographic texts- she is no more than a text to be read/consumed at his pleasure. She is his object of pleasure, nothing more. Imagery of violence emphasised by blunt language/ coarse slang- cunt and creative literary descriptions: split fig. Little Red Riding Hood refrain intrudes narrative at girls protest of consummation in broad daylight- reminds of dangers of adult world- Marquis= wolf. Mirrors amplify the visual opportunities to enhance his voyeuristic exploitation of his bride- mirrors embody male gaze objectification of women. She only glimpses sight

of truth and herself in gilded mirrors And I saw myself, suddenly, as he saw me. In mirrors around room she becomes multitude of girls, a harem for him to enjoyreports consummation through reflections in mirrors, as if only exists in Marquis frame of vision. Sex+ death- Marquis makes her wear necklace as shes impaled. Violence=striking, alludes to vampirism (Dracula-Vlad the Impaler.) Narrators detached account of consummation= chilling. One sided struggle; she hears but doesnt participate in climax; her participation recalled as if hardly there, a passive victim of his desire. I have bled-suggests shes suffered assault of his desire as wounding experience- no emotional resonance, feeling, pleasure. Numbness of narration reflects impact of selfish indulgence of male desire (similar to rape account.) Plays with conventions of marriage: Christians see marriage as sacred union, sex= sacred (worship.) Marquis shriek and blaspheme =savage, demonic in passion, perverting supposed natural order narrator expected. Links marriage bed + death- lilies turn room into embalming parlour. Marriage= Death: (metaphorically) termination of womans freedom of action, independencedeath of self. (Literally) through domestic drudgery, violence, childbirth perils. Marriage= moral and literal equivalent of death. Carter challenges expectation of male control in marriage. Emphasis on age gap- little girl- associates child abuse with their relationship. Narrator= uncertain about own desire, afraid Marquis recognises her rare talent for corruption concealed by innocence. Girl possesses key- reminiscent of Adam and Eve in Garden of Eden. Man seen as godlike, providing paradise on Earth, placing limits on knowledge. Women= Evesuccumbing to temptation/pursuing knowledge. Status of myth of mans expulsion from Eden is challenged- plays with analogy as narrative device- invites reader to consider resonances of situation without fastening analogy to strict structure/meaning. I only did what I knew I would connects her to guilty Eve. Jean shares her fate- almost exact analogy of biblical Adam who shares Eves punishment. Phone call away= Marquis deliberately setting test he hopes/expects her to fail, entices wife to disobey but doesnt absolve her of responsibility-she chooses to disobey = crux of matter which narrator becomes entangled. Narrator-ambivalent about Marquis departure-longs for man who disgusts her-not sexually fulfilled so enthralled by possibility of sexual delight hinted. (But sexual pleasure hes referring to is his own, not hers.) Marquis- sex is an act performed on another body, not something shared- eh rejects prey as soon as evidence of mature independent sexuality. Patriarch= child abuser- deepest, darkest betrayal of fathers role Marquis cigar a warm fug of Havana is linked to little girl memoires of her father before he kissed and left me. Piano tuned= turning point- represents girl rediscovering herself as precursor to her discovering a more worthy male companion. Far more at ease in old clothes playing piano-costume of a student-connotations of willingness to learn, innocence, ignorance, dedication to discover- pertinent to her situation. Piano tuner opposite to Marquis- hes blind, without the male gaze (1970s feminist notion)-symbol of weakness + non-threatening relationship not based on selfish (visual) gratification of the man alone- recycling stereotypical gendered views: men=visual, women=tactile. Isolation-due to new rank- power structures not just gender determined- hints at arbitrary, unsatisfactory, selfish nature of undisputable authority earned by narrator through marriage- the dead waste of time = boredom= rediscovers keys.

Girl suspects he must have a great deal to conceal if he takes such pains to hide itresonates with readers interest in girls search of Marquis office. Marquis Romanian Countess- Carmilla- name recalls gothic tale of lesbian vampires. Girl accidentally finds key- we question psychological veracity of characterisation but superfluous as characters merely vehicle for ideas-not depiction of reality. Girl travel to darkest core of mans castle to discover his inner identity. Corridor= Gothic. Chamber= enclosed, dark, lit only by flickering flame, creates shadowy images of half-glimpsed abuse of women. Passage leads down, beneath castle- connotation of mythological underworld of dead. Moment of discovery of subterranean privacy drawn out- narrator has obligatory pause of trepidation. Break in narrative prolongs moment further- makes us speculate mysterious room at literary level + a deeper reading of what room represents in Carters inventive view of world. Chamber=love/sex linked with death. Horror evoked by mutilation, annihilation. BUT Carter suggests the women enjoyed it- disquieting. The dead lips smiled (sadomasochism) disturbing. Countess- penetrated by multiple spikes links with Marquis impaling of wife earlier. Opal ring- highlights to narrator shes next in line- Girl connects Marquis + God, as identical omniscient presences seeing her trespassing- captures her vulnerability/guilt Slams door of hell- gothic- place=her destiny ordained by Marquis- she sees self as sinner in need of salvation. Shame + redemption to keep my hands clean- recalls Pontius Pilate- washed his hands to reject personal guilt. Bloody Chamber symbolises murderous heart of man, inimical, hostile to womenwhere dark desires, + sex+death are aligned. Extends argument that men want to own possess women utterly. To take life= ultimate act of power over human (death= ultimate form of submission.) Dark+ Disturbing- victims compliance does not excuse aggressor. ALSO symbolises- female identity, the womb itself, a wider metaphor of female embodiment of life. In entering chamber, woman comes to know fate as woman through seeing fates of others. Distorted form of fear of maternity (associated with traditional fairy tales). Fear based on real history + dangers involved in child bearingpossible death through pregnancy. (His sword is sharp as childbirth.) Girl first encounters picture of Saint Cecilia on escape: patron saint of music, Christian martyr, beheaded- foreshadows narrators fate (Carter teases- keeps narrator ignorant of her story.) Girl has journeyed from Paris + (metaphorically) back in time, to medieval/feudal society existing only to serve whims of a capricious master. Symbolic protection from evil- through magic of her music a pentacle (pagan symbol against demons.) Does bring protection in a sense- draws arrival of blind piano-tuner. His gentle manner is antithesis of Marquis cruelty. Name- Jean-Yves, resembles female name to English readers, unmasculine- androgynous (Greek for man/woman)- a man without threatening aspects of typical masculine traits, exhibits more feminine virtues: tolerance, musicality, tenderness, courage, submission. Bloodstain on key- inversion of reference to it being sign of virtue/innocence- here it takes on more ominous association with guilt/evidence of wrongdoing. Oxymorons sombre delirium + guilty joy encapsulates contradictory shifts/changes in his mood as he understands shes sinned. Marquis prepares the last rites confirms early clues of fate (e.g. reference to decapitation in French revolution, red choker, Saint Cecilia.) Carter- uses name-dropping to communicate in shorthand wealth of info about characters attitudes/values.

Carter avoids clich/patronising term maternal telepathy for female intuition. Feminist reinvention of the hero as a maternal icon, triumphs with her single, irreproachable bullet- show economy/moral superiority. End with quiet life- Narrator still bears mark of shame- not just shame from being tricked/trapped by Marquis, but ashamed that she wasnt completely unwilling victim of his desires- suggests victims of abuse are in some way, complicit (she experiences strange, impersonal arousal.). Her recognition of being aroused despite being repulsed is the stain she associates with the Marquis through symbol of lily pollen and the mark left on forehead (indelible evidence of damaging experience.) Rejects notion of women as victims of patriarchy as merely a revised form of passive role adopted by women under influence of patriarchal conventions. Carter combines fairy-tale form with erotic literature + takes models from female archetypes of female passivity and aggressive male sexuality- wants to confront readers with mysteries avoided by other fairy tale interpretations. Carter believes in interpreting the world to learn to cope with it.