The Bloody Chamber BAND 6: AO2 Exploration and analysis of key features of form and structure with perceptive evaluation of how they shape meanings. Learning ObjectiveHow do the conventions of Fairy Tales inform our understanding of this story? Learning Outcome: A clear understanding of the conventions of fairy stories and how they are used by Carter within her writing.
The Bloody Chamber ‘The Bloody Chamber is often – wrongly – described as a group of traditional fairy tales given a subversive feminist twist. In fact these are new stories, not retellings. As Carter made clear, ‘My intention was not to do “versions” or, as the American edition of the book said, horribly, “adult” fairy tales, but to extract the latent content from the traditional stories and use it as the beginning of new stories.’ - Helen Simpson, Introduction to ‘The Bloody Chamber’.
Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber • As we study The Bloody Chamber for the Elements of Gothic Genre exam we will be exploring: • The symbolism Carter uses to express her ideas e.g. Colour, objects, religion... • The manipulations of the traditional character/gender roles e.g. Are the women helpless/strong? Are the males weak/sex crazed? Are old people foolish? • The vivid images and description used. • How the ending of the stories are similar/different to fairy tales.
What are the conventions of Fairy Tales?
Binary Opposites: Good / Evil Rich / Poor Dark / Light Originally adults were the intended audience as much as children. What are the conventions of Fairy Tales? Particular setting: Castles House in the woods Forests - Away from reality/safety Usually a ‘happy ending’ • Particular characterisation: • PROPP’S Character types. • Specific hero/heroine • Specific villain • Dispatcher • Often a character who acts as a helper • Hero encounters a specific conflict ONCE UPON A TIME: ‘Once’ invites us into a narrative world set in the past. ‘upon’ suggests it takes place in another world – upon a time – Therefore such an opening suggests that the normal rules do not apply – dislocates reality. Gender roles
Bluebeard’s Tale "Bluebeard" is a French literary fairy story written by Charles Perrault and published in Histoiresoucontes du temps passé in 1697. The tale tells the story of a violent nobleman in the habit of murdering his wives and the attempts of one wife to avoid the fate of her predecessors. • Which aspects of the story would we object to today?
After several goings backwards and forwards, she was forced to bring him the key. Bluebeard, having very attentively considered it, said to his wife, "Why is there blood on the key?" "I do not know," cried the poor woman, paler than death. "You do not know!" replied Bluebeard. "I very well know. You went into the closet, did you not? Very well, madam; you shall go back, and take your place among the ladies you saw there." Upon this she threw herself at her husband's feet, and begged his pardon with all the signs of a true repentance, vowing that she would never more be disobedient. She would have melted a rock, so beautiful and sorrowful was she; but Bluebeard had a heart harder than any rock! "You must die, madam," said he, "at once." "Since I must die," answered she (looking upon him with her eyes all bathed in tears), "give me some little time to say my prayers." What is the IDEOLOGY of this text? • HINT: How are the characters presented? • Highlight and label examples with your ideas. How is ‘The Bloody Chamber’ different? KEY TERM: Patriarchal
Discuss Read this Review: The Bloody Chamber is an invoking novel, which reappropriates patriarchal western fairy tales, such as Bluebeard to challenge notions of male superiority and the objectification of women. Carter’s talent as a writer enables her to utilize the most vivid and violent use of imagery and language to demonstrate the way in which women have been exploited in western society. This powerful novel will appeal to all who are prepared to open their minds and accept feminist ideology over patriarchal ideas. Homework: Find out about the basic ideals of feminist ideology.