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Angela Carter ( – ) “The amazing thing about her, for me, was that someone who looked so much like the Fairy Godmother [ ] should actually be so. Explore The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories and other related collection items, on the British Library's website. The last three stories in Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber all feature wolves. Bidisha PDF Download Available. Angela Carter, The Bloody Chamber. London: Vintage, Page 2. Page 3. Page 4. Page 5. Page 6. Page 7. Page 8. Page 9. Page Page Page
Who is it that I am following? Whom should this be asked of if not of the other?
And perhaps of the cat itself? It has its point of view regarding me. The point of view of the absolute other, and nothing will have ever given me more food for thinking through this absolute alterity of the neighbor or of the next -door than these moments when I see myself seen naked under the gaze of a cat.
The Bloody Chamber
The Animal that Therefore I Am, trad. David Wills. Alice in Wonderland again. The Bloody Chamber: Peach, L. Roberts, S. Sage, L. Wisker, G. Related Papers. By Vanessa Chen. The Female Genius: By Carola Wide. Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? By Nancy Partridge. Download pdf. Remember me on this computer. Enter the email address you signed up with and we'll email you a reset link. Need an account? Click here to sign up. Help Center Find new research papers in: She is a prolific and productive literary icon whose recent works of fiction contain innovative experimentations and new devices of expression.
Carter is the hallmark of the "New Novel" which made itself obvious from the postmodernist to contemporary Britain. The originality of Carter lies in reshaping and retelling the convectional versions of popular myths, fables, superstitions, legends, folk and fairy tales.
In order to make her "new retellings" up-to-date, Carter endows her plots and characters with most touching cynicism and vulgarity "Angela Carter", n.
An essayist in The Guardian describes these retold tales as "… stories [that] remain as vivid as fresh blood on white snow. Although the superficial reading public see Carter's fictions, nonfiction and journal essays as mere rumination on common tales, her way of relating these tales opens a new vista to new knowledge and vision: Malcolm Innocent and straight tales solely achieve amusement on the part of the readers especially children.
This renaissance movement vastly functions magical realist styles and techniques exclusive to Latin American regions, histories, cultures and subjects. On the contrary, Carter's magical realist methods are more universal in subjects and themes that reflect the collective consciousness of transcultural and intercultural lives. As a result, Carter's experimental narrative style attracts the attention of modern criticism that The British Times grants Angela Carter the tenth position in its list of the fifty greatest British writers since "Angela Carter" n.
Despite her tragically premature death at the age of fifty-one, this notable winner of Somerset Maugham Award, contributes a great deal to modern English fiction. The countless essays written about her outrageous and dandy style impart vast depths and new dimensions to the contemporary fiction where the static, moral and political codes of western society are violated n.
In order to achieve this objective, Carter wears a cunning mask that lurks satire, cynicism and sarcasm. Stephen Connor comments on this: Carter attempts to reinvigorate the novel by enlarging its range and repertoire of effects.
And Other Stories: 75th-Anniversary Edition (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
This way of physical-spiritual unity brings about plausibility because our world is vaguely diverse and somewhat chaotic. Likewise, Carter invents a unique unity of pattern by exaggerating some aspects of human behaviour. Throughout the depiction of her protagonists, she eschews conventional versions by invigorating the novel's space through transformation from determinism, and submission into individualism and self-determination.
Carter is the most celebrated British radical writer of the s and the s who composes magical realist narratives influenced by broad cultural movements and transnational authorship.
She is the feminist and revolutionist author who calls for the role of gender and its metamorphosis from the moral, cultural and political confines. Carter's early works address such general issues as the lives of the working classes in Britain. These fictional products tackle issues and themes that incarnate "an alternative front line in which women battle against poverty for survival and suffer the traumas of rape, murder, abortion, and prostitution" Shaffer Carter's Magical Realism is a cosmopolitan phenomenon that includes both nationwide and local concerns at home: Hart and Ouyang Carter's magical realist narrative works tackle interior questions like national and domestic decadence, discrimination and malevolence not in the colonized countries but in the independent world nations and empires.
Self-criticism of high culture is commonly ascribed to subjectivity and prejudice. The British reading public reject the deficient self-reference and lack of verisimilitude. Hence, Fowles conforms that there must be an objective referee to judge and evaluate Britain's internal anxieties. According to Carter everything, whether in our physical or celestial world, is to be counted as uncomfortable: Carter uses such common motifs in her writings to translate our introspective imagination into reality assimilating them to conclude what is called "microcosmic" world.
This complicated spectrum is Carter's new world; "believe what you want to believe [and that] what you want to believe is the truth" to quote Carter's words Munford vii. Angela Carter's narrative style is influenced by some notable precursors whose extensive imagination is of seminal significance to nourish Carter's vision and contemplation. As You Like it is Shakespeare's pastoral comedy that incorporates two dissimilar settings to denote how life is dichotomous.
Shakespeare juxtaposes everyday life at court with that of imagination and mystery in the Forest of Arden. When the characters move between the two settings, the audience or readers feel that there is no shift in thought on their part. The two worlds are entangled together and that each one illuminates the other. In the same way, Angela Carter ruminates on Shakespeare's style in this comedy to show how her narrative techniques are situated in between the chaotic reality and the idealistic fantasy.
Another pivotal literary model that has his inspiring impact on Angela Carter is William Blake. Carter is highly moved by Blake's mystic thoughts in imagination especially his Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience This Pre-Romantic poet shows deep concern for the world of spirits and the binary opposition of life in his The Marriage of Heaven and Hell In fact, Blake sees the transcendental and corporal worlds unified in one eye: Consequently, Carter exploits and intertextualizes William Blake's personal mythology in how man's free imagination achieves reality.
According to Carter, then, there is no distinction between the two contrary worlds where each completes the other. Carter's inspiration is taken from miscellaneous theories, nations, traditions, histories and cultures of different regions and periods in Europe and outside.
She is highly stimulated and inspired by her wide travels to Japan, Australia, Asia, Europe and the United States that make her adopt "the view from everywhere". Moreover, Carter's vast knowledge, imagination and inspiration reflect her interest in English Medieval literature which she studied at the University of Bristol "Angela Carter" Britannica, n. Through her broad acquaintance, Carter defamiliarizes the British culture so as to make it more panoramic, mosaic and glamorous.
The Gothic or the Romance novel, flourishing in Britain from s to the s, is the most apparent influence on Angela Carter and magical realism in general.
This eighteenth century novelistic tradition is full of terror, macabre, gloom and suspense elements analogous to Carter's magical realist fictions. Abrams comments on the gothic setting, characters, events and subjects: The locale was often a gloomy castle furnished with dungeons, subterranean passages, and sliding panels; the typical story focused on the sufferings imposed on an innocent heroine by a cruel and lustful villain, and made bountiful use of ghosts, mysterious disappearances, and other sensational and supernatural occurrences.
Magical realists writers imply the phantasmagoric within the realistic in the same way gothic novelists wed unbelievable horrific scenes with realistic gothic castles. In the same vein, for instance, the final scene of Heathcliff and Catherine's spirits meeting at the cemetery is an ordinary incident within the gloomy atmosphere of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights This gothic romance novel triggers Carter's mind with how both the romance and the grotesque are brought to the very heart of the realism.
The vampire literature, as a part of the gothic, also plays a seminal role on Carter's fictions. The undertones of blood, sex and death are common themes in the Victorian inflected era of tuberculosis and syphilis.
Bram Stoker's Dracula is the model novel that triggers the modern age with such grotesque themes. In vampire fictions, the black evil of bats is merged with the romance of human relationships.
Skilful writers resort to involve stylistic techniques in their writings for rhetorical effects. These techniques enhance the piece of writing with aesthetic, emotional and intellectual appeal. Writing in a too simple and direct style results in monotony and dullness. But an excellent writer who can organize his or her ideas in a unique and provocative way can wonderfully increase his or her writing's allure.
Hale Angela Carter's ingenious techniques and her distinct style are vast and deliberate. The function of these technical and stylistic methods is to accomplish a new perspective where the tangible and the intangible are interchanged. Carter is Britain's most celebrated exponent of magical realism. In fact, she endows her new version of folk tales with elements of suspense and surprise.
The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
Stephen M. Hart and Wen-chin Ouyang assert that Carter's Magical Realism is conveyed by cunning means to achieve different goals: What is true is multiple and slippery. Carter's Magical Realism is "multiple and slippery". It drifts the reader into a sense of loss leading him or her whether to consider the plot, characters, setting or dialogue as factual or mirage.
Carter's narrative approaches stem from her sensibility and taste in treating folk, romance and fairy tales in an experimental manner as Susan Sellers argues in Myth and Fairy Tale in Contemporary Women's Fiction. Sellers points out how Carter understands innovation of personal style via the way these popular romances and fairy tales are uniquely presented and undertaken. Carter once acknowledges that "fairy tales are rather like potato soup.
No one knows who first invented it, there are a million subtly different recipes, and all we can do is tell our own version" This is why she has been classified as not only prolific but instructive as well.
She uses her special tools to issue her moral lessons and themes. The variety of her contemporary works marks her as one of the avant-garde writers whose life objectives are solely achieved by radically subversive means. Throughout her style, she demystifies new facts about the modern world. Carter once admits her own mode of writing, stating that; "I am all for putting new wine in old bottles especially if the pressure of the new wine makes the old bottles explode" to quote Carter's own words The only way to instruct and rectify society is to undermine the established social codes which she believes as false.
Technically, Angela Carter's narrative works are replete with Mikhail Bakhtin's literary theories of the carnivalesque and heteroglossia. The Carnivalesque is a style that relies upon a reversal of categories in which the magical becomes real and the real becomes magical. It also demonstrates the hybridity of opposition where "the sacred is treated as a profane and the profane as a sacred" Bowers Heteroglossia is the expression of multiple perspectives in a single work of fiction where the voice of the narrator clashes with that of the characters To achieve sociopolitical justice, Carter uses such Bakhtinian elements in order to attack the accepted social and gender options especially those associated with categorization and imperialism In the same vein, Carter uses the narrative technique of ventriloquism.
In her matchless depiction of reality, a female author speaks in a male voice to reveal how women are trapped by the male sadistic, misogynistic and patriarchal society Munford Carter purposely operates this trick in several of her magic realist fictional works to make a rapid shift between the two facades of the world. She also adopts this view-point to attack the patriarchal world by the male voice which confesses "his" defects and faults. Intertextuality is a term that has been subject to various definitions and functions.
It was coined by Julia Kristeva in her discussion of Mikhail Bakhtin's theories of dialogism and carnival in the late s 5. Rebecca Munford comments on intertextuality: The text is dialogic in respect with its openness to diverse cultures and voices.
It is also carnivalized so as to "allow alternative voices to dethrone the authority of official culture. We have conceived that a text is a multi- dimensional space in which a variety of writings blend and clash. In other words, it is a tissue of quotations drawn from countless centres of traditions and cultures. Consequently, to follow the example of this Russian theorist, Carter's unique technical and stylistic devices adapt the way "to mix writings, to counter the ones with the others, in such a way as never to rest on any one of them" Munford 6.
I have always used a very wide number of references because of tending to regard all of western Europe as a great scrap-yard from which you can assemble all sorts of new vehicles … Basically, all the elements available are to do with the margin of the imaginative life, which is in fact what gives reality to our own experience, and in which we measure our own reality. In this sense. Gothicism is another aspect that distinguishes Carter's style. In her first novel, Shadow Dance , Carter deconstructs the horrible castles, dungeons, disguises, damsels in distress and vampires in such a way as to demystify masochism and sadism of a contemporary world Tavassoli and Ghasemi ; Friedman 1.
In the forward of her novel, Fireworks she affirms that "we live in Gothic times". Metaphorically, Carter's revival of the gothic elements is seen as "a revival of the marginalized subgenres of the past which have to become to replace the dominant modes of modern discourse" Brian Shaffer argues that Angela Carter's works are fraught with hybrid combinations of languages and tongues. Technically, Carter's magical realist fictional works are: It also involves a miscellany of vulgar and official foreign tongues.
A magic realist writer must have a wide knowledge of different mouths and discourse to transport the reader to different times and realms forcing this reader to lose conscious of his or her mother- tongue.
Animal imagery is another stylistic device that often confuses the reader with the innocent contents of the original stories. Animal carnage commonly reflects the harsh reality of modern life. In her Bloody Chamber , for instance, Carter's images of the animals are somewhat associated with love, lust or violence. Carter uses bestial animals such as wolves, tigers and lions in order to portray masculine figures of authority.
Another fictional device that Carter purposely uses is the sixteenth century Spanish and eighteenth century English picaresque convention Abrams The picaresque narrative is realistic in manner, episodic in structure and satiric in aim.
This technique inflicts physical damage on their characters, and the damage is a sign of experience. Angela Carter frequently re-writes other males' tales so as to both entertain and instruct. Carter's fiction contains Rabelaisian characters and events which offer laughter, bawdy jokes, songs and playfulness that imply robust satire and sardonicism. The aim of this playful humour or caricature is to substantiate the reality of being to hallucination and dream-vision Rajaram 7. Carter re-contextualizes the utopian fairy tales of the old days in such a way as to broaden them not only with intellectual insight but also she endows them with cultural, historical, social, moral and political connotations.
Sarah Sceats states that Carter "makes promiscuous use of European and other cultures; drawing on philosophy, fairy tales, high art, kitsch, Shakespeare and cinema, she [Carter] juggles England with the rest of the world without batting an eyelid" Hart and Ouyang Her [Angela Carter's] branching and many-layer narratives mirrored our shifting world of identities lost and found, insiders versus outsiders, alternative histories and utopias postponed.
In her stories there's a magical democracy - no class distinction between probable people and improbable even impossible ones, or between humans and animals and allegories. All her writing was at odds with conventional realism. Sage Carter is "at home" when pleading or defending the rights of the weak just like what Lorna Sage has herself done. She seeks to find a new utopia by breaking the impossible through any means available.
She is a passionate believer in the possibility of transformation and metamorphosis. The dystopian or the apocalyptic world is capable of cure. She sees "facts and their shadows, co-existing so closely and menacingly" 2. Realism has no room in Carter's world unless it is enveloped in rational fantasy and metamorphosis. This is why all of Carter's novels and short stories have interestingly happy endings. The final result of the conflict of her novels is poetic justice where the good are rewarded and the evil are punished.
In her essay "Flight of Fancy" edited by Hart and Ouyang, Sceats claims that Carter is a drastic writer drifted by significant themes as race, class and gender discrimination: Carter's perspective is fundamentally political, emphatically and often subversively on the side of the disempowered and the disenfranchised … She rejects essentialist notions and focuses on the forces and processes that position us in society.
She seeks to subvert received truths and conventional thinking in many levels and in diverse areas. This is particularly so in gender relations and their intersections with class and race and also in terms of the radical potential of literary and popular genres.
Carter, accordingly, sides with "the disempowered and the disenfranchised" who live in separate locations around the world.
The Bloody Chamber And Other Stories
In this way, Carter sets and standardizes the British code of equality through breaking the established and popular codes of inequality among races, classes and genders.
Likewise, Angela Carter is set at the head of a group of British writers who engages her works with Magical Realism to advocate those who have been removed from the geographical, ethnic, social, cultural, economic or political arena.
Being female or being black means that once you become conscious, your position Hegerfeldt The issue of gender, race and class are fundamental aspects to postmodernist and even contemporary writers. Carter appeals to these themes to fervently parody on the totalitarianism of modern beliefs, values and cultures. Carter's melancholy and pessimism is already present in her magic realist fiction that presents "the world as a chaotic, merciless, and inhumanely cruel place" For instance, she exhibits the holocaust as a premeditated offence of humans against humans in such a way as whether to consider it as fantasy or reality Carter believes that the ontological and imaginative laws are crucial parts that ought to permeate over human nature.
Carter's novels offer a critique against extreme indulgence in epistemology and rationality. The intellectual worldview must not be entirely replaced but supported by a spirit of phantasmagoria and contemplation In her Night at the Circus for example, Carter disrupts the dominant scientific extravagance of modernization by some fantastical tricks within the setting of the circus itself as standing for the world.
It is how the binary opposition between the artificial and the real are dissolved in a single realm to interpret the postmodern world. This novel is, as Rajaram Zirange states, "a battle between an encyclopedic and a poet" 4. However, Carter shows the weakness of the modern Enlightenment view of the extreme positivism which denies imagination One of the most recurrent themes of Angela Carter's fictions, especially those dealing with magical realist elements, is sexual liberalism.
Matrimony is looked upon as a form of women's slavery and submissiveness. Amitt Carter envisages the world as totally misogynistic, masculine, aggressive and canonical. This worldview categorizes the woman as "a dumb mouth from which the teeth have been pulled" as Carter once articulates When she was interviewed in , Carter told her interviewer that, "I was using the latent content of those traditional stories, and that latent content is violently sexual.
Sigmund Freud's theories about sexual instincts, freeing repressed desires and the workings of the mind in dreams have their heavy presence in Carter's magical realist works. In his Literary Criticism, Charles Bressler sheds light on this point claiming that "in the interaction of the conscious and unconscious working together, argues Freud, we shape both ourselves and our world" This shows that the text is the ultimate product and creation of the writer's mind and his or her freedom to shape society.
Carter exploits Freud's thoughts by placing the reader between fact and fiction. In this sense, Carter's magical realist narratives demystify the negotiation between the metaphysical vision of the world and the propriety of the social norms. Angela Carter states that "the pleasure principle met reality principle like an irrespirable force encountering an immovable object and that the reverberations of that collision are still echoing about us" Rajaram 2.
It is quite noticeable that the pleasure principle is already operative in Carter's licentiously speculative fiction such as Heroes and Villains , The Infernal Desire Machine of Doctor Hoffman and Bloody Chamber Freudianism, consequently, exists to convey Carter's themes of sexual liberty and feminist identity.
Vulgar and pornographic accounts are disguised in the form of free desires within the unconscious that defines the actual human character. Sadism, chauvinism, sexual violence and cold-blooded homicide are common motifs that sometimes Carter deliberately interweave to show how the female is marginalized, objectified and dehumanized. Carter rejects Rousseau's romantic picture that the society is based on the "noble- savage" theory which proves not to be very innocent.
Rajaram 5 Their being helpless in cages transforms them into fierce monsters. Nobility and chivalry are dedicated and ascribed to masculinity and they, therefore, do not fit Carter's magical realist world. In addition, Carter is obviously impressed by the feminist standpoint popular in Elaine Showalter's gyno-criticism.
This feminist critic believes that biological, linguistic, psychoanalytical and cultural backgrounds are essential models to appreciate and understand feminist writings. Bressler Showalter rebels against the literary canon and its motto where certain works of "dead, white, European, males" Peck and Coyle deserve criticism, Carter, on the other hand, revolutionizes against women devaluation through uncovering and declaring her unique feminist concerns and traits.
A dystopian world is another theme associated with modern existentialism.
Carter is skeptic of any romantic relationship that connects human individuals. She rejects the utopian principle exposed by popular fairy tales. This melancholic obsession is conveyed in grim science-fiction narratives that deal with the future and have been the focus of fictionists especially in the latest years.
For instance, Carter's quasi-science-fiction novel, The Passion of New Eve depicts "the motif of the world after the holocaust or some apocalyptic breakdown recurs" McHale This cynic or skeptic vision shows that America is deteriorating and that the whole world is under erasure and doom. Hart and Wen-chin Ouyang point out some features that ornament the British magical realist fictions in general and Angela Carter's in particular.
Sociopolitical justice is one of these elements that colour most of Angela Carter's magical realist narratives. Hart and Ouyang comment on this question blaming not only the public but the authority as well: The denunciation of social injustice and criminality, which are fostered by the lack of an effective civil law in the region and the arbitrariness of the political administration on both sides of the frontier …[and] that a writer [Angela Carter] modifies our conception of the past, as it will inevitably modify the future As a left-sided instructor and moralizer, Angela Carter criticizes the world and its "social injustices and criminality".
The "political administration" is not excluded from this irresponsible civil law. Carter defamiliarizes these tales through "the demythologization business … [that] make[s] evident what is buried in the stories we read to our children" Turner, Jenny n. British feminist politics or radical feminism is a key theme that Angela Carter repeatedly extolls. She [Angela Carter] seemed to be nourished by this wave of activism.
Always happy to acknowledge the politics implicit in her fiction. Carter viewed her challenge as to communicate her feminism in such a way as not to compromise her creative energies. This strategy of agitation and subversion is referred to as not only experimental in fiction but also transformative and provocative in reality. Carter is an activist writer revolting against the excessive political authority of the modern world regimes Shaffer Her fiction "reflected the political activism of the period, representing social injustice and thematizing conflicts arising from ethnic, gender, and sexual identities" to show how Carter's themes are widely interchanged Carter's fictions are not solely political in content but these narrative novels and stories sometimes reflect domestic and social subjects.
Feminist activism is exclusive to the queer theory of homosexuality which rises some debate during the s on both sides of the Atlantic. Internationalism is a key aspect in Angela Carter's life which is enthusiastically reflected in her fictions, argues Helen Stoddart: She was widely travelled and, as well as her teaching engagements in the USA and Australia, she spent three years living in Japan [reflecting] European cultures and non-Western traditions of literature and philosophy.
Fevver, the protagonist, takes a global journey that familiarizes the reader with other literatures, philosophes and cultures or the "complex cosmology of their own".
Carter is, therefore, "possessed a life experience and intellectual inquisitiveness that also made her an enthusiastic and curious internationalist" 5 , explains Stoddart.
Manipulation or deception of women as "the other" is another theme that characterizes most of Carter's magical realist fictions. Women in general and wives in particular are duped, subordinated and made puppets by the "tyrannical" men or husbands.
These women are brutally victimized just because of their gender and physical fairness as Rebecca Munford makes this point overt; "Carter rediscovers and reveals the potentially terrible consequences of domestic incarceration and family tyrannies, nevertheless, re-working motifs linking sex, beauty and death" She wrote forty two short stories spanning twenty years before her death in Stoddart 3. It is quite noticeable that not all of Carter's works contain Magical Realism in them.
The degree of magical realist elements varies from one work to another. It is also noted that Carter's fictional works are not purely linked to one mode of writing and she inaugurates different aspects within a single work. Science-fiction elements may, for instance, be combined with gothic elements to form a mutli-dimensional novel. Fantasy, allegory, grotesquery, apocalypticism or the picaresque are all present in her novels and short stories with different concentrations.
The Magic Toyshop is an allegorical profane novel suggesting some mystical implications. The magical beauty of the journey marks the visionary quality of Carter's depiction of the plot VanderMeer 3. Although the Bible has some preliminary impact on Carter, she is more attached to popular and secular legends and tales in her later literary career so as to distance herself from the bounds of theology.
Hoffman , Carter depicts "The fantasy war between the minister of determination and Dr. Hoffman dramatizes the philosophical question of the relationship between reason and imagination, the real and the illusory, the objective and the subjective" Kellegan Reality is altered in such a way that many people in the capital cannot tell the difference between what is real and what is not. At one extreme stands Dr. Hoffman, the professor of metaphysics who has besieged the anonymous "South American city".
This diabolical doctor aims at "demolishing the structure of reason by his gigantic generators" "Angela Carter's Biography", par. He recalls the anarchic Breton, the founder of the surrealist movement who conquered France with imagination Vander Meer On the other extreme stands his counterpart, Desiderio, a shrewd agent to the Minster of Determination.
The novel exhibits a magical atmosphere where science and hallucination are paradoxically united within the same world. This world of "waking and sleeping" creates a state of bewilderment and ecstasy that lurks Carter's undercover objectives of how the world is to be transformed from subjection to freedom and harmony. Evelyn is the symbol of the contemporary woman whose life and actions are ruled by totalitarian power of patriarchy but she could manage to free herself from the social manacles.
In Passion of New Eve, Carter intertextualizes and incorporates myths from literature of America and the world to impart new scent to her version.
The Bloody Chamber is a set of short stories transformed from innocent children's tales into adult stories with intentional themes of subjugation and liberty. These stories established Carter's fame as a magical realist mythologizer.
This collection opens new horizon in criticism due to the fact that the conclusions of these stories result in epiphany of the heroines, and not the heroes, announcing their feminist voices. The Bloody Chamber presents "the wealthy Marquis downloads his new, impoverished, beautiful wife in order to control her, to engulf and devour her innocence through perversion" Munford An inclusion of "dues-ex-machina" helps the protagonist dispense with the knotty events to reach freedom, self-determination and equality.
Carter's groundbreaking novel, Nights at the Circus is her most magical realist devotee. A miniature world is presented in the circus itself through reflecting the true nature of patriarchy.
Sophie Fevvers, the heroine, is the author's mask bestowed with magical elements to release herself from the fetters of tradition and culture: Fevvers herself and her magnificent wings. The image of the winged bird-woman which she represents is, however, more complex in significance than it appears.
Though it is predominantly an image of liberation, the male protagonists impose upon it stereotypical interpretations of femininity, invented by a patriarchal culture. Stoddart 47 Fevvers's angelic wings and her high flight symbolize the human sublimation and liberation from society's shackles. The symbolic value of setting is also crucial throughout this novel. It is a conflict between the world of being and the world of aspiration and hope.
The tough norms and bounds are broken in the way Fevvers is "hatched" from an egg to find her freedom and identity. Wise Children is Carter's last novel characterized by optimism and humour. It depicts the lives and actions of female members of a theatrical family. Dora and Nora, the wise children of the title, are twins of a famous Shakespearean actor. Despite that Carter intertextualizes Shakespeare's characters and scenes, "she challenges the reader's narrative expectation" via concluding the novel with a happy ending "Angela Carter's Biography", par.
In an essay written by Paul Charles Smith about Carter's short stories collection, The American Ghost and Old World Wonders published posthumously in , he describes life as a tragedy. The co- existence among civilizations and cultures is crucial to better understand the world: Carter takes a traditionally European tragedy and Americanizes it in order to create a new tragedy of the West, similar to the way in which Shakespeare adapted the Greeks for Elizabethan society, by incorporating the shifts in cultural paradigms.
Smith, Paul, par. This tradition is replaced by the globalization of the American culture, terrorism and philosophy in our current days. It is a hint to the conflict of world civilizations.
Different cultural paradigms are mixed and opposed in the same way magic is infused and contrasted with decadent reality. The local does not only involve setting but it more refers to character. Angela Carter is a first-class magical realist writer who rejuvenates mythology and folklore via challenging the reader's assumptions and expectations of popular tales.
She experiments with new methods by which she undermines the prevailing concepts of canonization and patriarchy. In her narratives, she incorporates modern as well as postmodern themes of feminism, violence, eroticism and the decadence of high culture. The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories is a collection of short fiction that contains nine short stories and a novella which carries the title name. This fictional collection establishes Carter's literary voice when it was first published in and as a result this feminist writer was awarded the Cheltenham Festival Literary Prize for this masterpiece in the same year "Bloody Chamber" Wikipedia n.
In these polemic stories, Carter re- interprets the obscure children's folk and fairy tales by extracting the implied content from these traditional tales. It is crucial to say that Carter is appealed to the folk and fairy tales because she is infatuated to the fantasy contained in these tales.
She mixes supernatural plots with everyday experiences to convey her themes. The technical method for this operation is Magical Realism. The origin of the fairy tales actually comes from the oral tradition and it appeared as a literary genre in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries with the efforts of Charles Perrault in France, Hans Christian Andersen and Brothers Grimm in Germany "who collected the household tales recounted by the local folks" Sarmasik Through her new flavour, she could "offer the reader the freedom to have different perspectives through the use of postmodern techniques such as parody, pastiche, irony and intertextuality" Nalie In her subversion of fairy tales, Carter re- defines gender roles and female identity in a male dominated society.
For instance, she rewrites the tale of "Bluebeard" with "sensationalist scenes of sado-masochism, but reveals that complicated economic, social, and psychological forces contribute to the objectification, fetishization, and violation of women" Malcolm Consequently, the study aims at shedding light on the areas where the magical realist elements are incorporated within the text and to reveal Carter's vision of two different social segments Mirmousa Although this novella is often appreciated due to its concern with feminism, fairy tales, mythology or Gothicism, it would be difficult to imagine discussing this work without obvious reference to Magical Realism.
The plot in "Blue Beard" parallels that in "The Bloody Chamber" with slight departures in setting, characters, themes and techniques. She follows up these themes through depicting a natural world which is probable, expected and realistic. All of a sudden, Carter "subtly inserts the supernatural and the improbable while artistically maintaining the realistic narrative space she had opened the story with" Mirmousa The plot of "The Bloody Chamber" is summarized as follows: She discovers the victims of his sadistic murders in the secret, locked torture chamber.
However, the work starts with realistic descriptions of events, characters and setting. It is a kind of metanarrative told by a female protagonist. The heroine is introduced as a naive, virgin and inexperienced seventeen years old girl travelling on a train.
This realistically portrayed girl uses her strong imagination, in the same way she plays with the strings of her organ, to create a dark, strange, yet realistic atmosphere. The first person point-of-view is also used to highlight the authenticity and reliability of narrator's retrospect as she is the central participant in the plot.
This sort of narration adds more psychological depth to the narrator's accounts. Her version starts as a recollection of a realistic scene of natural life: Carter, throughout this persona, prepares the reader to the transformation from the realm of reality to a vague destination where the "enclosed quietude" is abandoned for "the unguessable country of marriage". This shift in setting corresponds to the movement from what is factual to what is fictive. The night-train symbolizes the vehicle that transports the narrator from the world of truth to a mysterious world of fiction.
Here magic serves negative aims and adds extra burden on human hardship. When this poor Indo-Chinese pianist is asked by her mother about her love to the old wealthy Marquis de Sade: This question reveals the discrepancy between love and marriage and that they are contrasted binaries when traced in a materialistically oriented world.
Furthermore, the serious objective of realism is to represent life as it is and to reveal how poverty is devastating the society. Through rejecting pure realism, Carter emphasizes that life or truth is more complicated and stranger than literary or social realism Abrams At the time she reaches her destination at the Marquis's abode, the heroine's agony and sorrow are overcome by the marvelous atmosphere of her groom's majestic palace. At this crucial point, Carter inserts her magical implications of the castle after the narrator's long and hard voyage: To which, one day, I might bear an heir.
Our destination, my destiny. In "The Bloody Chamber", the setting is not haunted by ghosts or magicians, but that magic is generally injected in the course of the action where the unfamiliar and unexpected becomes a matter-of-fact. The heroine's imagination fluctuates between the reality of being and the magical introspection of "that marvelous castle in which he [the Marquis de Sade] had been born".
At this moment, the narrator realizes that "… all the paraphernalia of everyday world from which, [she], with my stunning marriage, had exiled [herself]" "Bloody Chamber" 6. This is an early hint to the fact that this young pianist has probed into the ominous world of cruelty and banishment. Magical Realism provides detailed descriptions of the narrative, events, setting or characters. And, ah! 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 with seabirds mewing about its attics, the casements opening on to the green and purple, evanescent departures of the ocean, cut off by the tide from land for half a day That lovely, sad, sea-siren of a place!
This realm of magic, as the castle itself, lies "neither on the land nor on the water" just like Carter's paradoxical paradigm of Magical Realism where the reader is placed between the realms of fact and fiction. This realm is the "ineffable-in-betweenness" that Faris indicates in her Ordinary Enchantments to refer to a major characteristic of this literary mode Everything in this fabulous castle seems magical and extraordinary to the narrator; "the castle would shine like a sea-borne birthday cake lit with a thousand candles, one for every year of its life, and everybody on shore would wonder at it".
The castle is like "a jinn's treasury" filled with "parures, bracelets, rings". The heroine describes this place as a land "in the middle of the silent ocean where … it floated like a garland of light".
Now, the narrator is captured by the fantasy of her wedding room. She is the "Queen of the Sea" or "Saint Cecilia" whose organ charms the world. Her bed room is magically described as: Mirrors on all the walls, in stately frames of contorted gold, that reflected more white lilies than I'd ever seen in my life before. He'd filled the room with them, to greet the bride, the young bride.
The young bride, who had become that multitude of girls I saw in the mirrors, identical in their chic navy blue tailor-mades, for travelling, madame, or walking. A maid had dealt with the furs.
Henceforth, a maid would deal with everything. The multiple reflections of the narrator's figure on the golden mirrors on the walls show the contrast between the reality of the girl's being and the hallucination of her aspiration. The narrator then shifts to express her fascination to exotic and oriental scenes. She describes "the rug on the floor, deep, pulsing blues of heaven and red of the heart's dearest blood, came from Isfahan and Bukhara". The engravings on the walls of "the Harem of the Grand Turk" and the "Immolation of the wives of the Sultan" "Bloody Chamber" 13 insinuates to an inevitable disaster that would befall her new life.
While the narrator is involved in her psychological trauma and paranoia among the "magical" mirrors where "a dozen husbands impaled a dozen brides while the mewing gulls swung on invisible trapezes in the empty air outside" 13 , she is brought to her senses "by the insistent thrilling of the telephone". The story is once again restored to the reality of the physical world. The spoilt girl remembers the hardship she has undergone with her mother. This is a reference to the realistic image of the author's suffering after her first marriage and divorce: I fumbled for the matches in my pocket; what a dim, lugubrious light they gave!
And yet, enough, oh, more than enough, to see a room designed for desecration and some dark night of unimaginable lovers whose embraces were annihilation. Her husband is a source of terror analogous to Carter's first husband. Neo-gothic fantasy, as one of Carter's vehicles blends diverse genres.
This shift from Realism to Gothicism and Fantasy is characteristic of postmodern speculative fiction particularly Carter's Magical Realism. Carter explicitly depicts and assures this motif when she is horrified by the gothic interior of the Marquis's den: And this skull was strung up by a system of unseen cords, so that it appeared to hang, disembodied, in the still, heavy air, and it had been crowned with a wreath of white roses, and a veil of lace, the final image of his bride.
This macabre or grim atmosphere serves two aims: First, it highlights the theme of archetypal submission and trauma of the female in mythical tales.
Second, it intensifies the magical realist quality of the work via transforming the reader to the realm of the marvelous and the supernatural. The implication and insertion of mythology and folklore in her fiction is a typical characteristic of Carter's style. This is the writer's tactic to "put new wine in old bottle", as she states in an interview. Carter's folk and fairy descriptions serve to take the reader to the improbable which is to be more likely and expectable.
Carter's persona exemplifies these tales in order to emphasize the loss of the female's identity and role: There was a Marquis, once, who used to hunt young girls on the mainland; he hunted them with dogs, as though they were foxes. The narrator is terrified by recounting these tales to herself because she is still an immature girl. Through these metafictional tales the place becomes "The Castle of Murder".
This grotesque setting raises the sympathy of the readers towards the narrator and consequently all females in general. A significant turning-point in this story takes place via its realistic narration. At one extreme, the story reaches its climax when the Marquis returns from his supposed trip. The process of events now follows the matter-of-fact narration. The element of suspense increases as the young piano-tuner, Jean-Yves cries for "the keys … it must go back on the ring, with the others.
As though nothing had happened. But the key was still caked with wet blood and I ran to my bathroom and held it under the hot tap. Crimson water swirled down the basin but, as if the key itself were hurt, the bloody token stuck. The turquoise eyes of the dolphin taps winked at me derisively; they knew my husband had been too clever for me!
I scrubbed the stain with my nail brush but still it would not budge. I thought how the car would be rolling silently towards the closed courtyard gate; the more I scrubbed the key, the more vivid grew the stain. The heroine's failure to remove this stain provides a pivotal magical value to the text. Even hot water does not erase this blood stain. He leaves a heart-shaped blood stain forever on her forehead: I knelt before him and he pressed the key lightly to my forehead, held it there for a moment.
I felt a faint tingling of the skin and, when I involuntarily glanced at myself in the mirror, I saw the heart-shaped stain had transferred itself to my forehead, to the space between the eyebrows, like the caste mark of a brahmin woman.
Or the mark of Cain. And now the key gleamed as freshly as if it had just been cut. He clipped it back on the ring, emitting that same, heavy sigh as he had done when I said that I would marry him. She tries in vain to remove the heart-shaped blood stain on her forehead: However, Carter "sets these unreal phenomena in an astonishing realistic and familiar setting throughout the whole story that leaves no skeptic space to the reader to question the validity of the claim and to pose such questions" Mirmousa Nevertheless, once again the stream of narration goes back to the routine reality and normality.
According to feminist writers, including Carter herself, brutal, aggressive and sadistic spirit is implanted in the masculine side of human beings. This is clear when the notorious Marquis returns to discover that his wife has violated his commands and she is about to hide the clue. He, therefore, threatens her by accomplishing his punishment: Slowly, slowly, one foot before the other, I crossed the cobbles. Do you think I shall lose appetite for the meal if you are so long about serving it?
No; I shall grow hungrier, more ravenous with each moment, more cruel Run to me, run! I have a place prepared for your exquisite corpse in my display of flesh! As he discovers that his new bride has entered his "forbidden room", he nervously resolves to join her in his gallery of wives. This second reading of "Bloody Chamber" suggests Carter's complex engagement in women crisis of contemporary Britain.
Throughout the presentation of Magical Realism in her "The Bloody Chamber", Carter uses distinctive techniques such as repetitions, grotesquery, and intertextual references to impart magical quality to her story. Carter employs explicit repetition "which have been tied to ancestral line of magic and improbability" Mirmousa At the very beginning, for instance, the protagonist is given an opal ring which is the Marquis's "own mother's ring, and his grandmother's, and her mother's before that … every bride that came to this castle wore it".
The narrative example of the "dozen mirrors" is also indicated through the repetition of the martyrdom of different bodies to refer to the "a dozen husbands approaching [her]" 4. The repeating act of mutilation occurs not only by the Marquis, but it has been performed by his ancestors as well Mirmousa Another significant element that causes "The Bloody Chamber" to fall under magical realist heading is the employment of the element of the grotesque.
The grotesque usually presents the human figure in an exaggerated and distorted way. It exploits similarities between people and animals or things, and vice versa. This grotesque image of the Marquis is presented as "a huge man, an enormous man, and his eyes, dark and motionless as those eyes the ancient Egyptians painted upon their sarcophagi" "Bloody Chamber" 7.
In another occasion, the Marquis "seems reborn in his unreflective eyes, reborn in unfamiliar shapes" Another factor related to Magical Realism is the use of various gestures to other works.
Intertextuality, quotations, biblical and mythical allusions are frequently implied within the text of "The Bloody Chamber". For instance, Carter presents biblical allusions to the Eve and Cain and intertextual allusions to Romeo and Juliet. Such references enhance the depth of the work through transporting the reader from the mundane to a more fantastic sphere where contemporary political and social problems are bestowed with historical, mythical or spiritual domain.
Lyon" is a parody on Beaumont's "Beauty and the Beast", a classic French cat story written in the eighteenth century and was published in Carter's story stays within the plot outlines of the original story, as Aidan Day observes The story begins with realistic urban accounts narrated in the third-person narrator in the same way fairy tales are told.
It focuses on a nameless girl leading a commonly domestic life. She is waiting for her father who is away in the country: This waiting portrayal is reminiscent of "the Victorian angel of the house" whose aim is to meet the male's demands and desires. The coldness of the weather is a vivid allusion to the carelessness of the modern world to human emotions in general and women in particular.
Within this bleak image, we are soon illuminated by a sort of magic enveloping "this lovely girl whose skin possesses that same inner light so you have thought she, too, was made all of snow" This fast departure from the realistically idyllic description by which the story has started becomes the prevailing method of Carter to insert her magical substance and high artifice.
Furthermore, the girl's white complexion reminds the reader with "Snow-white", a fairy tale where polarities, such as tame and wild, prey and predator, innocence and experience, body and soul, city and country male and female are exchangeable juxtaposed. Once again, the stream of narration is kept within the boundaries of realism to add more plausibility to the narration in the story: But the old car stuck fast in a rut, wouldn't budge an inch; the engine whirred, coughed and died and he was far from home.
Ruined once; then ruined again She had asked for so little and he had not been able to give it to her. As a result of his financial dilemma, Beauty's father is unable to download his spoilt daughter "the one white rose" that she demands. As the result, he "curse[s] the useless car" gets out to seek help. Through this realistic trouble that meets everyday life and people, a contemporary world is met with all its social sophistications.
Carter, as an exponent of postmodernist philosophy, cynically condemns the modernization of high culture which is the very cause of human misery and regression.
All of a sudden, Beauty's father greets a "Palladian house that seem[s] to hide itself shyly behind snow-laden skirts of an antique cypress" A sense of mystery overwhelms the atmosphere when this man closely approaches to the Beast's house: This distant but romantic setting reveals how patriarchal control is conquered by the purity and solitariness of the place.
It is a place where "All the natural laws of the world were held in suspension, here" The intimidating solitude with animal imagery further pushes the reader into the realm of mystery and lure as popular fairy tales usually do:She then figures her husband will never return and marries a new man.
It is clear that in giving her female characters more agency, Carter is directly responding to and critiquing these traditional patriarchal tropes.
There will be a crude icon of the virgin behind a guttering candle, the leg of a pig hung up to cure, a string of drying mushrooms. Seeing Puss put on the boots, the young man realized he was clever and invited him to be his valet and companion. In his Glossary of Literary Terms, M.