Angela Carter's Use of Language in Bloody Chamber

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Choose any one or two stories from the collection and explore how Carter uses language to present any two non-human characters.

Angela Carter’s stories are colourful and vivid, partly because they feature extremes and represent hopes and fears of ordinary people. Fear is usually of disaster, death or being eaten by ugly, fearful, supernatural beings and monsters. The hopeful, optimistic side is unrealistically represented by beautiful heroines and courageous, handsome heroes. Carter uses this hybrid of horror and wishfulfillment, but uses ornate, rococo and baroque language, heightening the emotion and developing the mood.

Carter illustrates non-human characters within “The Courtship of Mr Lyon” and “The Tiger’s Bride” by using highly metaphorical language, with many adjectives to a single noun which creates in depth descriptions of the attitudes and features of the non-human beings. By utilising simple characters, Carter projects her emphasis onto texture, colour and sensation with her sophisticated language.

Within “The Courtship of Mr Lyon”, the lion is illustrated by highly metaphorical lexis: “mazy head of hair, on the eyes green as agate, on the golden hairs of the great paws…”

These are connotations of a non-human creature, emphasised by the triplet and the use of the adjective “great” reflects the lion to be dominant and of power – which portrays his status. In addition his actions are that of an animal: “He reared on his hind legs like an angry lion, yet he wore a smoking jacket.” This amusing description compromises human and non-human qualities, therefore creating a surreal image as if the lion wants to be viewed by others as human. However, when the girl meets the lion, she is adamant that “a lion is a lion and a man is a man.” Although the lion wants to be personified as human, the parallel structure used by the girl indicates she has a natural fear of difference. Furthermore, we are given the impression the girl feels sorry for the...
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