Close Reading the Bloody Chamber

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The Bloody Chamber pages 11 to top of 15
In this extract the unnamed narrator and the Marquis consummate their marriage. We see this build up to their consummation where the Marquis teases her, enjoying her discomfort. Left about the in the ‘library’ she discovers a ‘Rops’ picture which is symbolic of their own relationship. Delighted to have found the narrator entranced with what she had seen. the Marquis relishes in her naivety and finally takes her virginity. Leaving her feeling exposed he announces his departure for America. Within these four pages, Carter uses their sexual encounter to explore patriotic views on men through the characteristics of the Marquis and his treatment of the girl. This encounter foreshadows the outcome of the story but also reinforces the Gothic theme that she is renowned for. Carter begins by using a simile to compare the girl to food: “gourmand that he was, as if he were stripping the leaves of an artichoke.” The fact that the Marquis is described as ‘gourmand’ implies that he is an expert at what he does and therefore takes advantage of his power. In addition, the imagery of the girl as an ‘artichoke’ suggests cannibalism, reinforcing his beastly attributes. The verbal pre-modification “Stripping” symbolises the Marquis taking away her innocence. Carter uses the simile “bare as a lamb chop” to describe the girl, reinforcing her innocence, as the connotations of a lamb can be considered as innocence and purity because she is a virgin. The adjectival pre-modification of “bare” emphasizes how vulnerable he perceives her; like a “lamb” to the slaughter, reinforcing his male patriarchy. Carter uses the linguistic style of foreshadowing in the minor sentence: “And stain you.” The use of the verb ‘stain’ foreshadows the Marquis staining the girl with the heart shaped blood stain from the key. It can be argued that Carter makes reference to the lily ‘stain’ to symbolise that her experience with the Marquis will live with her forever....
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