Lady of the House of Love

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Reading Response/Analytical Task

Explain how the writer, Angela Carter, has created the gothic in the text and how she has subverted (to do the opposite of) it? How effective is this text?

In the story ‘The Lady of the House of Love’ Angela Carter uses gothic elements like using the themes of supernatural, a prophecy, setting, a damsel in distress and tyrannical figure.

The theme of supernatural/inexplicable events is very prominent in this story. The protagonist is a vampire who is a creature made of myths. The countess is the queen of the vampires and has survived for many centuries. ‘Shadows that have no source in anything visible...where a cracked mirror suspended from a wall does not reflect a presence.’ This quote uses symbolism and implies the existence of a vampire as vampires live only in dark shadows and their reflections do not show in a mirror. Also the cracked mirror symbolizes bad luck that is always associated with dark, evil creatures.

Prophecies are common in this story. The countess repeatedly plays tarot cards every day and towards the end she predicts a love prophecy. The quote ‘She plays her game of patience until she grows hungry, until she is ravenous’ tells of the countess playing her tarot cards everyday until it is time for her to feed. Instead of saying she is dealing tarot cards Carter has stated the lady is playing a game of patience. By using a metaphor Carter shows that ‘the game of patience’ represents the countess waits patiently everyday for her fate to change and only leaves to feed on her next victim.

The setting of this story is at an abandoned village where only a stone lion head and the old luxurious mansion are ever visited. ‘At last the revenants became so troublesome the peasants abandoned the village and it fell solely into the possession of subtle and vindictive inhabitants who manifest their presences by shadows that fall almost imperceptibly awry.’ This quote shows the village was abandoned because of...
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