‘The Bloody Chamber', the characters and elements of gothic

Topics: Gothic fiction, Dracula, Marriage Pages: 3 (1148 words) Published: December 5, 2013
The genre of gothic literature contains both elements of horror and romance, with an innocent female, a powerful male (usually the quintessential villain), as well as themes to do with the supernatural as key features included in the novel.

In this chapter, elements of the gothic begin in the very title of the book: the ‘bloody’ in ‘The Bloody Chamber’ associates the idea of death and gore, a more horrific element of the gothic genre; the ‘Chamber’ itself now sounds more claustrophobic and similar to a torture chamber, due to the link to blood. However, blood can be interpreted in different ways throughout the extract, even in a romantic way in this example: ‘the wedding dress…wrapped up in…red ribbon’. Juxtaposing the red of the ribbon with the white of the dress (which symbolises innocence) could represent the staining of virgin blood on a pure dress, or scarring of one’s purity with blood, to represent taking somebody’s identity with them – the person who took her virginity is the one she’ll belong to for the rest of her life.

Not only is there a presence of a pure and desirable female (‘the wedding dress he’d bought me’ – hinting at the fact he wants her and he shall buy her this wedding dress and her mother a dress so as to encourage her to marry him), who is dominated by a male (he bought her the dress, instead of letting her choose the design…a controlling character), but the fact there is a transition from everyday life to something bigger is also a major element of the gothic genre.

Transition at the very beginning of the novel is also illustrated in another gothic novel - Dracula (when Harker is travelling to Transsylvania to Count Dracula’s castle). The female character is travelling from her home, ‘the narrow bedroom (she) had left behind forever’ into ‘the unguessable country of marriage’. This brings forward a sense of excitement and uncertainty as to whether marriage will live up to her expectations or worsen her intentions of getting...
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