Gothic elements in Angela Carter

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what use does Carter make of gothic elements in ‘The Bloody Chamber’

The term ‘Gothic’ was first used to describe a style of art and architecture in medieval Europe. It was said that gothic was an “attempt to incorporate the power of wild nature within the structures of civilization” writers later started using this idea in their literature, Angela Carter was was of these writers, using many gothic elements in her stories to evoke certain emotion from her readers.

One of the main gothic elements used by Angela Carter in ‘The Bloody Chamber’ is the image of blood. Blood can be used in order to suggest sexual maturity and the loss of virginity, it can also represent pain and death. Many of Angela Carter’s short stories use blood imagery in order to represent different meanings. For example in ‘The Bloody Chamber’ when the women disobeys her husbands orders the stain is transferred to her, meaning she is unable to hide the guilt, she states “the more I scrubbed the key, the more vivid grew the stain... I saw the heart shaped stained had transferred itself to my forehead”. Here Carter may be using the gothic feature in order to create tension among the audience, it is clear that the girl is inevitably going to get caught, and end up like the Marquis other wives. The stain may also be used in order to show that the narrator has been disobedient, perhaps suggesting that she deserves punishment. In “The snow child” blood is used differently, the Count wishes for a girl “as red as blood”, once given the girl of his desires, she is killed, and all that is left is a feather and a bloodstain - the blood here could represent the counts mistreatment of the girl as he has intercourse with her after she has died. Carter uses blood in her stories to present her readers with different situations in order to provoke different emotions.

Another Gothic element that Carter makes use of is the idea of isolation. Many of her characters are put in vulnerable positions due to

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