The Bloody Chamber Notes

Topics: Fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty, Angela Carter Pages: 24 (2655 words) Published: March 24, 2013
The Bloody Chamber


- ‘like an extraordinarily precious slit throat’

- ‘bright as arterial blood’

- ‘faery solitude’

- ‘so many mirrors’

- ‘as if he were stripping the leaves off an artichoke’

- ‘instruments of mutilation’

- ‘the walls…gleamed as if they were sweating with fright’

- ‘an armful of the same lilies with which he had filled my bedroom’

- ‘the trumpets of the angels of death’


- Heroine

- ‘seventeen and knew nothing of the world’

- ‘the white-faced girl from Paris’

- ‘I was only a baby’

- Marquis

- ‘dark leonine shape of his head’

- ‘opulent male scent’

- ‘dark mane’

- ‘waxen face’

- Mother

- ‘indomitable mother’

- ‘wild thing’

AO2 - language, form and structure and how they shape meaning

- Language

- Juxtaposition - ‘lascivious tenderness’

- Metaphor - the Marquis as a beast, or as God - ‘the eye of God - his eye’

- ‘Subterranean privacy’ of the chamber - likening bloody chamber to Hell

- Form

- Castle is a Gothic reinterpretation of the fairytale template

- Reworked fairy tales - Carter called them ‘new stories’ not ‘versions’

- Short stories maximise the impact of Carter’s messages

- Novelette - the slow pace of which mirrors the brief lifestyle of the heroine in her new life

- Structure

- Long descriptive paragraphs followed by very short sentences e.g. ‘Dead as his wives.’ - isolated simile

- Longer sentences with commas increase the suspense, short sentences create a sense of fear

- Ellipsis also used

AO3 - connections between texts and different interpretations

- Child like language - ‘Baby mustn’t play with grownups’ toys’ (see EK, COW)

- Fairy tale motifs - ‘All the better to see you’ - links to fairy-tale form (see EK, LOTHOL)

- References to the modern world - ‘shrilling of the telephone’ (see COML)

- Aggressive male language - ‘pistons ceaselessly thrusting’ (see EK)

Gothic Features

- Weather/setting

- Castle is isolated, heroine sees its ‘faery solitude’ - how she chooses to view it, away from reality

- Walls of the chamber ‘sweating with fright’ - as if guilty themselves

- Marquis calls bloody chamber his ‘enfer’ - French word for Hell, ‘subterranean privacy’, ‘like the door of Hell’

- Carter contrasts light and dark - ‘Lights! More lights!’

- Foreshadowing

- ‘the necklace that prefigures your end’, ‘bright as arterial blood’, ‘like an extraordinarily precious slit throat’ - all foreshadow the heroine’s decapitation

- Heroine escapes her fate - makes her an even stronger character

- Dominant males

- Marquis likened to God and a lion/animal

- Passive females

- Heroine accepts her fate quickly

- Religion

- Marquis is placed in the role of God

- Refers to the heroine as ‘my little nun’, pornography referred to as ‘prayer-books’ shows Marquis’ lack of religion

- Bloody chamber as Hell - see setting

- Supernatural

- ‘as if the key itself were hurt, the bloody token stuck’

AO4 - contextual factors and how they affect the text

- Angela Carter was a feminist

- Published in 1979 - after the sexual revolution of the 1960s

- ‘Carter flirts with elements of the Gothic in many of the tales’ - S. Roberts

- Same for all texts

The Courtship of Mr Lyon


- ‘one white, perfect rose’

- ‘there was no living person in the hall’

- ‘a lion is a lion and a man is a man’

- ‘there was an air of exhaustion… in the house’

- ‘her own image reflected there’ (in the Beast’s eyes)

- ‘Fast as you can’

- ‘an attic, with a sloping roof’...
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