The Bloody Chamber Notes

The Bloody Chamber Quotes – ‘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’ Characters – 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 Quotes – ‘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’ – ‘the roses…were all dead’ – ‘as if, curious reversal, she frightened him’ Characters – Beauty – ‘looked as if she had been carved out of a single pearl’ ‘she smiled at herself with satisfaction’ – ‘Miss Lamb, spotless, sacrificial’ – Beast – ‘some kind of sadness in his agate eyes’ – ‘a man with an unkempt mane of hair’ – ‘he was so different from herself’ AO2 – language, form and structure and how they shape meaning – Language – Extensive imagery of snow symbolises Beauty’s purity – ‘white and unmarked as… bridal satin’ – Personification of the house – ‘the chandelier tinkled… as if emitting a pleased chuckle’ – ‘Pearl’ – pure, beautiful, valuable – Form – Reworked fairy tales – Carter called them ‘new stories’ not ‘versions’ Carter extracts ‘latent content’ – Short stories maximise the impact of Carter’s messages – Beauty and The Beast – both characters change, not just the Beast – role reversal of princess in the tower – Structure – ‘I hope he’ll be safe’ – no speech marks, highlighting Beauty’s lack of a voice AO3 – connections between texts and different interpretations – References to the modern world – ‘the snow brought down all the telephone wires’ (see BC, LOTHOL) – Fairy tale references – she reads ‘elegant French fairy tales’, ‘Fast as you can’ (see BC, EK, LOTHOL) Gothic Features – Weather/setting ‘Palladian house that seemed to hide itself shyly’ = ‘he forced himself to master his shyness’ – ‘Thin ghost of light on the verge of extinction’ – no signs of Spring at the Beast’s house – reflects what has happened to him – Bloody chamber = Beast’s attic – he is trapped and dying, claustrophobic setting – Roses die as the beast dies: ‘The roses…were all dead’ – Countryside = place of purity and femininity, town = masculine place of corruption – Foreshadowing – ‘she smiled at herself in mirrors a little too often’ – pride comes before a fall – Dominant males – no longer dominant ‘a cracked whisper of his former purr’ – ‘I am sick and I must die’ – Passive females – Objectification of women – she is called ‘Beauty’ but gets an identity at the end – ‘Mrs Lyon’ – Supernatural – Magic of the house – her father can call the garage even though the phone lines are down – ‘All the natural laws of the world were held in suspension here’ The Tiger’s Bride Quotes – ‘my father lost me to The Beast in cards’ – ‘I have lost my pearl’ – ‘the lamb must learn to run with the tigers’ Characters – Heroine – ‘always the pretty one’ – ‘Christmas rose’ – ‘no more than a king’s ransom’

AO2 – language, form and structure and how they shape meaning – Language – description of “glossy, nut-brown curls” and “rosy cheeks” is repeated to highlight the similarities between the narrator and her “clockwork twin – Structure – Heroine is given a voice unlike Beauty in COML – objectification of women in a different way – Written in the past tense but changes occasionally to the present to suggest continuity The Erl King Quotes – ‘Erl-King will do you grievous harm’ – ‘the wood swallows you up’ – ‘the stark elders have an anorexic look’ – ‘everything in the wood is exactly as it seems’ ‘easy to lose yourself’ – ‘What big eyes you have’ Characters – Erl-King – ‘an excellent housewife’ – ‘came alive from the desire of the woods’ – ‘tender butcher’ – ‘skin the rabbit, he says! ’ – ‘Eyes green as apples. Green as dead sea fruit’ AO2 – language, form and structure and how they shape meaning – Language – Oxymorons such as “the tender butcher” and “appalling succulence” highlight the narrator’s conflict – Isolated similes such as “green as dead sea fruit” add emphasis to the comparisons – Metaphor is used to link sex to drowning e. g. his ‘dress of water’ that ‘drenches’ her Structure – ‘Erl-King will do you grievous harm’ – one line paragraph to emphasise significance – Switches between tenses and points of view in order to disorient the reader, creating a Gothic sense of uncertainty, and reflecting the feelings of the protagonist AO3 – connections between texts and different interpretations – Fairy tale references – ‘What big eyes you have’ (see BC, EK) – Superstition – ‘he says the Devil spits on them at Michaelmas’ (see W, COW) – Aggressive language – ‘he could thrust me into the seed-bed’ (see BC) Gothic Features – Weather/setting Wood is personified and isolated – ‘the wood swallows you up’ – More fairy-tale than Gothic – Bloody Chamber = Erl-King’s dwelling – Idea of confinement – ‘vertical bars of a brass-coloured distillation of light’ look like bars of a prison/cage – Erl-King can tie ‘up the winds in his handkerchief’ – Dominant males – childlike, less predatory – Romantic hero, she falls in love with him – Passive females – none, she is mature and purposeful – Supernatural – ‘magic lasso of inhuman music’ – He has a ‘bird call’ – Religion – ‘he says the Devil spits on them at Michaelmas’ The Snow Child

Quotes – ‘midwinter – ‘invincible, immaculate’ – ‘the Countess hated her’ – ‘a feather…a bloodstain…and the rose’ – ‘It bites! ’ – ‘the whole world was white’ – ‘a masculine fantasy’ – Cristina Bacchilega Characters – Snow Child – ‘as white as snow’ – ‘as black as that bird’s feather’ – ‘as red as blood’ – ‘the child of his desire’ – ‘high, black, shining boots with scarlet heels’ AO2 – language, form and structure and how they shape meaning – Language – Alliteration of ‘invicible, immaculate’ exaggerates the extremity of the weather – Rose is a symbol of femininity or the vagina Snow Child bleeds, symbolising menstruation – Bite symbolises the suffering that accompanies being female – childbirth, hymen breaking, menstruation – Form – Vignette – a small, literary sketch – Structure – Written in the 3rd person but from the perspective of the Count – ‘So the girl picks a rose; pricks her finger on the thorn; bleeds; screams; falls. ’ – isolated paragraph, one sentence, uses idea of ‘three’ AO3 – connections between texts and different interpretations Gothic Features – Weather/setting – Bloody Chamber = Snow Child’s vagina – ‘White’ setting and snow symbolises purity and virginity, Dominant males – Masculine control of female identity – Count = Marquis from BC – Creates both women – Countess cannot exist without a Count – Passive females – Countess belongs to Count – she is only a Countess because of him – Price of being the Countess – subservience and a loss of identity – Neither female can exist without the Count – he gives them their power – One must die for the other to survive – Literal objectification of women – Count undresses and dresses Countess as he pleases, creates Snow Child – Incestuous rape – she was not expected to receive pleasure in having sex, she was his sexual object

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The Lady of the House of Love Quotes – ‘Vous serez ma proie’ – ‘Too many roses’ – ‘Now you are at the place of annihilation’ – ‘Fee fie fo fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman’ – ‘A single kiss woke up the Sleeping Beauty in the Wood’ – ‘wisdom, death, dissolution’ – ‘chinoiserie escritoire’ – ‘this ornate and rotting place’ – ‘Can a bird…learn a new song? ’ – ‘the bicycle is the product of pure reason applied to motion’ Characters – Countess – ‘her beauty is an abnormality’ – ‘hunger always overcomes her’ – ‘white lace negligee stained a little with blood’ ‘the fangs and talons of a beast of prey’ – ‘a cave full of echoes’ – ‘the fragility of the skeleton of a moth’ – Soldier – ‘pentacle of his virginity’ – ‘youth, strength and blonde beauty’ – ‘symbol of rationality’ (bicycle) – ‘the trenches of France’ AO2 – language, form and structure and how they shape meaning – Language – Foreign words are slipped into the narrative – allows reader to enter Countess’s bilingual mind e. g. ‘chinoiserie escritoire’ meaning Chinese-style desk/cabinet – Form – Reworked fairy tales – Carter called them ‘new stories’ not ‘versions’ Short stories maximise the impact of Carter’s messages – Structure – Broken up by inset couplets of thoughts, either fairy tale villains’ famous lines, or menacing French phrases, which suggest this is the inner voice of her predatory nature – increase ambiguity – Story is divided in two – first half is present tense, second half is past tense – more fairy-tale like AO3 – connections between texts and different interpretations – References to the modern world – ‘the trenches of France’ (see BC) – Humour – ‘you will be led by hand to the Countess’s larder’ (see PIB, COW) Gothic Features Weather/setting – ‘cracked mirrors’ – the Countess does not bear a reflection – ‘Too many roses’ – roses are beautiful and dangerous like her – Bird in the cage symbolises her entrapment in her vampiric body – ‘she likes to hear it announce how it cannot escape’ – Predatory females – ‘the fangs and talons of a beast of prey’ yet she evokes sympathy as she tries to change her fate – ‘Fee Fie Fo Fum’ places her in the role of the villain, ‘Sleeping Beauty’ places her in the role of the victim – Supernatural – Soldier does not believe in supernatural: ‘this lack of imagination gives heroism to the hero’ Foreshadowing – The Tarot cards change for the first time ever The Werewolf Quotes – ‘they have cold weather, they have cold hearts’ – ‘supernumerary nipple’ – ‘Harsh, brief, poor lives. ’ – ‘she prospered’ – ‘they stone her to death’ Characters – Child – ‘good child’ – ‘coat of sheepskin’ – Wolf – ‘grizzled chops’ – ‘less brave than they seem’ AO2 – language, form and structure and how they shape meaning – Language – Very unemotional in places – ‘they stone her to death’, ‘she prospered’ – detached narrator – Tricolons emphasise repetition and simplicity of their lives – ‘harsh, brief, poor lives’ Extensive description of superstitions highlights their importance – also seen in Company of Wolves – Pathetic fallacy – ‘cold weather… cold hearts’ – setting mirrors personalities of inhabitants – Very simple language – fairy tale language, childlike, simple to understand – Structure – Isolated paragraph with one sentence – ‘Winter and cold weather. ’ AO3 – connections between texts and different interpretations – Superstition – ‘wreaths of garlic on the doors’ (see COW, EK, LOHOL) Gothic Features – Weather/setting – Pathetic fallacy – Supernatural – Superstitions – wolves, witches, devil – Foreshadowing Descriptions of superstitions at the beginning The Company of Wolves Quotes – ‘you are always in danger in the forest’ – ‘a man who vanished clear away on her wedding night’ – ‘the forest closed upon her like a pair of jaws’ – ‘they are grey as famine’ – ‘you will suffer’ – ‘we try and try’ – ‘blood on snow’ – ‘Quack, quack! went the duck’ Characters – Heroine – ‘she is an unbroken egg’ – ‘she knew she was nobody’s meat’ – ‘she has just started her woman’s bleeding’ – ‘so pretty’ – Wolf – ‘the tender wolf’ – ‘fear and flee the wolf’ AO2 – language, form and structure and how they shape meaning Language – Narrator addresses the reader – ‘you are always in danger’, ‘you will suffer’, ‘we try and try’ – Written as if to recreate the oral tradition of fairytales – ‘Quack, quack! went the duck’ – ‘hurl your Bible at him’, ‘call on Christ…but it won’t do you any good’, It is Christmas Day, the werewolves’ birthday’, ‘canticles of the wolves’ – undermining religion (canticle = short song/hymn) – ‘The forest closed on her like a pair of jaws’ – isolated simile, only sentence in paragraph, highlight isolated setting – typically Gothic (see ‘Dead as his wives’ simile in BC = isolated) Fairytale – ‘What big eyes you have’, ‘All the better to see you with’ (‘All the better to see you’ = BC) – Metaphor – ‘night and forest has come into the kitchen’ – Structure – Lengthy introduction highlights importance of superstitions and wolves in the lives of the people – Opens reader’s mind to the supernatural – it is common here – No speech marks increase the strangeness of the story – also, there would be no speech marks in oral tradition AO3 – connections between texts and different interpretations – Fairy tale motifs (see BC, EK, LOTHOL) – Personification of the woods (see EK) Gothic Features Religion – ‘you must run as if the Devil were after you’ – Weather/setting – Personification of the forest ‘like a pair of jaws’, also simile, similar to EK – Night time setting – typically Gothic, increases ambiguity – Dominant male – wolf – Non-passive female – she laughs at him, ‘she knew she was nobody’s meat’ Wolf Alice Quotes – ‘the corners of his bloody chamber’ – room of clothes where Duke’s prey live – ‘it showed us what we could have been’ – ‘her pace is not our pace’ – ‘the wise child who leads them all’ Characters – Duke – ‘his eyes see only appetite’ – ‘he is white as leprosy’ Wolf Alice – ‘not wolf or woman’ AO2 – language, form and structure and how they shape meaning – Language – Carter quickly allies herself with the reader and separates Wolf-Alice – ‘her pace is not our pace’ – Religious reference to Garden of Eden – ‘wise child who leads them all’ – Duke is ‘cast into the role of the corpse-eater’ – not the whole truth? – ‘She could not put her finger on’ – finger in italics, reminds us she is human AO3 – connections between texts and different interpretations Gothic Features – Weather/setting – Duke’s castle – Gothic reinterpretation of the fairytale castle ‘Moony metamorphic weather’ – setting mirrors Duke – Presence of the moon – time, menstruation, Gothic night time, when the Duke is awake – Graveyard settings – Dominant males – Duke – not a real man, doesn’t cast a reflection, doesn’t have a soul, does have physical strength, doesn’t talk to her – ‘separate solitudes’ – Passive females – Wolf-Alice is a strong female, physically, and becomes intellectually stronger throughout the story – Supernatural – Duke is a werewolf/vampire – Superstition/religion – ‘Young husband’ fills a church with silver bullets, holy water, ‘bells, books and candles’

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