Essay on Angela Carter’s The Bood Chamber

Essay on Angela Carter’s The Bood Chamber

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In Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber, the theme of transformation appears throughout the short story cycle. The hero/heroine’s virginity acts as a source of strength that protects them from harm. Their lack of fear also saves them from death. Virginity acts as power of potentia, either literally or symbolically and results in a release of an observed transformative power. The bloody chamber serves a different symbolic purpose of transformation for Beauty in “The Courtship of Mr Lyon”, the heroine in “The Tiger’s Bride” and the Countess in “The Lady of the House of Love”. Each of these characters will embark on a journey that questions their selfhood in circumstances that are presented to them and ultimately each will go through a transformation involving maturation of the self, love, loss or magic.
In “The Courtship of Mr Lyon” Beauty’s father breaks a white rose from a rosebush and the Beast appears beside him and “[shakes] him like an angry child shakes a doll” (Carter 44). After this incident, the Beast allows him to take the rose home to Beauty, but in return he must bring her back for dinner. This is the beginning of Beauty’s journey that leads to her transformation. Beauty is portrayed as a pure ideal figure, associated with images of whiteness, virginity and purity. She is described as a “lovely girl, whose skin possess the same, inner light so you would have thought she, too, was made of all snow…white and unmarked as a spilled bolt of bridal satin” (41). Beauty is susceptible to change and corruptibility through access to material wealth, flattery, living in the city and the possibility of being independent of obligations to the Beast. These blind her to ideas of true value. When Beauty looks into the Beast’s eyes, she ...


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... to her pure better self, our heroine transforms into a tigress and the Countess is transformed into a human. They each enter their own destined selfhood through self reflection. However, each being must individually endure the reality of the battle and suffer in order to be reborn again and become what they are meant to be. Regardless of being human, beast or vampire, each undergo a transformation that encounter instances of loss, magic love and maturation.



Works Cited

Carter, Angela. The Bloody Chamber. New York: Penguin Books, 1993. Print
Carter, Angela. “The Courtship of Mr Lyon.” The Bloody Chamber. New York: Penguin
Books, 1993. 41-51. Print
Carter, Angela. “The Tiger’s Bride.” The Bloody Chamber. New York: Penguin
Books, 1993. 51-67. Print
Carter, Angela. “The Lady of the House of Love.” The Bloody Chamber. New York:
Penguin Books, 1993. 93-108. Print

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