Essay on The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

Essay on The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

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There is plenty of opportunity for interpretation in Carter’s writing, particularly in her book ‘The Bloody Chamber’ which is commonly considered to be her masterwork, brimming with intertextualities and ambiguities. Some may find her work to be excessively violent or savage, perhaps even alienating. Yet others may have found this no-holds-barred approach to be exhilarating and refreshing in comparison to other authors of her time. In her re-writing of Perrault and Beaumont’s classic tales, Carter proposes a reading of several well-known stories with intent to unveil through a feminist perspective the ideological content they present. “The Bloody Chamber” is her take on the tale of Bluebeard; “The Werewolf” is her variation of the tale of Little Red Riding Hood; and “The Snow Child” is a very brief but equally powerful story based on the tale of Snow White. Whilst some may find her writing to be ‘grossly repellent’ and most certainly did at the time of its original publication, it remains clear that there are numerous aspects of intertextuality within her writing which delve beyond the face value of her work, that there is much latent content within every story in the collection.
A bloody chamber is repeatedly seen in alternate forms within each of the book’s ten stories, which is perhaps a clear indication as to what inspired Carter to select the title. Though the form or representation of the bloody chamber varies from tale to tale, each example has the same implied symbolism of feminist empowerment. For example, in Carter’s “The Bloody Chamber”, an exuberant rewriting of the classic tale of Bluebeard which shares the title of the collection itself, there is a room where sadomasochism and personal revelation occur simultaneously...


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... ed. London: Vintage Classics.
Carter, A, 2013. Shaking A Leg: Collected Journalism and Writings . 1st ed. London: Random.
Cavallaro, D, 2011. The World of Angela Carter: A Critical Investigation. 1st ed. Carolina: McFarland & Co Inc.
Grade Saver. 1999. The Bloody Chamber Study Guide & Essays. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.gradesaver.com/the-bloody-chamber/. [Accessed 03 January 14].
Marina Warner. 2012. Marina Warner on why Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber still bites. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/books/marina-warner-on-why-angela-carter-s-the-bloody-chamber-still-bites-1-2528708. [Accessed 03 January 14].
Unknown. 2012. The Bloody Chamber: AS & A2 Critical Debates: Feminism. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.yorknotes.com/alevel/the-bloody-chamber/study/contexts-critical-debates/04020300_critical-debates. [Accessed 03 January 14].

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