Symbolism And Metaphors In The Tiger's Bride By Angela Carter
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An exploration of the use of symbolism and metaphor in The Tiger’s Bride by Angela Carter
The Tiger’s bride is arguably one of Carter’s most feminist works in the collection; The Bloody Chamber. It is a story that challenges the way in which women are objectified as accessories for men by creating an anti-materialistic female protagonist and also by using symbolism to highlight how society can form a shell over the animal inside us all. Carter dismisses the stereotypical submissive female and celebrates heterosexual female desire from a females point of view; unusual to the time of 1979. The style of Carter including the surreal, rhetorical questions and detailed use of adjectives help to symbolise the power of the female narrator and the patriarchal environment she lives in. Although the story could be seen to lack gothic depth these concepts encapsulate the nature of the short story making it one of the more powerful of the collection.
Sexual desire is a theme occurring throughout the story to highlight the female protagonist’s sexual energy and animalistic transformation. Her libido is foreshadowed upon leaving her father when she gives him a rose ‘all smeared with blood’. Blood is a typical metaphor to convey ideas of fertility and ‘deflowering’ which is used to Carter to foreshadow her loss of virginity to the Tiger. The change from the rose being white, conveying purity, lack of lust and beauty, to red can be seen to symbolise the beginning of her transformation from a innocent ‘item’ like a rose to a more animalistic character which happens at the climax of the story when she removes her clothing. A rose is a very stereotypical gift used to give to those that one may love and appreciate in an intimate way t...
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...stripping off my own under pelt’. The fact that the narrator feels pain taking off her clothes is a powerful way of depicting clothes as a symbol for the shell society can put over women. Carter desires the reader to learn the idea that the heroine has never been an object but has been a tiger underneath her skin for all her life. She just has never had the courage to make the transformation.
In conclusion it is the use of symbolism by Carter that transforms this story into a warning to female readers, that they must remove the ‘under pelt’ that society burdens on them, that they must too run with the tigers. The approach Carter takes on this story with admiration not with the submissive and content but with the strong and overwhelming women that challenge men and attempt transgression over the boundary patriarchal societies place, hindering the potential of women.