Essay on Power and Knowledge in Angela Carter’s ‘The Bloody Chamber’

Essay on Power and Knowledge in Angela Carter’s ‘The Bloody Chamber’

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The Oxford University Dictionary defines the word power as ‘authority or control’ over an individual and knowledge as ‘the sum of what is known’. In Angela Carter’s story The Bloody Chamber (1979) knowledge and power correlate with each other. The more information a character possesses the greater authority they have. In The Bloody Chamber Carter utilises a variety of literary techniques to express the importance of knowledge and power in the plot. This essay will analyse the way Carter applies these literary techniques to the story to express the importance of knowledge and power.
Firstly, the literary technique symbolism has been used to represent power. The ruby choker, given to the Bride by the Marquis, is a symbol of power. The Bride describes the choker as a ‘choker of rubies, two inches wide, like an extraordinarily precious slit throat...bright as arterial blood’. This depiction is a useful method of representing the Marquis power because the necklace acts like a collar. This signifies how the Marquis behaves like his Bride’s master. (why master?) An example of the Marquis expressing this power is when the Marquis takes the Bride’s virginity. The Marquis tells the Heroine to wear the choker before consummating their marriage; in relation to power, this shows how the Marquis has the right to her body. Moreover, the overwhelming presence of lilies in the bridal chamber represents the loss of virginity. The quote ‘[mirrors] on the wall...reflected more white lilies that I’d ever seen in my life’ (pg10-11). This exhibits the overpowering image of lilies for the reason that lilies in reality connote death or loss, in the context of the story; this is the loss of the Brides virginity. In addition to this, the resemblance of th...


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... each other and ultimately determine the fate of the characters in the story, especially the fate of the Heroine.




Works Cited

Oxford University Press (2010) Oxford Dictionaries “knowledge”. Available at: http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/knowledge (Accessed: 13 December 2011).
Oxford University Press (2010) Oxford Dictionaries “power”. Available at: http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/power (Accessed: 13 December 2011).

(PDF Quotes page 5cited as a webpage with author) Fernandes, A.R. (2009/2010) “The Bloody Chamber” and “O Belo Adormecido”: intertextuality as an effective strategy to subvert conventions. Available at: http://ceh.ilch.uminho.pt/Pub_Ana_Raquel_Fernandes.pdf (Accessed: 27 November 2011)

(Google ebook page 96) Roemer, D.M and Bacchilega, C. (2000) Angela Carter and the Fairy Tale. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press.

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