Essay Gothic Conventions in The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

Essay Gothic Conventions in The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

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Gothic Conventions in The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

The Gothic is often distinguished by an atmosphere of terror,
darkness, mystery, the unexplained and the transgression of
boundaries. This essay will attempt to dissect how Angela Carter uses
Gothic conventions in the passage taken out of her novel, 'The Bloody
Chamber'.

One of the most predominant conventions manipulated here is that of a
dark and mysterious atmosphere. Throughout the passage the feeling of
terror prevails. This is first started by the protagonist's taking of
a "forbidden key". This stirs up a feeling of disquiet, as it implies
a certain degree of prohibition and disapproval towards her task. She
later enforces that her bravery is somewhat foolish ("foolhardiness")
giving the reader an ominous feeling. She then mentions a "castle".
Its presence contributes to the feeling of mystery as we do not know
what lies ahead within this icon of the past. Also, here lies the
starting of her description of the "dark" that seems to constantly
surround her - "very late", "ill-lit", "absolute darkness",
"dim…light". There is an emphasis on the dimness and this makes her
environment seem very bleak and unwelcoming. Furthermore, evil is
thought to be more rampant and stronger in the twilight. The
difficulty in which light penetrates the night can also show how the
malevolent force within the castle is extremely potent, unsettling the
reader. This further exemplified by how any light that penetrates is
"dim", "lugubrious", and "cool (and) sad". Light is the motif of
goodness, hence this emblematically represents how evil is triumphant
over good in the bastion. Light also symbolically reveals: as the
character "lights those candles" around the...


... middle of paper ...


...r's fingers" are contrasted to the opera singer's "white
breast". A sadistic image is also exhibited by the smile formed by her
"dead lips". An indication of a double is also present. Right after
the protagonist speaks of taking of her "garments" of innocence and
hence becoming "naked", the spotlight is swiftly pushed to the dead
opera singer who "lay quite naked" as well. Just as the opera singer
was strangled, so did the character find earlier her "breathing" was
being "muffled". This creates a morbid fascination within the reader,
who will want to continue to find out if they will share the same
fate.

Hence, we see that Carter has successfully maneuvered the Gothic
convention of a dark and mysterious setting in the text while
effectively integrating other elements of the Gothic, allowing the
reader to experience what the protagonist is going through.

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