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E 350 Lecture Notes - The Bloody Chamber, Angela Carter, Sabines

6 pages84 viewsSpring 2013

Course Code
E 350
Ellen Brinks

of 6
30 April
Angela Carter
Gothic tale merged with fairy tale
Fairy tales
Oral folk tales – for community
Children’s tales
18th – 19th century
Didatic – lesson to be learned
Original violence removed
Charles Perrault
Wife marries for wealth and pleasure
Not seen as a bad thing
Unnatural curiosity – inability to control
Saved by brothers
Happily remarries
Dangers of female curiosity
Subtitled: the fatal effects of curiosity
Her terror is her punishment/warning to female child reader
Beard – virility, age, hiding the face (secrecy), lust, diabolical
The Bloody Chamber
Why does she marry her husband?
Money – poor background, clothing, attention/envy of others
Animal smell – leather, cigar smoke, silent tread
His power – secrets
His sexual desire for her
What does he awaken in her?
Sense of vanity
Disgust/repulsion coupled/inextricable from desire
Desire for what is sexually perverse/”corrupt”
What images of women over the course of the narrative is the heroine defining herself
Other wives
Masochist women of pornography
Martyred virgins (Saint Cecilia)
Sabines (Rape of the Sabines)
Dangerous consequences
Women whose curiosity leads to disaster
Collector of women as beautiful possessions
Women as victims
Curiosity is a flaw/something to be punished
What is particularly dangerous in relations between the sexes?
Power balance – women dehumanized and used
Long lineage/history of violence against women
Dangers of patriarchal power – complicity of whole community with his crimes,
silencing of women
Commodification – capitalist mindset infiltrates his entire life
Female complicity with their dehumanization/objectification
Conforms her identity to his desires
What is Carter’s answer to this? What is her purpose in rewriting the fairy tale as she
Rewrites female curiosity
Desires to know who her husband is, something personal
May not save her life, but it saves her integrity
Needs to know/learn her own capacity for corruption
Mother is the heroine
No male figure to save the heroine
Strong female
Physically fearless and strong
Marries for love
Intuitive, emotional wisdom
Ability to handle/know the worst
Sadomasochistic underpinnings of women’s role in Western culture
Eroticism based in pleasure of female
Possibility to be a moral pornographer
Use as a critique of the current relationship between the sexes
Penetration of the ideological framework of the erotic

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