There is a rich and compelling force of the writing of Angela Carter which effectively suspends our disbelief in her subject matter
There is a rich and compelling force of the writing of Angela Carter, which effectively suspends our disbelief in her subject matter.
Discuss.Carter was a notable promoter of magic realism, who added into it Gothic themes, violence, and eroticism. She utilized throughout her work the language and characteristic motifs of the fantasy genre. Her work represents a successful combination of post-modern literary theories and feminist politics. Within the captivating short stories in “The Bloody Chamber”, Carter talks bout masculinity and femininity and the way society looks at it. She is able to combine the two together very well through fairy tales and using it as a way to explore the female identity.
Carter is seen by many as “attempting to recapture the lost lands of her sex, and as writing, for herself and her fellows, a kind of archaeology of the female psyche, in which the fairy tales of the little girl, the Romances of the teenager, and then the sharper tones of the young adult, are scrutinised with the cold eye of the boudoir philosopher”.In “The Bloody Chamber”, Angela Carter reworks some of the West’s best-known fairy-tales, transforming them with “brilliantly baroque imagery” and from a perspective that owes almost as much to Freud as it does to feminism.Some readers of Angela Carter’s “The Bloody Chamber” have seen its narrator-protagonist as a passive young woman who makes little attempt to avoid her apparent fate. Several features of the text, however, suggest that the protagonist is rather a woman in process, a person who fluctuates between passivity and action.
The features that suggest a woman in process are Carter’s engagement of ideas also appearing in Susan Gubar’s essay on Isak Dinesen’s short story “The Blank Page”; Carter’s use of mirrors to show the protagonist’s emerging sense of subjectivity; and references to Richard Wagner’s opera Tristan and Isolde (Notes on Revisionist Fairy Tales). In addition, the heroine’s comments at the end of the story indicate that she continues to be a woman in process, relating her story as an attempt to expiate her shame. Carter’s women are allowed a vigour that enables them to save themselves or rescue each other, unlike the women of the traditional fairy-tales. Angela Carters use of desperate circumstances transforms the fairy tale conventions beyond its boundaries and into the realm of gothic fantasy. She also uses sustained periods of tense feelings to create an atmosphere of pressure fear.
Also by adding horrific detail and descriptive/strong references to sexuality the story no longer fits into the classic fairy tale genre.When describing Marquis, Carter uses a lot of heavy descriptions, giving every word and ominous meaning and thus leaving us with disturbing images of his character. When telling us of the heroine’s first opera visit, Carter highlights the perversity of their age difference through very subtle and tactful ways. She does not give us figures, but situations that show the girl’s premature ness and Marquis’ maturity.
For example the first time the protagonist goes to the opera is when she was a mere child, yet Marquis was already married to his opera singer wife at that time.When describing the gift Marquis gave his naï¿½ve, infantile wife; the ruby chocker, Carter uses many similes/imageries linking to blood and flesh. In doing so, she is able to create an extremely pervert and extraordinary environment for us, conveying a sense of terror within the readers. Her reference to “the Terror” brings blood and gore to our minds, as we remember the aristocrats being guillotined. The dark, red, black images we are presented with bring us back to the Gothic genre, breaking fairy tale boundaries.
Carter does not always use blood to signify terror, but she uses it to show innocence and naivety; when “the blood rushed to her face again”, the blood rises here out of shyness.Many find it difficult to read Carter’s work as a feminist story, but at times as an anti-feminist one. The protagonist seems to pathetic, childish and so weak that she allows herself to get corrupted. There are many moments when she lets herself be infantilised by Marquis, through the way he talks to her, “pets” her and even looks at her.
Carter is able to correct these readers’ misconception by introducing the mother who possess masculine characteristics as the protagonist’s saviour, “knight in shining armour”. The grand entrance of the mother on her horse has a lot of classical imagery, making it very powerful; allowing the mother to break the binary system between victim and victor.Angela Carter makes good use of narrative, plots, imagery and language to create scenes in horrific detail that helps to capture the reader’s attention.