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The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories

Livre ( N°411 sur 1105 )
Fantastique | Horreur | Classics | Gothic | Literature | Fairy Tales | Short Stories | Vampires | Anthologies | Feminism
Angela Carter
Angela Carter's short stories challenge the way women are represented in fairy tales, yet retain an air of tradition & convention thru her voluptuously descriptive prose. For example, in the opening tale "The Bloody Chamber" which is a retelling of Bluebeard, Carter plays with the conventions of canonical fairy tales. Instead of the heroine being rescued by the stereotypical male hero, she is rescued by her mother. Carter explores her feminist views in her omniscient 3rd person narrative technique. The stories deal with themes of women's roles in relationships & marriage, their sexuality, coming of age & corruption. Stories such as "The Bloody Chamber" & "The Company of Wolves" explicitly deal with the horrific or corrupting aspects of marriage &/or sex & the balance of power within such relationships. Themes of female identity are explored in the "Beauty & the Beast" stories such as "The Tiger's Bride". In one instance, Beauty: the story's heroine, is described as removing the petals from a white rose as her father gambles her away, a seeming representation of the stripping away of the false layers of her personality to find her true identity; an image that finds a mirror in the story's fantastical conclusion. The stories are updated to more modern settings. The exact time periods remain vague, but they are clearly anchored rather intentionally. For example, in "The Bloody Chamber" the existence of transatlantic telephone implies 1930 or later. On the other hand, the mention of painters such as Gustave Moreau & Odilon Redon, & of fashion designer Paul Poiret (who designs one of the heroine's gowns) all suggest a date before 1945. "The Lady of the House of Love" is clearly set on the eve of WWI, & the young man's bicycle on which he arrives at the tradition-bound vampire's house is a symbol of the encroaching modernity which fundamentally altered European society after 1914.

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