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The Bloody Chamber - Spine 2016 > Discussion Six - The Snow Child

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message 1: by Jim (new)

Jim | 3056 comments Mod
This discussion covers The Snow Child


message 2: by Jim (new)

Jim | 3056 comments Mod
Hmmm... I'm not sure what to make of this one. The count makes casual remarks, a child appears, the countess is miffed and tries to off the child who then magically acquires the countess' clothing, then the child disappears and all is back to normal?!?

Foreplay amongst the nobility? Or something else?

Any help on this one?


message 3: by Inak (new)

Inak A man's wish, apparantly that leads to an imaginairy child and who got raped as only raison-d'etre? In snow-white it's the mother who wishes those things.
Oh, the whole bloody-room is a metaphore of the womb!?
Also the 10th kingdom-tvseries is based upon snow-white and more fairy tales, snowwhite as the basic mother-daughter storyline.


message 4: by Sylvie (last edited Mar 08, 2016 08:17AM) (new)

Sylvie | 29 comments The Snow Child is such a short short-story that you can fill in the blanks! I see it as a study in male fantasy and female jealousy. Another way of looking at it, the mixed emotions roused when a daughter becomes nubile. The ending is ambiguous - the countess pricks her finger in the hope of becoming a young woman with red lips, who will be brought to life by the count, but all the rose does is hurt her.

This is a bit different from The Courtship of Mr Lyon and The Tiger's Wife. I can't see a very feminist agenda here. I think A Carter was exploring the subconscious rather than focusing on the superficial aspects of male-female relationships. The stories are lush and sensual, and at the same time disturbing, which is what she was aiming for.


message 5: by Whitney (new)

Whitney | 326 comments Sylvie wrote: "I see it as a study in male fantasy and female jealousy. Another way of looking at it, the mixed emotions roused when a daughter becomes nubile. The ending is ambiguous -.."

I agree with your interpretation of male fantasy / female jealousy and the nubile daughter discomfort (I always thought the song "Butterfly Kisses" had a hugely creepy undertone). I also agree the ending is ambiguous, but maybe not in the same way you do. We don't know that the Countess is pricked by the rose, we only know that she drops it and declares "it bites". She may have been acknowledging the danger of living by the sufferance of the alpha male whose only concern is "fuckability" (to quote Amy Schumer), or she may have been bragging of her own power in vanquishing her rival via her knowledge of that dynamic.

While I don't really like the term "agenda" in looking at literary themes, I wouldn't dismiss this story as less feminist than the others. The story involves male power objectifying females to the point of sexual slavery, and also how women can exploit that relationship to settle their own rivalries within the milieu of male power. That isn't any less feminist an exploration than a more traditional "girl power" kind of story.

As an aside, this story owes something to The Snow, the Crow, and the Blood (link by way of Wikipedia) as well as to the obvious Snow White. Although I suppose Snow White may be considered a variant of that story as well.


message 6: by Sylvie (last edited Mar 09, 2016 02:44AM) (new)

Sylvie | 29 comments Whitney wrote: "Sylvie wrote: "I see it as a study in male fantasy and female jealousy. Another way of looking at it, the mixed emotions roused when a daughter becomes nubile. The ending is ambiguous -.."

I agree..."


My sentence was not clear. I was referring to The Courtship of Mr Lyon and The Tiger's Wife, when I wrote that they did not appear feminist to me in the sense that The Snow Child did.

Your interpretation of the ending of The Snow Child is more subtle than mine. It is interesting that there are several possible interpretations, none of them definitive, not even the author's, were she here to tell us . So long as it does not leave the reader angry and dissatisfied, an ambiguous ending is a strength.

Thanks for pointing me towards the Irish folk tale, The Snow, the Crow, and the Blood. Now here's a tale! The beautiful girl with the red lips, the crow-black hair may get her own way out of Hell, but her anger and petulance, in other words her personality, is subjugated in the end by the handsome young fellow her husband when he breaks a blackthorn over her for ten days.

So many folk tales are variations on the same themes.


message 7: by Whitney (new)

Whitney | 326 comments Ah, yes, I see how I misread your original post.

Sylvie wrote: "but her anger and petulance, in other words her personality, is subjugated in the end by the handsome young fellow her husband when he breaks a blackthorn over her for ten days .."

Good point! I'll take Carter's far more straight-forward rape for what it is, subjugation-wise.


message 8: by Inak (new)

Inak found this link, for reference
http://www.gradesaver.com/the-bloody-...


message 9: by Lorelei (new)

Lorelei (lorelei999) | 6 comments I have really appreciated the comments and the link provided here, which have all brought more layers of meaning and nuance to the text and is exactly what I was hoping to find on this site, good insights and deeper meanings for the books I'm reading.

In general I just want to say that I would never have read Angela Carter without stumbling across this group, and I can't even believe how I have missed hearing about her before this. Her prose is luscious and surprising, a rare find.


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