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The Bloody Chamber - Spine 2016 > Discussion One - The Bloody Chamber

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message 1: by Jim (new)

Jim | 3055 comments Mod
This discussion covers The Bloody Chamber


message 2: by Jim (new)

Jim | 3055 comments Mod
I realize as I read these stories, I have no recollection of the tales they're derived from.

In this story, mother and daughter join forces to defeat the murderer. How is this different, and/or, how does this relate to the original?


message 3: by Whitney (new)

Whitney | 326 comments Here's a link to the Bluebeard story from Perrault by way of Andrew Lang. Blue Beard. According to Wikipedia, Carter had been translating Perrault's fairy tales before writing The Bloody Chamber, so the reasonable assumption is that those were the versions of the fairy tales she most had in mind.

At the end of the original, one of the morals listed (aside from the predictable one on the dangers of female curiosity) is that "No husband of our age would be so terrible as to demand the impossible of his wife, nor would he be such a jealous malcontent."

I loved the way Carter began the story using language and descriptions implying it takes place in those usual days of yore and then started introducing elements moving it into more modern times; including the bank of telephones on the Marquis' desk and the supposed business trip to New York. And the heroine is less the naif of the original, with her admitted arousal and her realization of the sexual power that her innocence carries over the marquis. A little less serial-killery, and the story could almost be a 50 Shades of Gray prototype, the Marquis de Sade brought into the modern age and his willingly corruptible ingenue (okay, I haven't read 50 Shades, I'm just assuming that's the arc based on popular buzz).

Also relevant towards recognizing that woman have some agency, even in a world that treats them as chattel, is that the rescue is by the (badass) mother, rather than the brothers. As well as the use of the inherited fortune to start a school for the blind rather than to provide dowries for the sisters and commissions for the brothers.


message 4: by Regina (new)

Regina Mortua (reginamortua) | 1 comments For me The Bloody Chamber is embodiment of Angela Carter’s philosophy of participating in “the demythologizing business”. Whatever original(s) she uses, she masters distorting it in such ways that her methods pave the way for turning upside down common notions of gender, sex, power and submission. Now, when I write this I realize that the above statement may sound a bit cliché but more or less it summarizes my understanding of the Carter-text. As any other of her writings this particular one takes on several points to change them into a sort of a game for the (implied) reader.
• I appreciate the fact that Carter’s heroines in their majority have a voice. They are allowed to tell their own story (despite the implications the unreliable narrator poses on the text or exactly because of them). Telling a story is an action and as such it opposes the idea of female passivity. I believe Angela Carter works effectively in turning history into herstory.
• The heroine from The Bloody Chamber is the one travelling (it is true that this is a journey similar to those of Radcliff’s heroines who travel either because they are kidnapped or because they flee from the villain but it is still stepping outside the boundaries of the patriarchy), yes, she is travelling towards the home of her husband but it is true that she is undertaking an initiation which would result in finding herself.
• The mother saves the daughter showing confidence and power. She handles gun as well as a man (which shows that a woman can have the phallus thank you very much).
I like the metaphor of the “scrap yard” that Lorna Sage coins (if I am not mistaken) – Carter uses the Canon from which she takes bits and pieces to create her masterpieces.


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