Untraditional Fairytale Values of The bloody Chamber Essay

Submitted By charlystewart1
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Angela Carter’s ‘The Bloody Chamber’ does not follow the precedent set for the fairy-tale genre. It explores themes that undermine our existing ideas of fairy-tales and how they are interpreted. Though they are not ‘versions’ of the fairy-tales as Carter states to the Guardian, she ‘extracted the latent content from traditional stories and to use it as the beginnings of new stories’ they do have elements of the traditional stories within their meaning. Generally fairy-tales follow a typical story line which explores various pathways that are evident in almost all writings in this genre such as the male and female roles in the story as a whole and in romance, and also a common theme of a fairy-tale is the aspect of innocence which was also subverted by the dark, gothic take Carter took on the stories she used. The collection itself explores wider themes that are not necessarily traditional.
The collection ‘The Bloody Chamber’ embraces the modern attitude towards the way in which male and female characters are portrayed in stories. Traditionally in fairy-tales, or most stories, the lead male character would save the ‘damsel in distress’ and ultimately be the hero of the adventure as the view many years ago was that men and women were not equal, not only in stories but in everyday life. Carter’s collection shines a new light on the female roles in fairy-tales, such as having the virgin bride’s mother save her from the Marquee as opposed to the male piano tuner, Beauty saving the beast as he lies on his deathbed, both show the undermining of the previous way in which they were portrayed, this time as strong characters that can be capable of looking after not only themselves, but the ones they care about. The heroines of these stories are struggling against the rigid ideas of history and biological essentialism to break free from the stereotypes that have been in place for so long.
Staying under the feminism umbrella the collection also rebels against the label of the female character initiating the romantic behaviour towards the male character of the tale. Traditionally the female character would fall hopelessly in love with the handsome male who was inevitably going to save her life at some stage. This is not the case in the Carter’s work as we see male characters such as Mr Lyon falling in love with Beauty who, like many other female characters on the book, appears to be quite aloof to the idea of love. Though the Marquee in ‘The bloody chamber’ is an evil individual who behaved in a violent and merciless manner, he was essentially looking for a woman who he could trust, and trusted him, though his methods were wrong his loneliness got the better of him which contrasts against the belief of men being resistant to the idea of true love. In the…