Famous Literary Text By Angela Carter "Chamber of Bloody"

While engaged in Angela Carter’s famous literary text, “The Bloody Chamber”, the reader is usually complexed between two possibilities about the identity of its narrator. Is she an innocent virgin, truly disgusted with the sexual advances her husband makes, or is she a knowing, well-intended sexual woman whose “potentiality for corruption” makes her all the more dangerous? Although this debate has been argued well on both sides, secret possibility number three emerges. In this text, I will argue that Carter depicts her narrator as neither innocent or guilty.

In fact, the narrator we get is a rather feminist-based, immature, selfish woman who rejects the traditional roles of wife and mother. By rejecting society and creating her own path, she ultimately learns to love herself, finding peace in her role as a caregiver through an equal partnership.

​In the beginning of Carter’s fairytale, the narrator attempts to disguise herself as the innocent virgin she was expected to be before marriage at this time, with references to holiness such as “white, enclosed quietude” and more explicitly “little nun”.

Reading the introduction text, however, it is nearly impossible to ignore Carter’s overwhelming use of sexual language that ultimately takes over the narrator’s voice. The opening line quotes, “I remember how, that night, I lay awake in the wagon-lit in a tender, delicious ecstasy of excitement, my burning cheek pressed against the impeccable linen of the pillow. The vocabulary she uses to look back on that night highlights her deeper desire for sexual fulfillment despite her declaration of innocence.

Get quality help now
Prof. Finch

Proficient in: Literary Genre

4.7 (346)

“ This writer never make an mistake for me always deliver long before due date. Am telling you man this writer is absolutely the best. ”

+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

Even more, telling is her longing for her husband’s “caresses” despite, after, what she recalls to be a not-so-loving sexual experience.

For a girl so innocent who “knows nothing of the world”, she sure knows how she wants to be touched. Also, when describing an encounter with her husband before they were married, her description of the “most pornographic”, “etching” that he shows her leaves her “stirring” with excitement. Our narrator contradicts herself too many times for us to overlook. One could look at Carter’s emphasis on innocence as a representation of the narrator’s sexual inexperience, but perhaps all that is happening here is an emphasis on youth and inexperience. Her husband refers to her as his “baby”, his “child”, his “little love, and to suggest Carter did this with no intent is hard to believe. His language is an example of his low level of respect for his new wife, regarding her as emotionally immature and knowledgeable. In support of this, the narrator does little to fight back against his view of her.

The reader is left to believe his view of her as childish is a valid representation. Again, we see her childlike attitude when her husband leaves her on their honeymoon. Most Women would not be thrilled at this idea, and although she expresses she is not, her actions speak differently. She races “crazily” throughout her home, playing dress-up in “the costume of a student” and “surprising” her housekeeper. Carter does a great job with language, so much so that the descriptions take over what is being said, a purposeful loss of translation through text. Her immaturity is again seen with her refusal to accept the “aspects of marriage”. Her defiance is a dominant feminist take on married life, also childlike. She refuses to acknowledge her husband’s previous three wives, and makes it clear to the reader that instead of participating in household life, she will spend her time in “the picture gallery”.

Carter’s play on the word costume in the above quote is ironically similar to the symbolic costume of wife that the narrator refuses to take on. When the narrator is asked what she would like to eat for dinner, she boldly rejects and happily embraces “sandwiches and a flash of coffee”. She is ultimately rejecting all responsibilities of her new life as a wife but jumps for joy at the pleasures. The narrator’s rejection of her new responsibilities and her “costume” of marriage serves as a metaphor for her rejection of the role of wife. The traditionality that comes along with marriage in this time period is the dominance of man over woman, displayed here by Marquis’s pornography and overwhelming assertiveness. After realizing her place in this marriage, in society, she is left feeling “furious”. She ultimately feels bad for the previous wives whose bodies she finds in the bloody chamber because she realizes they allowed Marquis to dominant their relationship, she however makes it clear she refuses to be like the rest.

The narrator’s attitude towards motherhood is supporting evidence of her innocence being misinterpreted by immaturity. Early on, the narrator expresses little respect for motherhood. Her own mother is “indomitable”, a “poor widow”, but her child-like nature causes her to recount her as “eccentric”. Ironically, in light of how her life transpires, the narrator tells of how her own mother “teased” her for wanting to carry a gun. She also seems to feel her own mother lost her position in society when she became a mother, expressing this by asserting her mother’s position only after she has married. Also, the length of time she holds off, or “defer(s)” from calling her mother seems strange for a mother-daughter duo that’s strong and healthy. When she does speak to her mother, the subject of marriage is brief and unentertained. The description of Marquis’s murdered wives also places an emphasis on the narrator’s disapproval of motherhood when she describes one of them with “bony hips”. The previous realization from the narrator that this woman literally sacrificed themselves for their husbands and then this comment, create an underlying tone of the disapproval of motherhood.

The narrator’s desire to “cling” to her husband who looks at her like a “child” represents her unwillingness to accept the role of wife and motherhood and instead stay in a childlike position. More so, “The Bloody Chamber” is a fairytale based on a woman’s transition from a selfish “seventeen-year-old girl” to a woman ready for marriage. The turnaround in Carter’s fairytale is when the narrator enters her husband’s forbidden room and discovers the fate of the many women, like her, before her. The narrator realizes her actions are all too similar to this woman and so if she did not stand up to her husband, like these submissive wives, she would lose her life to his dominance. She makes a conscious decision to fight for her life, and tells herself that she will wake in the morning, “once again a virgin”. It is after this that Jean Yves is introduced, whose character alone should have its own book. His name, being the only character given a name, asserts his importance in the narrator’s life. He is romanticized, being described as “lovely” and more importantly, “a boy”. All Jean Yves can offer her is “comfort”, but what he really gives her is an equal playing field.

His offer represents a new kind of relationship for the narrator, one where “he would come with me, if I would lead him”, of equal partnership. Jean Yves also seemingly changes her perspective on motherhood as it is only after their unity that she refers to herself positively as her “mother’s daughter”. Here, she accepts her role and expresses respect for her mother. In the end, Carter makes is clear that the narrator lives happily ever after with her equal. The reference of herself as the “curious child” is no longer there and instead replaced when she gives her castle to the children who need it. Finally, the narrator found a way to be at peace with marriage, motherhood, and herself. Angela Carter’s, “The Bloody Chamber” is written as a fairytale to lightly heartily make way for a story ultimately about one woman’s journey from child to the bride.

Carter’s sexual language makes it more complex to read between the lines, but when you do, you will find an underlying message of a simple girl trying to make her way in the world. Like many of Carter’s work, feminism and the idea that happiness does not mean the loss of self sit heavily throughout this text. Carter’s narrator is neither innocent nor corrupt, she is instead simply an inquisitive, light-hearted, “seventeen-year-old girl”. “The Bloody Chamber,” tells a story of self-love, self-acceptance, and true happiness. Only because Carter’s narrator rejects society so heavily is she able to break away from the chaotic expectations she is expected to meet. Her defiance and refusal to lose herself to a man is what makes this fairytale one that truly ends with a happy ever after, not only for the man but for the woman as well.

Cite this page

Famous Literary Text By Angela Carter "Chamber of Bloody". (2021, Dec 10). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/famous-literary-text-by-angela-carter-chamber-of-bloody/

Famous Literary Text By Angela Carter "Chamber of Bloody"
Let’s chat?  We're online 24/7