The Bloody Chamber and Pippi L?ngstrump

?resundsgymnasiet Landskrona

Comparison of The Bloody Chamber and Pippi L?ngstrump


Betty Hansson

Landskrona 2019

Mentor: Christoffer Johansson

1 Introduction


In the following assignment, the novel ‘The Bloody Chamber’ by Angela Carter and children’s book, Pippi l?ngstump written by Astrid Lindgren will be analyzed in depth. The focus in the assignment will be on how author’s language, characters and symbol criticize the social structure in which men have power over women


The purpose of the assignment is to create a deeper level of understanding to the author’s use of language in the novel The Bloody Chamber and the children’s book Pippi L?ngstrump and understand their feminist views.

Areas of investigation

Definition of concepts

Patriarchal community structure: Describes a general structure in which men have power over women. Society (n.) is the entirety of relations of a community. A patriarchal society consists of a male-dominated power structure throughout organized society and in individual relationships.

Power is related to privilege.

 In a system in which men have more power than women, men have some level of privilege to which women are not entitled. (Thoughtco, 2019)

2. Method

2.1 Literature review

In the literature review have the following literatures been used:

Patriarchal Society According to Feminism- Is written by Linda Napikoski, with contributions by Jone Johnsson Lewis. Linda Napikoski earned a Juris Doctor (J.D.) with a concentration in International Law from the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University in 2009 which makes source credible. The source is about the definition of patriarchy and the concept is centralized by feminist theories to explain the stratification of power and privilege by gender.

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3. Results

3.1 Summary of The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

The novel ‘The Bloody Chamber’ written by Angela Carter and is based on a fairy tale. The nameless narrator, a young beautiful, virgin teenage girl, marries an older aristocat, a French Marquis because of his wealth, whom she does not love. The newlywed bride arrives at his castle and is about to discover some of his deepest secrets. While away from a business meeting he left her chain of keys to every room in the castle and tells her not to enter the forbidden room in the castle. Out of curiosity she enters the forbidding room and discovers his collection of pornographic images and the bodies of his previous wives. In shock, she drops the key to the forbidding room and gets a stain of blood. Before she knew it the Marquis returns home and discovers that she has entered the forbidding room and proceeds to try and murder her to become a collection of the corpses. The plan didn’t fall through because she was saved at the last moment by her mother.

3.1.1 Summary of Pippi L?ngstrump by Angela Carter

3.2 Portrayal of women

Through The Bloody Chamber Angela Carter criticize society’s view of the current patriarchy between men and women. By using her feminist views in the story she highlights the women empowerment to go against the patriarchy, but shows also an awareness of the objectification of women in The Bloody Chamber, as well as in Pippi Longstrump by Astrid Lindgren.

In The Bloody Chamber are the wives, both past and present objectified by the Marquis. The narrator is a young virgin who appears to display certain characteristics that can be related to the feminine innocence and pure side of a woman. In contrast, her husband, an older Marquis adjust the young girl’s innocence and pureness into and object of lust, in order to satisfy his sexual desires. The Marquis erects multiple of mirrors in a room, stripping her naked, while he is clothed “unwrapping” her, allowing the male gaze to observe every angle of an innocent body which makes the gaze become an object. Carter is using the female narrator to represent the voice of one in many women that have become lost in the patriarchal society. The narrator repeatedly becomes a third person when she discuss her own thoughts, in which could imply that she feels uncomfortable in her own skin. She sees herself from the outside of her body and keeps getting further away which associates the mirrors that are portrayed in the story. The young girl is becoming ‘othered’ by herself through the acknowledgement of the self- critical nature of a woman that confirms the norm to the male gaze; therefore she reflects many images of herself into two and becomes the passive female in The Bloody Chamber.

‘When I saw him look at me with lust, I dropped my eyes but, in glancing away from him, I caught sight of myself in the mirror. And I saw myself, suddenly, as he saw me'(Carter, 2006: 6).

When the younger girl was given a ruby choker as a wedding gift by her husband, it got clasped round her throat; Carter uses it as a symbol to portray the objectification of a woman in patriarchal society and it provides an imagery of oppression, representing that she is now a possession of him and can do whatever he desires. The Marquis “kisses those blazing rubies, too. He kissed them before he kissed my mouth”, which represents that Marquis does not value the young girl as a person, but rather the wealth of his own possessions.

However the mother of the daughter is an independent woman and shows a fierce side

of her which embodies a feminist’s dream. The “indomitable” mother is a figure of strength, encouragement and courage, the opposite of the daughter; shooting “a man- eating tiger with her own hand”, traits of a masculine hero which symbolizes an independence of power that is traditionally held by men before the social structure developed to an equal society. Yet the mother is equipped with “maternal telepathy” which presents an empowerment through feminine strength but the mother’s masculine qualities cannot be ignored by describing her as having a “white mane”, which is usually referred to men. The mother oppose societies expectations of a “traditional” women, because she promotes a choice for her daughter by asking “Are you sure you love him?” She offers her daughter a choice of marrying the “richest man in France” and is concerned if the choice her daughter makes is through love and not money.


Throughout The Bloody Chamber, Angela Carter uses a language to show attitudes and values towards “power” in different ways through symbolic imagery’s.

Carter uses a lot of red color in The Bloody Chamber and the girl is given a red choker, ”choker of rubies, two inches wide, like an extraordinarily precious slit throat, bright as arterial blood.” (Carter, 1979) The given necklace is a symbol of objectification as she is now his object and owns her and that he could do anything with her as he wishes. The red choker is also a similarity to the red ribbon tied around the neck of the people who will be executed by guillotine in the French revolution, which could be a foreshadowing imagery of the young girl’s slit neck. Yet, Carter uses the symbolic view of jewelry to develop the bride’s character by putting on the ruby choker and that is when she begins to reflect over her own life and it makes her seem more than a young, virgin pianist who knew nothing about the world.

In The Bloody Chamber Carter uses white as it often represents purity and innocence while lilies represent refined beauty. The flower is a way of showing a sort of symbolism and the white lily is known to represents modesty and virginity. The appearance of lilies in the story was when Marquis covers the whole room with white lilies, “it looked like an embalming parlour”(Carter,) to welcome his newly wed bride as he takes her virginity. In contrast with the unlighted set scene of darkness in the bedroom, is the flower a representation of the narrator’s innocence in a corrupt and dark setting. The white lilies could be referred as a hint of what could be a funeral, as there is soon to be a wedding.

“Possessed of that strange, ominous calm of a sentient vegetable, like one of those cobra-headed, funeral lilies whose white sheaths are curled out of a flesh as thick and tensely yielding as the touch as vellum.” 

Carter presents mirrors in The Bloody Chamber as a symbolism of how others’ images of oneself and through how they are seen by others.

“I saw him watching me in the gilded mirrors with the assessing eye of a connoisseur inspecting horseflesh, or even of a housewife in the market, inspecting cuts on the slab.”


In the Bloody Chamber, Angela Carter uses mirrors as reappearing motifs to convey the theme of the objectification of women. The young girl reflects many times of the image of herself and choses of becoming one of many of those images. The symbol connects that she is one of the many fallen victims of the Marquis to hold power over and to be manipulated. By the time she were surrounded by many mirrors she stands stripped naked, which represents vulnerability for a woman, while the Marquis stands clothed “unwrapping” her.


The Bloody Chamber serves a symbolic purpose of the story by repeatedly brings up blood in every aspect of the story. The Bloody Chamber represents violence of the blood when a woman loses her virginity and when she menstruates but nothing more than enlightenment for the Marquis. The presence of blood is represented in many objects like the ruby choker which makes a strong visual image of the necklace suffocating the young girl. As well when the Marquis prepares the girl for her death, she was left with a mark of the key on her forehead but it is not a mark of shame but a symbol of heroism. The young girl who thought she was nothing is rewarded through her curiosity by letting her live as a symbol of a growth as a woman who knows her own value of life.

“I scrubbed my forehead with the nail brush as I had scrubbed the key but this red mark would not go away, either, no matter what I did, and I knew I should wear it until I died, though that would not be long.”

Cite this page

The Bloody Chamber and Pippi L?ngstrump. (2019, Nov 30). Retrieved from

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