Magical Realism in “The Company of Wolves”
In most stories, the authors like to use reality versus illusion, also know as magical realism. Magical realism can seem so real but seem like fantasy at the same time. The author incorporates a lot of different features of strange elements in the story where they are unwillingly approved or rejected to the readers that the parts in the stories are true in its world.
At times it can make the story feel uneasy or give the story a dream like quality. The author Angela Carter incorporates a lot of magical realism throughout the whole story of “The Company of Wolves”. She sets multiple settings where she transitions from one tone to another where the readers can feel the emotions and tensions brought through the storyline. She also introduces many no name characters in the beginning that don’t have much meaning, that builds up to the plot of the story.
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The story “The Company of Wolves” contains elements of the folktale “Little Red Riding Hood” like, the theme of reality and illusion and the two main characters; which is the girl and the werewolf. Angela Carter was able to perfectly blend reality with the fantasy by inputting and transitioning from unreal situations, with real life desires and experiences, alongside a possible romance with impossible creature. She used many literature writing methods like, the written words, setting, tone, and character to express the theme magical realism.
Angela Carter writes fairy tales with the written words to speak upon reality. In the opening line of the story she uses a metaphor, “one beast and only one howls in the woods by night” (Carter 299) Carter is referring to the werewolf, or it can be vice versa for the young girl’s search for sexual desires. She talks upon how men are experienced beasts looking to prey on young beautiful girls. Back when this story was written, women were mistreated with violent sexual acts. They were weak individuals who lacked experience in life, and women couldn’t do sexual acts until they were married.
Not only that, women were raped and token advantage off. This story talks about how men aren’t always dominant, that women can be as dominant. And just like men, women have desires that need to be met, how women should be equally able to satisfy those needs just as much as men are able too freely. The young girl in this story is perceived as the innocent, she is innocent sexually, and innocent sensitively. While the man (wolf) takes on the role of the experienced, being sexually mature, and a cunning hunter.
Another hidden message in the story, is when she says, “the great pines where the shaggy branches tangle about you…” (Carter 300), “with the greatest trepidation and infinite precautions, for if you stray from the path for one instant, the wolves will eat you” (Carter 300). The author is trying to send a message using illusion, the forest being the metaphor for sexuality and womanhood, and the path to represent virginity. It acts as a warning for young virgins about giving in their innocence and straying from the path of the ideal view of purity.
Giving up one’s virginity is normal and a minor set back that’s not worth holding onto till men want it, should be given voluntarily. Women shouldn’t be defined by their virginity, it means the least. Angela Carter makes the wolf (men) a fearful creature, when she says,” the children always carry knives with them ” (Carter 300) she is trying to indicate that the town people or villagers has a fictional that the wolves target upon the youths, it is almost like a representative of the villagers protecting the youths virginity from the beast and his sexual appetite, in which the villagers take as a threat and against the rules (religiously) of ones virginity.
Therefore, that being the reason the children carry weapons with them. The short story reflects a lot upon how women’s role in society is looked upon, especially their virginity. In the article chosen, it speaks a lot about encounters that women had to go through with the stereotyping and inequality of how women should be and act. Angela Carter in all her stories has addressed the topic of feminism using real experiences that women have been through with men and using magical realism to not make the theme obvious. Secondly, Angela Carter implements real life settings and some fantasy settings along with illusional events, although she still implements real life events.