The Bloody Chamber Notes

Category: The Bloody Chamber
Last Updated: 07 Sep 2020
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The Bloody Chamber Quotes

- ‘Like an extraordinarily precious slit throat’ - ‘bright as arterial blood’ - ‘faery solitude’ - ‘so many mirrors’ - ‘as if he were stripping the leaves off an artichoke’ - ‘instruments of mutilation’ - ‘the walls…gleamed as if they were sweating with fright’ - ‘an armful of the same lilies with which he had filled my bedroom’ - ‘the trumpets of the angels of death’

Characters - Heroine - ‘seventeen and knew nothing of the world’ - ‘the white-faced girl from Paris’ - ‘I was only a baby’ - Marquis - ‘dark leonine shape of his head’ - ‘opulent male scent’ - ‘dark mane’ - ‘waxen face’ Mother - ‘indomitable mother’ - ‘wild thing’

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AO2 - language, form and structure and how they shape meaning

Language - Juxtaposition - ‘lascivious tenderness’

Metaphor - the Marquis as a beast, or as God - ‘the eye of God - his eye’ - ‘Subterranean privacy’ of the chamber - likening bloody chamber to Hell

Form - Castle is a Gothic reinterpretation of the fairytale template - Reworked fairy tales - Carter called them ‘new stories’ not ‘versions’ - Short stories maximize the impact of Carter’s messages - Novelette - the slow pace of which mirrors the brief lifestyle of the heroine in her new life

Structure - Long descriptive paragraphs followed by very short sentences e. g. ‘Dead as his wives. ’ - isolated simile - Longer sentences with commas increase the suspense, short sentences create a sense of fear - Ellipsis also used AO3 - connections between texts and different interpretations -

The child-like language - ‘Baby mustn’t play with grownups’ toys’ (see EK, COW) - Fairy tale motifs - ‘All the better to see you’ - links to fairy-tale form (see EK, LOTHOL) - References to the modern world - ‘shrilling of the telephone’ (see COML) -

Aggressive male language - ‘pistons ceaselessly thrusting’ (see EK)

Gothic Features - Weather/setting - Castle is isolated, the heroine sees its ‘faery solitude’ - how she chooses to view it, away from reality - Walls of the chamber ‘sweating with fright’ - as if guilty themselves - Marquis calls the bloody chamber his ‘enfer’ - French word for Hell, ‘subterranean privacy’, ‘like the door of Hell’ - Carter contrasts light and dark - ‘Lights! More lights! ’ - Foreshadowing - ‘the necklace that prefigures your end’, ‘bright as arterial blood’, ‘like an extraordinarily precious slit throat’ - all foreshadow the heroine’s decapitation Heroine escapes her fate - makes her an even stronger character

Dominant males - Marquis likened to God and a lion/animal

Passive females - Heroine accepts her fate quickly

Religion - Marquis is placed in the role of God - Refers to the heroine as ‘my little nun’, pornography referred to as ‘prayer-books’ shows Marquis’ lack of religion - Bloody chamber as Hell - see the setting

Supernatural - ‘as if the key itself were hurt, the bloody token stuck’ AO4 - contextual factors and how they affect the text - Angela Carter was a feminist - Published in 1979 - after the sexual revolution of the 1960s ‘Carter flirts with elements of the Gothic in many of the tales’ - S. Roberts - Same for all texts

The Courtship of Mr. Lyon Quotes

- ‘One white, perfect rose’ - ‘there was no living person in the hall’ - ‘a lion is a lion and a man is a man’ - ‘there was an air of exhaustion… in the house’ - ‘her own image reflected there’ (in the Beast’s eyes) - ‘Fast as you can’ - ‘an attic, with a sloping roof’ - ‘the roses…were all dead’ - ‘as if, curious reversal, she frightened him’

Characters - Beauty - ‘looked as if she had been carved out of a single pearl’ ‘she smiled at herself with satisfaction’ - ‘Miss Lamb, spotless, sacrificial’ - Beast - ‘some kind of sadness in his agate eyes’ - ‘a man with an unkempt mane of hair’ - ‘he was so different from herself’

AO2 - language, form and structure and how they shape meaning

Language - Extensive imagery of snow symbolizes Beauty’s purity - ‘white and unmarked as… bridal satin’ - Personification of the house - ‘the chandelier tinkled... as if emitting a pleased chuckle’ - ‘Pearl’ - pure, beautiful, valuable

Form - Reworked fairy tales - Carter called them ‘new stories’ not ‘versions’ Carter extracts ‘latent content’ - Short stories maximize the impact of Carter’s messages - Beauty and The Beast - both characters change, not just the Beast - role reversal of princess in the tower

Structure - ‘I hope he’ll be safe’ - no speech marks, highlighting Beauty’s lack of a voice AO3 - connections between texts and different interpretations - References to the modern world - ‘the snow brought down all the telephone wires’ (see BC, LOTHOL) - Fairy tale references - she reads ‘elegant French fairy tales’, ‘Fast as you can’ (see BC, EK, LOTHOL)

Gothic Features - Weather/setting ‘Palladian house that seemed to hide itself shyly’ = ‘he forced himself to master his shyness’ - ‘Thin ghost of light on the verge of extinction’ - no signs of Spring at the Beast’s house - reflects what has happened to him - Bloody chamber = Beast’s attic - he is trapped and dying, claustrophobic setting - Roses die as the beast dies: ‘The roses…were all dead’ - Countryside = place of purity and femininity, town = masculine place of corruption

Foreshadowing - ‘she smiled at herself in mirrors a little too often’ - pride comes before a fall

Dominant males - no longer dominant ‘a cracked whisper of his former purr’ - ‘I am sick and I must die’

Passive females - Objectification of women - she is called ‘Beauty’ but gets an identity at the end - ‘Mrs. Lyon’

Supernatural - Magic of the house - her father can call the garage even though the phone lines are down - ‘All the natural laws of the world were held in suspension here’

The Tiger’s Bride Quotes

- ‘My father lost me to The Beast in cards’ - ‘I have lost my pearl’ - ‘the lamb must learn to run with the tigers’ Characters - Heroine - ‘always the pretty one’ - ‘Christmas rose’ - ‘no more than a king’s ransom’

AO2 - language, form and structure and how they shape meaning

Language - description of “glossy, nut-brown curls” and “rosy cheeks” is repeated to highlight the similarities between the narrator and her “clockwork twin

Structure - Heroine is given a voice unlike Beauty in COML - objectification of women in a different way - Written in the past tense but changes occasionally to the present to suggest continuity

The Erl-King Quotes

- ‘Erl-King will do you grievous harm’ - ‘the wood swallows you up’ - ‘the stark elders have an anorexic look’ - ‘everything in the wood is exactly as it seems’ ‘easy to lose yourself’ - ‘What big eyes you have’

Characters - Erl-King - ‘an excellent housewife’ - ‘came alive from the desire of the woods’ - ‘tender butcher’ - ‘skin the rabbit, he says! ’ - ‘Eyes green as apples. Green as dead sea fruit’

AO2 - language, form and structure and how they shape meaning

Language - Oxymorons such as “the tender butcher” and “appalling succulence” highlight the narrator’s conflict - Isolated similes such as “green as dead sea fruit” adds emphasis to the comparisons

Metaphor is used to link sex to drowning e. g. his ‘dress of water’ that ‘drenches’ her

Structure - ‘Erl-King will do you grievous harm’ - one-line paragraph to emphasize significance - Switches between tenses and points of view in order to disorient the reader, creating a Gothic sense of uncertainty, and reflecting the feelings of the protagonist AO3 - connections between texts and different interpretations - Fairy tale references - ‘What big eyes you have’ (see BC, EK) - Superstition - ‘he says the Devil spits on them at Michaelmas’ (see W, COW) - Aggressive language - ‘he could thrust me into the seed-bed’ (see BC)

Gothic Features - Weather/setting Wood is personified and isolated - ‘the wood swallows you up’ - More fairy-tale than Gothic - Bloody Chamber = Erl-King’s dwelling - Idea of confinement - ‘vertical bars of a brass-colored distillation of light’ look like bars of a prison/cage - Erl-King can tie ‘up the winds in his handkerchief’

Dominant males - childlike, less predatory - Romantic hero, she falls in love with him

Passive females - none, she is mature and purposeful

Supernatural - ‘magic lasso of inhuman music’ - He has a ‘bird call’

Religion - ‘he says the Devil spits on them at Michaelmas’

The Snow Child Quotes

- ‘Midwinter - ‘invincible, immaculate’ - ‘the Countess hated her’ - ‘a feather…a bloodstain…and the rose’ - ‘It bites! ’ - ‘the whole world was white’ - ‘a masculine fantasy’ - Cristina Bacchilega

Characters - Snow Child - ‘as white as snow’ - ‘as black as that bird’s feather’ - ‘as red as blood’ - ‘the child of his desire’ - ‘high, black, shining boots with scarlet heels’

AO2 - language, form and structure and how they shape meaning -

Language - Alliteration of ‘invicible, immaculate’ exaggerates the extremity of the weather - Rose is a symbol of femininity or the vagina Snow Child bleeds, symbolizing menstruation - Bite symbolizes the suffering that accompanies being female - childbirth, hymen breaking, menstruation

Form - Vignette - a small, literary sketch

Structure - Written in the 3rd person but from the perspective of the Count - ‘So the girl picks a rose; pricks her finger on the thorn; bleeds; screams; falls. ’ - isolated paragraph, one sentence, uses the idea of ‘three’ AO3 - connections between texts and different interpretations

Gothic Features - Weather/setting - Bloody Chamber = Snow Child’s vagina - ‘White’ setting and snow symbolizes purity and virginity,

Dominant males - Masculine control of female identity - Count = Marquis from BC - Creates both women - Countess cannot exist without a Count

Passive females - Countess belongs to Count - she is only a Countess because of him - Price of being the Countess - subservience and a loss of identity - Neither female can exist without the Count - he gives them their power - One must die for the other to survive - Literal objectification of women - Count undresses and dresses Countess as he pleases, creates Snow Child - Incestuous rape - she was not expected to receive pleasure in having sex, she was his sexual object

The Lady of the House of Love Quotes

- ‘Vous serez ma proie’ - ‘Too many roses’ - ‘Now you are at the place of annihilation’ - ‘Fee fie fo fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman’ - ‘A single kiss woke up the Sleeping Beauty in the Wood’ - ‘wisdom, death, dissolution’ - ‘chinoiserie escritoire’ - ‘this ornate and rotting place’ - ‘Can a bird…learn a new song? ’ - ‘the bicycle is the product of pure reason applied to motion’

Characters - Countess - ‘her beauty is an abnormality’ - ‘hunger always overcomes her’ - ‘white lace negligee stained a little with blood’ ‘the fangs and talons of a beast of prey’ - ‘a cave full of echoes’ - ‘the fragility of the skeleton of a moth’ - Soldier - ‘pentacle of his virginity’ - ‘youth, strength and blonde beauty’ - ‘symbol of rationality’ (bicycle) - ‘the trenches of France’

AO2 - language, form and structure and how they shape meaning

Language - Foreign words are slipped into the narrative - allows reader to enter Countess’s bilingual mind e. g. ‘chinoiserie escritoire’ meaning Chinese-style desk/cabinet

Form - Reworked fairy tales - Carter called them ‘new stories’ not ‘versions’ Short stories maximise the impact of Carter’s messages

Structure - Broken up by inset couplets of thoughts, either fairy tale villains’ famous lines or menacing French phrases, which suggest this is the inner voice of her predatory nature - increase ambiguity - Story is divided in two - first-half is present tense, the second half is past tense - more fairy-tale-like AO3 - connections between texts and different interpretations - References to the modern world - ‘the trenches of France’ (see BC)

Humour - ‘you will be led by hand to the Countess’s larder’ (see PIB, COW)

Gothic Features Weather/setting - ‘cracked mirrors’ - the Countess does not bear a reflection - ‘Too many roses’ - roses are beautiful and dangerous like her - Bird in the cage symbolizes her entrapment in her vampiric body - ‘she likes to hear it announce how it cannot escape’

Predatory females - ‘the fangs and talons of a beast of prey’ yet she evokes sympathy as she tries to change her fate - ‘Fee Fie Fo Fum’ places her in the role of the villain, ‘Sleeping Beauty’ places her in the role of the victim

Supernatural - Soldier does not believe in the supernatural: ‘this lack of imagination gives heroism to the hero’

Foreshadowing - The Tarot cards change for the first time ever

The Werewolf Quotes

- ‘they have cold weather, they have cold hearts’ - ‘supernumerary nipple’ - ‘Harsh, brief, poor lives. ’ - ‘she prospered’ - ‘they stone her to death’

Characters - Child - ‘good child’ - ‘coat of sheepskin’ - Wolf - ‘grizzled chops’ - ‘less brave than they seem’

AO2 - language, form and structure and how they shape meaning

Language - Very unemotional in places - ‘they stone her to death’, ‘she prospered’ - detached narrator - Tricolons emphasize repetition and simplicity of their lives - ‘harsh, brief, poor lives’ Extensive description of superstitions highlights their importance - also seen in Company of Wolves - Pathetic fallacy - ‘cold weather… cold hearts’ - setting mirrors personalities of inhabitants - Very simple language - fairy tale language, childlike, simple to understand

Structure - Isolated paragraph with one sentence - ‘Winter and cold weather. ’ AO3 - connections between texts and different interpretations - Superstition - ‘wreaths of garlic on the doors’ (see COW, EK, LOHOL)

Gothic Features - Weather/setting - Pathetic fallacy

Supernatural - Superstitions - wolves, witches, the devil

Foreshadowing Descriptions of superstitions at the beginning

The Company of Wolves Quotes

- ‘you are always in danger in the forest’ - ‘a man who vanished clear away on her wedding night’ - ‘the forest closed upon her like a pair of jaws’ - ‘they are grey as famine’ - ‘you will suffer’ - ‘we try and try’ - ‘blood on snow’ - ‘Quack, quack! went the duck’

Characters - Heroine - ‘she is an unbroken egg’ - ‘she knew she was nobody’s meat’ - ‘she has just started her woman’s bleeding’ - ‘so pretty’ - Wolf - ‘the tender wolf’ - ‘fear and flee the wolf’

AO2 - language, form, and structure and how they shape meaning

Language - Narrator addresses the reader - ‘you are always in danger’, ‘you will suffer’, ‘we try and try’ - Written as if to recreate the oral tradition of fairytales - ‘Quack, quack! went the duck’ - ‘hurl your Bible at him’, ‘call on Christ…but it won’t do you any good’, It is Christmas Day, the werewolves' birthday’, ‘canticles of the wolves’ - undermining religion (canticle = short song/hymn) - ‘The forest closed on her like a pair of jaws’ - isolated simile, the only sentence in the paragraph, highlight isolated setting - typically Gothic (see ‘Dead as his wives’ simile in BC = isolated)

Fairytale - ‘What big eyes you have’, ‘All the better to see you with’ (‘All the better to see you’ = BC)

Metaphor - ‘night and forest has come into the kitchen’

Structure - Lengthy introduction highlights the importance of superstitions and wolves in the lives of the people - Opens the reader’s mind to the supernatural - it is common here - No speech marks increase the strangeness of the story - also, there would be no speech marks in oral tradition AO3 - connections between texts and different interpretations - Fairy tale motifs (see BC, EK, LOTHOL) - Personification of the woods (see EK)

Gothic Features/Religion - ‘you must run as if the Devil were after you’ - Weather/setting - Personification of the forest ‘like a pair of jaws’, also simile, similar to EK - Nighttime setting - typically Gothic, increases ambiguity

Dominant male - wolf

Non-passive female - she laughs at him, ‘she knew she was nobody’s meat’

Wolf Alice Quotes

- ‘the corners of his bloody chamber’ - room of clothes where Duke’s prey live - ‘it showed us what we could have been’ - ‘her pace is not our pace’ - ‘the wise child who leads them all’

Characters - Duke - ‘his eyes see only appetite’ - ‘he is white as leprosy’ Wolf Alice - ‘not wolf or woman’

AO2 - language, form and structure and how they shape meaning

Language - Carter quickly allies herself with the reader and separates Wolf-Alice - ‘her pace is not our pace’ - Religious reference to Garden of Eden - ‘wise child who leads them all’ - Duke is ‘cast into the role of the corpse-eater’ - not the whole truth? - ‘She could not put her finger on’ - finger in italics, reminds us she is human AO3 - connections between texts and different interpretations

Gothic Features - Weather/setting - Duke’s castle - The gothic reinterpretation of the fairytale castle ‘Moony metamorphic weather’ - setting mirrors Duke - Presence of the moon - time, menstruation, Gothic night time, when the Duke is awake - Graveyard settings

Dominant males - Duke - not a real man, doesn’t cast a reflection, doesn’t have a soul, does have physical strength, doesn’t talk to her - ‘separate solitudes’

Passive females - Wolf-Alice is a strong female, physically, and becomes intellectually stronger throughout the story

Supernatural - Duke is a werewolf/vampire

Superstition/Religion - ‘Young husband’ fills a church with silver bullets, holy water, ‘bells, books, and candles’

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The Bloody Chamber Notes. (2016, Dec 24). Retrieved from

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