Gender Roles in Angela Carter's the Bloody Chamber

Gender Roles in Angela Carter's the Bloody Chamber

  • Submitted By: ociany
  • Date Submitted: 12/14/2008 8:48 AM
  • Category: English
  • Words: 1271
  • Page: 6
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Gender roles in Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber

Angela Carter’s story The Bloody Chamber is a rewrite of the world-famous fairytale Blue Beard. The story narrates the life of a young girl who marries a rich man with a dark secret. When she finds out that the secret is the fact that her husband had killed all his previous wives, she knew that she is in danger of death because of her new found knowledge. The husband finds out that she is aware of his past actions, thus tells her that he is going to kill her. Just as the heroine’s life is about to come to an end, the mother appears and saves her daughter from certain death. Like many of Carter’s other rewrites of famous fairytales, by adding a twist to a familiar plot, the author is pointing out things that fairytales in general portrays misleadingly. In The Bloody Chamber, Carter explores the issue of stereotypical gender roles. By using characterization, Carter suggests that, unlike what fairytales teach children, a person’s role in life is not determined by his or her gender, but by the environment and experiences he or she had lived through. More precisely, she transmits her message through the characters of the mother, the piano tuner, and the heroine herself.

First of all, with the character of the piano-tuner, Jean-Yves, the author is challenging fairytales’ view that a man’s role in life is that of a hero or protector and a dominant in any relationship with woman. To assume these roles, fairytales teaches children that all males are strong, confident, heroic and courageous. However, Jean-Yves’ role as the man with whom the protagonist lives happily ever after is a reversal of the typical fairy-tale plot, in which the woman falls in love with a handsome prince or other dashing hero. When the main character sees Jean-Yves for the first time, she says that his eyes were “singularly sweet” (carter 134), that he was “full of the loquacity of embarrassment” (Carter 134); that he had “the most touching...

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