Analysis Of Setting And Narrative In The Bloody Chamber

Angela Carter is known for creating the remakes of old stories but adds a sense of darkness to it. She has and writes her stories and experiences with a sense of an ending. In this story “The Bloody Chamber,” she uses setting to describe the gothic characteristics. And the narrative to separate the story from a traditional fairy tale by creating her own spin to it. The first use of gothic setting which Angela Carter uses can be initially described as the castle. Carter has the castle alternating into between two settings. The first is the narrator’s viewpoint of a fairy tale castle. A good quotation to support this is how the narrator describes the castle as a “floating garland of light.” If we further in depth analyze the quote, we can see the narrator’s innocence and her naivety as is how the narrator views the castle rather than facing a true reality of it. The narrator is a young teenager who is in awe because the marquis lay eyes on her and she felt that she became somebody due the fact that he has more than her. She described herself as “the poor widow’s child…mouse colored hair…bony hips.” She can’t wrap her mind around that she is marrying him. The narrator is an innocent child that she starts off as a virgin and later she experiences a certain form of sexuality by the end. In addition, she points out many key points in this story such as objectification in sexuality/violence, and male dominance. The bloody chamber can be seen to represent the bodies’ darkest desires. Carter uses female protagonist and it is through this view that we see the world and learn about the world because her protagonists are always female. We have a feminine perspective, and this is accompanied with the experience of sexuality and going from innocence to adult life. Most of the time there is a relation between love and sexuality as well as death.

Furthermore, the story illustrates a lot of objectification towards women. The marquis uses the narrator as an object in where he has the “right” to have possession over her. He often sees her as “meat.” She states, “I saw him watching me… eyes of a connoisseur inspecting horseflesh… inspecting cuts on the slab.” The illustration in this idea that sex is linked with violence as well. As you read along, you encounter with the explicit tone of language that carter uses when the narrator is being objectified by her husband. In addition, she is put into this submissive sphere of that she does what her husband demands her to do when it comes to sexual encounters. He makes her wear a ruby choker symbolizing a collar as if she’s the object and he is the owner. The marquis is thrilled not only with the idea that she is fresh meat and a virgin but also a teenager that knows nothing about life. By marrying him she doesn’t see the wrong or right. She is in love with the idea of wealth and living a luxurious life. Despite her mother questioning her actions and thoughts she continues to go on and live her life with the marquis. He often utilizes her when he needs and wants pleasure from her. In the story the dozen mirrors are a symbol for corruption because she gets to see how he sees her, and she states “how much that cruel necklace became me.” He has those mirrors set up to gaze and admire every angel of her body. The mirror can also reflect on the gone voices of women. Therefore, towards the turning point of the story she falls in love with the piano tuner. What’s interesting is that he is blind and ends up marrying the piano tuner because she likes the fact that he can’t see her. She realizes that he won’t be able to objectify her as the marquis once did but see her for who she is.

In the article, “Sexual objectification of women: Advances to Theory and Research,” it states, objectification theory postulates that many women are sexually objectified and treated as an object to be valued for its use by others. This statement relates to The Bloody Chamber because that is how the narrator is treated by her husband. A woman should never feel the sense of being used for just pleasure. Adding that the bodies of women are displayed in a form of art in which men must be allowed to see their bodies for not only their guilty pleasures but also their sexual pleasures. All women should be treated with respect and none less admiration. The marquis is known to be sadistic and corrupt. From the secrets he has to the pleasures he gains from the chambers. Carter gives the narrator a voice in the sense of allowing her to discover the potential she has. From her female perspective, she wanted the reader to see how women become objectified by men. We see violence committed in this book. Even though it’s not actually physical violence where hitting is involved but it’s the emotional kind. The marquis uses his power and authority to commit such “crime.” Also, from his pleasures to sexual encounters to his chambers he used all of these things to use violence towards the narrator. As for the narrator, she is gullible of these factors and doesn’t at first see his actions wrong until she discovers his secret chamber. Since she is a young girl, she just sees the wealth and not the persona she ended up marrying. She then realizes the horrible and disgusting person he becomes to her. She at one point envisioned herself as the next dead corpse to be added to his “addition.” I feel that she has as much blame as the marquis because she could avoid this terrifying experience because her mother did warn her about marrying an older man and often asked her a few times if she loved him in where she wouldn’t respond.

There is a large scale in the male dominance. From the beginning of the story I felt the sense of manipulation against the narrator. I felt this way because compared to him he has more than her money wise. Even though she has an education, her mother, and is a talented pianist she is drawn to him because of his wealth and the fact that he has a castle. The marquis perhaps knew what he was doing and since she is a child and knew no better, he knew that she would accept his marriage proposal. His male dominance was shown by him telling the narrator what to and not do. When he handed her a pile of keys of the chambers, he told her to feel free and look around and play with the things that were there. But he also used his authority to not allow her to enter to the prohibited room. An example of his male dominance would be his chamber of torture and death. It was often described as “sadistic,” “perverted,” and “corrupted.” His chambers disgusted me in a sense of how he would obtain his pleasure and dominance when he’d enter the room. She states, “he would not let me take off my ruby choker, although it was growing very uncomfortable.” She has a sense of uncomfortableness and shows the dominance he has over her by not allowing her to take the choker off. I don’t judge people, but I won’t be able to understand how he gains pleasure from hurting people or feeling more than the person by making them feel smaller than him. There is this ego that he has and is often narcissistic because he only cares about himself and no one else. He doesn’t keep in mind the feelings of others.

When reading Angela Carter, she makes me go to extremes when it comes to her readings. This is because her writing is illustrated to feel and be explicit and vividly. She portrays her details in a sense in which you can imagine it when you’re reading it. We see a pattern on how she writes her stories of a female perspective as well as roles. She is very sexual in her writing and is very detailed when it comes to sexuality and sexual encounters. Sometimes I enjoy her readings and other times, I despise them in making me not want to read anything of her again. This happened while I was reading The Bloody Chamber. This roller coaster of emotions is not what I desire from a book, but it happens to me with her writing.

In conclusion, the stories Carter writes are heavy in secrets and often have manipulation and it is often a male character that is trying to manipulate the female. However, what Carter does to disrupt this idea and give power to the female characters. They might be innocent and vulnerable at the beginning of the story but have a certain power that can allow them to overcome this masculine presence. The girl often embraces her sexuality and uses it as a weapon to combat this male dominant presence as well as the evil that is haunting them. There’s also a sense of a feminine language if that can be a thing. I don’t know if there is such a thing, but I say this because the language appeals to the senses. The language is sensual and erotic especially related to the sexual encounters, but it can also be very violent especially when the male character brings female character into experience. She goes from being a child into an adult in a matter of a few pages.  

16 August 2021
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