Angela Carter And The Bloody Chamber

1049 words - 4 pages

Angela Carter was writing in the 1970's during a wave of feminism and this influence in seen in her take on fairytales in the Bloody Chamber. Her messages about the society are often subtle, critical and cynical, she combines the realistic and the fantastic to create 'magic realism' The stories of the heroines combined with the magical approach of the fairytale brings the issue of gender roles to a brilliant intensity. Her stories challenge conventions of society, of gender and of the fairytale itself. Examining and comparing the original stories of Lang's Red Riding Hood and Grimm's Red Cap to the story of the company of wolves reveals Carters message.In the original versions of Little Red Riding Hood cited in the blue fairy book by Andrew Lang and The Complete Fairytales by brothers Grimm, we witness the story of a 'little country girl' who was the 'prettiest creature ever seen', and 'whoever laid eyes upon her could not help but love her' The little girl is told by her mother to take some treats to her sickly grandmother and the little girl sets out to the next village. Carters Company of Wolves we see a more detailed description of the girl, Carter describes her physically; "Her breasts have just begun to swell, her hair like lint" she describes her biologically; 'just started her woman's bleeding' and describes her in a sexualised aspect; detailing her virginity with numerous metaphors painting the picture vividly for the reader; 'unbroken egg/sealed vessel' Like the original she is told to take some baked treats to her grandmother.In Lang and Grimm's version along the way she encounters a wolf who asks her where she is going and tells him of her journey to her sick grandmother in the next village and the wolf challenges her to a game of whom can get to grandmother fastest. In Carters version the girl is not greeted by a wolf but by a handsome young man, who is not like the other boys in her village, Carter establishes a heavy sexually charged relationship, where the two flirt and were soon 'laughing and joking like old friends' Like the original the man challenges the girl to the game of whom can arrive at the grandmothers house the fastest, and that if he wins then he will receive a kiss from the girl. The girl agrees to the game and deliberately slows her arrival so she will be the recipient of the handsome young mans affection. Lang's story then tells us that the wolf arrives at the grandmothers house before Red Riding Hood and tricks the grandmother into letting him in where he then eats her up and waits for little Red Riding Hood to get there so he can do the same to her, in Lang's version this so happens yet in Grimm's version she is eaten but is soon rescued by a passing huntsmen and grandmother and Little Red Cap survive and soon set upon killing the wolf. The moral, the central message of these fairytales seems to be of stranger danger, that girls should be aware of aggressors who...

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