Angela Carter’s ” The Bloody Chamber And Other Stories” is a collection of short stories written in the style of traditional fairy tales. The thrust of these stories is the objectification of women. Carter uses the fairy tale style as a way of exploring female power, desire and sexuality and adeptly uses the fantasy framework to explore feminist ideas.
Throughout these stories, young females are portrayed as passive beings in the beginning of the stories but it becomes clear in each that passivity is not celebrated in women.
The first of these stories, “The Bloody Chamber” is based on the Bluebeard tale in which his wife is forbidden from entering a particular room in the castle and when she does discovers the dead bodies of his former wives. In this story, the Marquis finds out that his wife has entered the room and decides to kill her but with the help of her mother and the blind piano tuner the Marquis is killed and the heroine inherits all of his money. She gives the estate away and lives the rest of her life with her mother and the blind piano tuner.
The next stories are cat tails, the first two of which are based on Beauty and The Beast. The third is called ” Puss-in-Boots”, a very funny piece with the cat as narrator. Following that there are three stories what are thematically similar in that lovers are portrayed as lethal partners and sex leads to death. Finally the last three stories are werewolf stories loosely based on the tale of Little Red Riding Hood.
Transformation is a common these in all of these stories. In fact these stories act as reminders that human beings can change. In “The Courtship of Mr. Lyon” or “The Tiger’s Bride” the heroine struggles to experience herself as an individual instead of an objectified being. In “The Courtship of Mr. Lyon”, the young innocent trades her passive nature for that of a more worldly person. In “The Tiger’s Bride” the heroine becomes a tigress, discovering and accepting her animal side. In “The Bloody Chamber” the heroine is transformed from a young, passive, virginal being to a strong, self-directed individual. In “Wolf-Alice” the heroine begins to menstruate and transforms from the wolf-girl to becoming more human than animal.
In many of these stories the hero...