Feminism In The Bloody Chamber

Upon reading The Bloody Chamber titled story, the narrator seemingly appears to be helpless. However, as the story develops, she does too. She fails to fulfil the traditional roles and characteristics, such as being weak and helpless, that are usually attributed to women in classic literature. Carter is often challenging the traditional representations of women found in fairy tales of ‘being cute but essentially helpless’ (1) or constantly needing to be saved by the knight in shining armour from the beginning of the story, such as when we get an insight on the narrator’s sexual awakening. This challenges traditional literature as women’s sexual desires are not often written about in books or stories. Ultimately, Carter challenges negative …show more content…
The structure of the story was taken from the moral story about curiosity titled ‘Bluebeard’ and turned into a tale that masks a deeper feminist view that simply challenges the ideas in the original tale that can be seen as misogynistic. In Bluebeard, the female protagonist accepts her fate of getting beheaded by the Bluebeard and the two sisters proceed to wait for their brothers to arrive in order to get saved, rather than save themselves. This, like most other olden tales, enforces the idea of helpless women that require saving from men indefinitely. Carter’s Bloody Chamber challenges this idea as the narrator’s mother is described as an ‘indomitable’ woman who has shot a ‘man-eating tiger’ all by herself, as well as being a widow who doesn’t require another man in order to live a well rounded life. These gallant descriptions of the narrator’s mother are the characteristics usually given to the male hero but because they are given to a female character they reinforce the idea of women not being helpless, such as when she rescues her daughter from The Marquis moments before she is about to be beheaded as punishment for going into his forbidden bloody chamber. Whilst the narrator requires saving, Carter was very clever to make her hero a female which ultimately further challenges the idea that women are never helpless or always require saving from men. In 1979, when The Bloody Chamber was published, a brave heroine was not something prevalent in literature and Carter having a heroine in her story challenged the idea of men having a set role, strong and heroic, whilst women had the set role of weak and pathetic. She has created a ‘revision of gender roles’ (5) in order to challenge stereotypical helpless women when she made the mum strong and heroic whilst The Marquis was weak and pathetic in comparison to

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