Analyzing Angela Carters Feminist Fairy Stories English Books Essay

It is important to determine early on that there is no simple definition of what a story book is; the simplest location to start is to explain why they're called 'fairy tales' whatsoever. Taken from the French phrase "contes de fees" - a name employed by women authors in the French salons in the 17th century for experiences written as narratives for transferring on intelligence to young women - it was translated as "tales of fairies". The first to use the phrase was Madame D'Aulnoy in 1697 as the subject to her collection of tales, but was later used by the greater familiar Brothers Grimm. Before that time fairy tales been around only in the oral tradition, a highly elusive medium of story-telling, which does not lend itself to steadiness, often leading to each country, region, and even person having their own version of the same basic story. Little is well known about the annals of fairy stories, only that from the 17th century they started to emerge as a favorite literary convention and broke down into two main schools; that of Perrault and his 'genuine' French stories, and the Brothers Grimm, who concerned themselves with only traditional German folklore. Throughout the 18th and 19th century their popularity grew, with each culture apportioning its unique narrator, most famously in the guises of Mom Bunch, Mother Goose, and Gamma Gettel. To speak loosely of fairy tales, they are simply a subgenre of folklore, but Lane argues
Although Street has made some very sweeping generalisations about what a fairy tale it not, it is because, as Tolkien puts it, "faerie [tales] cannot be caught by way of a net of words; for it is one of its qualities to be indescribable" (Tolkien 1965:10). As I've illustrated, those people who have spent their academic careers aiming to define what a story book is have decided that it contains certain elements, but the condition is based on that they can not agree which ones. For my purposes I am going to accept Thompson's meaning

A story of some span concerning a succession of motifs or shows. It moves within an unreal world without certain locality or certain creature and it is filled with the marvellous. (Thompson 1977: 8)

The story book is a desirable form of literature for authors to control. With its rigorous confines, extensive use of stereotypes, availability, and moral framework it can be used to produce a host within which authors can explore their own ideas and ideals. Angela Carter is such an creator; with the The Bloody Chamber being, essentially, a feminist re-evaluation of the predominantly masculine-dominated fairy tales as shown by the Brothers Grimm. Even though Brothers Grimm were between the first ever to preserve fairy stories in the writing they were considerably re-worked off their original dental counterparts in order to make them more satisfactory to world. Fairy tales started out as a female-orientated traditions - when Les Cabinet des Fees was posted over half the creators were women, whose stories "offered gratifications which were already [. . . ] considered feminine: dreams of love as well as the sweets of quick and capital revenge" (Warner 1996: xii-xiv). If the Brothers Grimm, among others, transferred the oral stories in written ones they transposed of your essentially womanly form and replaced it was a masculine one, as Holbeck observes, "men and women often notify the same stories in characteristically various ways" (Holbeck 1987). This custom has been carried through to the 20th century, with Disney adaptations relying on the damsel in distress, with the unavoidable Prince Charming character to save her (although recent productions such as Enchanted and the Shrek trilogy have been a movement from such archetypes). The Bloody Chamber concerns itself with those changes and phone calls those to attention by

"heightening the intertextuality of her narratives, making them into allegories that explore how sexual behavior and gender functions are not universal, but are, like other kinds of social relationship, culturally decided. " (Kaiser 1994)

It is a collection of short stories that "remove the latent content from traditional tales" (Carter in John Haffenden's Novelist in Interview) and create new ones from a woman's point of view, an exploration of the journey between girlhood and womanhood with all the current trappings that entails. It really is a de-Bowdlerisation of Grimm's 'contaminated' exercise of patriarchal electric power on the 'natural' tales of Perrault and, more importantly for Carter, Bruno Bettelheim, whose literature, Uses of Enchantment, has been hailed with a ultimate goal for the knowledge of fairy tales.

Bettelheim was a recognized psychoanalyst who applied his writing to the written fairy tale, concluding that they were a means for children to comfortably deal with separation nervousness and essential in the development of the unconscious; "allow Fairy Tale talk with his unconscious, give body to his unconscious anxieties and reduce them without this ever before coming to conscious recognition" (Bettelheim 1977: 15). Bettelheim's readings of fairy tales lie highly in Freudian theory. Freud is most well-known for his championing of the oedipal organic, wherein a son has desire for his mother and competes with the daddy for affection, or a girl who has desire to have her father, sparking a rivalry with the mother. The second option is also referred to as the Electra organic, though Freud often disagreed on the life of a lady counter-part. In his publication, Bettelheim areas that

Oedipal troubles and the way the individual solves them are central to just how his personality and real human relations unfold. By camouflaging the oedipal predicament, or by only subtly intimating the entanglements, fairy stories allow us to pull our own conclusions when the time is propitious for our attaining a better knowledge of these problems. (Bettelheim 1977: 201)

This excerpt originates from his essay on Snow White, which Bettelheim argues is a perfect story book version of the oedipal issue between moms and daughters. Certainly, the version he and Carter, in her story The Snow Child, use heightens the oedipal tensions through its ease (Kaiser 1994). Carter furthers this by manipulating the popular themes and underpinning them with the idea of desire, an integral theme through the entire Bloody Chamber.

Colours are amazingly important in the Gothic genre, and due to the mother nature of Carter's fairy tales, they could possibly be referred to as such. Carter's count up asks for "a woman as white as snow [. . . ] red as blood [. . . ] dark-colored as that bird's feather" (Carter 2006: 105) without any appropriation of these colours, it is merely after the woman shows up that Carter redistributes them in the original design of "white pores and skin, red lips, black hair" (Carter 2006: 105). Those three shades continually look throughout all of Carter's short stories and are used in an extremely symbolic fashion. White is traditionally seen as the colour of purity, innocence, and wholeness, but red, the mark of love, signs passion and sexual desire, whilst dark represents death, devastation, and the reasonable into the unconscious. If we copy these attributes to the Count's wants, it is plausible to conclude that the Count is imagining a daughter who embodies those things; a virgin who awakens libido in him on the unconscious level. In doing this, he gives the gal multiple facets, and an ambiguous quality - she actually is sometimes natural and perfect, sometimes ardent and intimate, or negative and fatal. Three factors, three shades, three aspects of the human soul. The theme of colorings is similarly expanded to the Count number and Countess - note that Carter provides the colours of their horses. The Count number sits upon "a grey mare" (Carter 2006: 105) - the one other colour talked about in the story, noticeably dissimilar to the surrounding comparison. If we start to see the Count up as a representation of population, then the greyness symbolises too little self-examination, of moving back from the colored representations noticeable in the rest of the landscape, to which Carter is currently attempting to carry a reflection up to. The count's horse also provides a back-drop for the Countess', providing value to her operating "a dark-colored one" (Carter 2006: 105); she is also seen using "glittering pelts of dark-colored foxes" and "black shining boots with scarlet pumps" (Carter 2006: 105). My interpretation of her clothes is the one that suggests that to the Count up his wife no longer represents the thought of purity (the lack of white), and that he has very little sexual desire for, as the color red is contained to the cheapest part of her body - her pumps. Instead, she signifies the Count's mortality, to getting more aged, and what Klein explains as a 'bad thing' that a child will seek to expel by projecting negative thoughts towards it, shown by the abnormal use of dark. This is outlined by his needs for the child, who is mostly snow white when "stark naked" (Carter 2006: 105) - the 'good object' a child seeks to become listed on with and keep safe from the unpleasant impact of bad things. Carter's Count number "lifted her up and sat her before him on his saddle" and "thrust his virile member into the dead female" (Carter 2006: 105-106) - perfect representations of that same 'signing up for' and 'safeguarding'.

As mentioned, the oedipal complex is one worried about transference - not only of emotions, but, regarding The Snow Child, a physical transference through clothing. In a similar style to the presence of the Count's grey horse, we aren't given a description of the Count's clothing, offering durability to my argument that he's a representation of population, and therefore not clothed since it is the provider of clothes, or 'labels' (e. g. mother, wife), for everyone else. Unlike the Brothers Grimm version, Carter doesn't have the Count up decide between his partner and his princess, instead she has him screen his authority over them through the attribution of materials constructs. The Countess, presumably acquiring her name from marriage, is completely described by her spouse - her subject, her clothes, her equine, all representations of the sociable constructions of wealth and nobility. If the Countess is substituted in her husband's needs by the lady there's a transference of clothing, and of those symbols of modern culture, "the furs sprang from the Countess's shoulders and twined surrounding the naked girl [. . . ] then her boots leapt off of the Countess's feet and on to the girl's hip and legs" (Carter 2006: 105). Here we see the deconstruction of the present day women - a disrobing of the masculine confines imposed upon the Countess. Kaiser highlights that it's "an indicator of their mutual dependence on his favour, the furs, the boots, and jewels take a flight off the Countess, onto the girl, and again depending on whims of the Count number" (Kaiser 1994). During the tale there's always a woman who's naked, drawing attention to the semantic field of clothes - when women are not dressed they can be reverted to a representation of Nature, in direct opposition to the man as 'culture', which makes them show up vulnerable. In response to the criticism, Kaiser carries on that "even though some feminist theorists assert to discover a kind of liberation in the positioning of women as 'other' in phallogocentric culture, Carter locates the situation morecomplex plus more troubling" (Kaiseer 1994). This can be seen representation in the ambiguous finishing Carter has created, when the Countess exclaims "It bites!" is she rejecting female sexuality through the icon of eternal feminine sexuality of the rose? is she rejecting love itself? Or simply her husband's - and therefore men's - wishes? Bacchilega suggests that the Countess "recognizes the misconception of the vagina dentate for what it is" (Bacchilega 1988: 18). The stopping leaves too much to be desired for traditional readers of fairy stories, without the normal 'happily ever before after' finish Carter leaves the story with no promises of joy and it remains open for individual interpretation.

To re-address my original question, one of Carter's most passionate critics, Patricia Duncker read the ending from the Bloody Chamber as "carrying an uncompromisingly feminist message", whilst the other stories simply recapitulate patriarchal habits of behaviour. Duncker is right in her reading of the texts as remaining within the patriarchal sphere of thought, but as Kaiser parallels with my own opinion "what Dunkcer perceives as an inconsistent software of feminist guidelines is, I believe, merely a reflection of Carter's task in this collection, to portray sexuality as a culturally relative happening" (Kaiser 1994). It really is my personal belief that Duncker is not in ownership of a sense of humour, or basically cannot understand Carter's sense of irony in her insistence on staying within the already accepted restrictions, "in order to question the nature of fact one must move from a strongly grounded bottom part in what constitutes materials certainty" (Carter 1997: 38). TOGETHER WITH THE Bloody Chamber Carter has concerned herself not only with pointing out the issues with normal patriarchal views of gender, but instead has created a series of different representations, that although don't immediately challenge the original fairy tales, they provide alternate models. She does not, as the subject suggests, capitulate the thought of a masculine-dominated or phallaogocentric representation of the story book, but instead highlights the single-mindedness of these tellings by exhibiting stories with the same basic blocks that have greatly different affects.

Ours is an extremely individualised culture, with great trust in the task of fine art as a distinctive one-off, and the musician as an original, a godlike and motivated inventor of unique one-offs. But fairy tales are not like this, nor are their producers. Who first created meatballs? In what country? Is there a definite menu for potato soup? Think in conditions of the local arts. 'This is how I make potato soup. ' (Carter 1987: 3)

The culinary allegory acts her purpose of exemplifying the fairy tale; a menu will seldom have an individual source and are prepared in a multitude of ways, differing with the ingredients available and the person preparing it, developing over time, equally as female subcultures adapted to suit personal, ethnic, and historical needs.

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