Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Werewolf notations

"It is a northern country; they have cold weather, they have cold hearts." -
This immediately separates the reader from the setting. We are not part of the setting and neither is the narrator. (Also note that the setting is also 'cold', connotes evil and negative imagery - suggests the setting is gothic based)

"Dark and smoky within"
"crude icon of the virgin"
"grave yards"

= Gothic imagery.

"crude icon of the virgin" - Religious imagery - mockery?

"Far away" - further separation is created - aids the suspension of disbelief.

"wreaths of garlic on the doors keep out the vampires...oh, sinister" - the mocking of human superstition. Suggests that normal rules do not apply here.

"Then they stone her to death" - Suggests that danger comes from human imagination - could be Carter commenting on a wider idea, with her opinionated input towards our civilization.

"Here, take your father's hunting knife; you know how to use it" - Knife = power.
She KNOWS how to use it. She has experience, much like a man in craft work and knife related acts. Positive, rational paternal figure. Uncommon amongst fairy tales. Also suggests the girl is active not passive, she can defend herself like a man. Similarly suggests she is violent. Uncommon again.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

In case e-mail doesnt work - LOTHOL essay

If sex and the fear of death are Carter's material and psychological concerns in these stories, why are they particularly thought of as feminist tales? Explore the lady of the house of love in light of this idea. (500-700 words)

In this short essay I will be exploring how sex and the fear of death are featured in Carters story; the lady of the house of love, and why if they are featured as the main concern Carter's works are seen as feminist tales.

During the course of the lady of the house of love there are numerous ideas surrounding sex interlinked with death. The countess lures her victims in to the bedroom; a room which is associated with sexual imagery and she murders them there. 'He will go in to the chamber which had been prepared for him', such imagery resembling that of the wedding night and the consummation of traditional marriage in such an arranged fashion. These references to the bedroom and an 'act' which is to take place are interlinked with the idea of fear, despite the soldiers unawareness of the real danger as "since he himself is immune to shadow, due to his virginity - he does not yet know what there is to be afraid of...and though he feels unease, he cannot feel terror". The references to his 'virginity', his pure and innocent form is corrupted by her vampiric act. Vampires are associated with penetration and the exchange of bodily fluids, which evokes similar imagery to that of the loss of a woman's virginity, suggesting she is going to contaminate him, further linking the references to sexual acts and a accompanied association with fear. This implies that Carter's main concern in that of sex and the fear of death during the lady of the house of love. It may also suggest that Carter is trying to associate sex in light of something negative, proposing it is psychologically harmful or perhaps even physically so, which is why such a strong association with fear and death is interlinked around it.

However this association with sex in a negative light could imply that it is taking more of a feminist input. The fact that Carter refers to the bedroom as a place of pain and death may in tern emphasise her pessimistic views towards sex, and or marriage and the repression of women through the loss of their virginity and furthermore purity and power. Despite this however there is a role reversal, which is un common in light of feminist texts, especially the work of Carter. She seemingly equals out the roles of men and women, with the Countess becoming the active character and the bicyclist becoming the passive role. She had 'four footed speed' and 'sharp fingernails' and hunts like a beast, she is animalistic and predatorial whilst the bicyclist becomes her victim, resembling that of week prey. However this is contradicted further by the fact the countess does not want her power over men, she does not want her role, 'nothing can console her for the ghastliness of her condition', she is the 'queen of terror', 'except her horrible reluctance for the role'. In comparison to books such as Bram Stoker's Dracula, the male antagonist is proud of his heritage and thrives in his evil ways, yet the countess wants nothing of it. This could imply from a feminist perspective that Carter believes women enjoy being passive in society to some extent, that they do not crave the power to overcome men, perhaps merely equality is enough?

Overall I would argue that sex and the fear of death are closely linked throughout the lady of the house of love and whilst they are both featured in Carter's material with many ambiguities and possible psychological messages, feminist ideas are still largely featured throughout her work and is a constant undertone in her writing.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

How does Carter challenge or uphold the readers expectations of a gothic text in the lady of the house of love.

How does Carter challenge or uphold the readers expectations of a gothic text in the lady of the house of love.

During the course of this essay I am going to explore the expectations we as a reader may have of a gothic text and explore the extent to which Carter challenges or upholds these expectations in the lady of the house of love.

The setting featured in the lady of the house of love suggests that Carter wants to uphold the readers expectations of a gothic text. The house is "derelict and dark" and has been "neglected" by the female vampire that lives within it. The 'dark' setting immediately creates gothic imagery and the building resembles that of Dracula's castle, a widely recognized gothic text. The seemingly abandoned house could relate to the vampires negative feelings toward her inheritance and her negative feelings towards her surroundings. However it could also create a challenge to female repression, a common theme features in Carter's texts, with regards to her view on the traditional housewife role, with Carter presenting an alternative, inverted female role.

There is also religious references featured in the Lady of the house of love, with additional corrupted elements within it. The use of the "bridal gown" could relate again back to the gothic text of Dracula, and the imagery of an anti-Christ figure wearing a wholly outfit emphasises the idea of corruption. Furthermore a bride is traditionally expected to be pure, however the ideas of penetration and the exchange of bodily fluids associated with vampires, strongly infects the idea of wholesomeness and purity. Carter may do this to add a more sinister twist on the theme of religion, whilst maintaining a gothic element within her story, suggesting she intended to uphold the readers expectations of a gothic text.

Another commonly featured idea which is featured throughout gothic texts is that of attraction and revulsion. This is featured in the lady of the house of love with regards to the countess herself and how the soldier reacts to her striking appearance. The countess and her "huge eyes almost broke his heart with their waiflike, lost look; yet he was disturbed, almost repelled, by her extraordinarily fleshy mouth". The fixation on her 'fleshy mouth' could link to Freud's oral fixation theory, whilst also suggesting that he is finding her grotesque and un-appealing, whilst her eyes almost break 'his heart', conflicting his feelings towards her exterior. Carter may use this to rebel against the idea of Mulvey's male gaze, inverting it as the man is intimidated by the female as opposed to objectifying her. This feature of revulsion and attraction largely implies that Carter is continuingly upholding the readers expectations of what we expect of a gothic text during the lady and the house of love.

However during the course of the lady of the house of love the reader becomes aware that there is an idea of role reversal. The 'countess', the female vampire, is the active character, she is also stimulated by a sexual impulse, a lust for men, which is un-commonly featured throughout gothic texts; which for the most part feature strong, hormonal predators with links to a sexual nature. However the 'soldier' is the victim, the passive role, whilst the women is animalistic and predatorial. Carter may do this in order to create equality between men and woman and suggest that women should be free to exploit themselves as sexually as men do. However this is again conflicted by the idea that the countess seemingly does not want her role. She seems disgusted by her lust for men and her vampire nature. Carter may arguably do this in order to imply that women enjoy being the passive character and that men should not be weak.

Overall I would argue that Carter intends to uphold the readers expectations of a gothic text, through the use of religious imagery, setting and the ideas surrounding attraction and revulsion, whilst also presenting conflicting ideas of role reversal which can be interpreted differently depending on the countess and her feelings towards her nature.

LOTHOL notations


gothic references - there are elements of the supernatural featured in the story and references to vampires and tarot cards.

There is the element of death and also the link between that and sex. She 'dealt herself a hand of love and death'. Foreshadowing? So we expect there to be a link later on between the two and we know that death happens in the bedroom - further link between sex and death.

Gothic setting - it is 'neglected' and 'derelict and dark', darkness/gothic aspects. Could perhaps relate to the vampire's (female main character) negative feelings towards her house/life/inheritance or Carter's view on the traditional housewife? She hasn't taken very good care of her home? Inverted female role/expectations.

There are religious references and perhaps a corruption of religion. "bridal gown" - relates back to Dracula. An anti-chirst figure wearing a wholly/pure outfit, an outfit associated with the church and christianity etc. - ALSO a bride is supposed to be pure. however the ideas of penetration and the exchange of all the other men's/victims fluids corrupts this idea of purity in association with vampires.

Attraction and revulsion - She is both attractive and grotesque at the same time to the 'soldier'. Page 116, "Her huge dark eyes almost broke his heart with their waif like, lost look; yet he was disturbed, almost repelled, by her extraordinarily fleshy mouth". - Could also link to ideas of fixation on the mouth with Freud.

She has a title rather than a name - 'the countess'. This could be to place a distance between her and her actions which symbolises her distaste and how she hates what she does. (killing -sucking blood) She does not want to be what she has become, she hates her lust for men. What could Carter be saying by this? Women should not lust for men? or they should lust for men and society shouldn't frown upon female sexuality? Equality in sexual rights?

Could also be part of representing her identity in the wider picture, having a name is something only human's possess, therefore could identify her as a vampire or indicate how much the Countess wishes to be human.

Also the status of 'countess' suggests she has been born in to wealth and social hierarchy, much like Dracula, (gothic theme) although she does not seem proud of it as Dracula was in his heritage. Other antagonists enjoy their evil -ness.

There is also a role reversal present. The men are the victims, active female role. However she does not want this role and this power? Carter suggesting women like being passive?

Thursday, 24 March 2011


Miss Dale would like you to know that you have until the end of school tommorrow to either e-mail or bring in a hard copy of your first draft comparative essay!!!!!

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Do we have to comment on jess or lucy?

:) help.

Snowy childy

Snow Child

An explanation of one thing with optional interpretations.

The count requesting a girl 'as white as snow' could suggest he is seeking someone innocent and vulnerable, demonstrated through the use of the colour 'white' which connotes purity. This may link to ideas surrounding purity such as that of a young virtuous girl, sought after for her virginity, as explored in the Madonna whore complex - men desiring women for their cleanliness.

However it could also arguably indicate the count has become unsatisfied with his wife, as she wears 'felts of black foxes' and is seemingly the opposite to the white, wholesome figure which the count conjures demonstrated within the direct contrast of their characterisation. ( It could also suggest within this idea that men desire women without personality, and merely to satisfy their sexual appetite, something featured within a number of Carter's short stories).

However another interpretation and one that I feel is perhaps the most powerful is the use of the bold colours and their visual elements which depict the proposal of the 'male gaze'. The count; the male character conjures up a girl only using visual references to her appearance using colours, illustrating his care in appearance but his disinterest in personality, suggesting he seeks the girl merely for her exterior. She is seemingly objectified as a female but more as an idea rather than a character, an illusion of a generalised male desire.

ERL KING so far

The Erl King

The story opens with a long descriptive passage depicting the stark and gloomy atmosphere of the woods in late October. These woods are characterized as entrapping and menacing, not so much because of any physical danger they present as because of their ability to undermine human identity: ‘‘It is easy to lose yourself in these woods.’’ This point is further emphasized though disorienting shifts from second- to third- to first-person narration. The setting during the first paragraph is dream like, bordering on a fine line between dreams and reality. This is enforced with the personification within the woods; "anorexic trees", creating the illusion that the narrator is not alone, but is surrounded by a hidden life force. There seems to be a presence in the wood, hidden in the descriptions of the surroundings Carter plants the idea of an underlying being.

She looks "hopelessly for a way out", connoting entrapment and suggesting she is in danger. "Of no ambiguities", paradoxical imagery, with the idea of certainty within a dream like state.

"Erl king will do you grevious harm" - his full name. Something we are often not subjected to within fairy tales and Carter's short stories.

When a clear first-person narrator’s voice does emerge, she describes hearing a bird song that expresses her own ‘‘girlish and delicious loneliness’’ as she walks through the woods. She believes that she is alone. She then comes upon a clearing where animals have gathered. The Erlking enters playing a pipe that sounds like a birdsong and reaches out to the narrator. She is immediately subject to his strange charisma. She states that he has the power to do ‘‘grievous harm.’’

Ideas of marriage and entrapment. "Pretty wedding rings round their necks"; as if marriage chokes you, suffocating you and keeping you at arm's length.

The gothic theme of attraction and revulsion noticeable in the phrase "Consoles and devastates me".

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Lit Gothic dot com

Well for a start they need to make their user face more exciting, because if I hadn't had to I wouldn't have bothered reading much further due to the dull nature of the website.. but also!

I found it interesting scrolling through the authors section and looking at authors such as Jane Austen in particular – who when I picture her I picture Pride and prejudice and a more comedic and satirical state of writing. However it noted her romantic period and divuldged in great detail in to her novel (to quote the website) “uninterested in the Gothic except as an object of parody. Her early novel Northanger Abbey is a wonderful Gothic satire—one which demonstrates a real knowledge of the genre, and its excesses.Northanger Abbey specifically mentions a number of genuine Gothics, often referred to as the Northanger novels.

I thought it just goes to show that I can’t assume authors only have one genre of writing! Who knew we could study Jane Austen in the gothic literature section.

Also after a lot of opening tabs and new web pages I found links to Angela Carter and her biography – which I found very interesting as it’s something I don’t recall looking at previously.

“During the war years, she was removed by her grandmother to South Yorkshire.” OUR SOUTH YORKSHIRE???

THE MAGIC TOYSHOP (1967) developed further the themes of sexual fantasy and revealed Carter's fascination with fairy tales and the Freudian unconscious.” – This I found particularly interesting because I didn’t realise Angela Carter had been influenced by the works of Freud! Just goes to show when we make notes that are seemingly stretching the boundaries a little we could just be making the right assumptions!

“In 1970, having separated from her husband, Carter went to live in Japan for two years. During this period she worked at many different jobs, among others as a bar hostess. The experience of a different culture had a strong influence on her work. In 1979 Carter published THE SADETAN WOMAN, where she questioned culturally accepted views of sexuality, and sadistic and masochistic relations between men and women.” Seems perhaps she became more of a feminist AFTER she split up from her husband.. Suspicious. But very interesting that she experienced what it was like elsewhere, as opposed to writing stories just based on England. This makes me feel her work goes deeper than I originally thought – perhaps some of her texts could be reaching out in to more foreign concepts of thinking?

“BLOODY CHAMBER (1979), a collection of stories retelling classic fairy tales, and an anthology of subversive stories by women.” That’s pretty much all this particular article touched upon bloody chamber which I found rather disappointing after reading the massive thing.

Carter's screenplay for THE COMPANY OF WOLVES (1984), based on THE BLOODY CHAMBER (1979) was a bloodthirsty, Freudian retelling of the 'Little Red Riding Hood' story, directed by Neil Jordan. This visually groundbreaking film studied the wolf-girl relationship in the light of sexual awakening. Re-writing fairy-tales from a feminist point of view, Carter argued that one can find from both literature and folklore "the old lies on which new lies are based." However, her critics saw that using the old form, Carter produced the "rigidly sexist psychology of the erotic".

I feel a lot more confident in exploring the work from a point of view of someone I now feel I know a bit more about. I found the article very interesting but found it very difficult finding one which had such information!

Monday, 7 March 2011

Essay to print (500-700 words) Mr Lyon and Tigers bride.

‘Carter’s stories are stories of women regaining power.’ Consider the role of men and women in The Courtship of Mr Lyon and the Tigers Bride, in light of this comment (500-700 words).

During this short analysis of the Courtship of Mr Lyon and the Tiger’s bride I will explore the element of women regaining power and the role of men and women throughout the two short stories.

During the Courtship of Mr Lyon it seems the female role of ‘Beauty’ is more in control of Mr Lyon than he is of her. At first glance Beauty seems to captivate the beast, emphasising her element of control; ‘then, with a strange kind of wonder...the camera had captured a certain look she had’. He seems mesmerised by her beauty and does not objectify her but indulges in her. The male gaze seems inverted, "if her eyes might pierce appearances and see your soul". Her eyes seem to objectify him, 'piercing' him and challenging him, something we would not expect to see within a traditional story line of a fairytale. This would imply that in light of women regaining power, Beauty seems to have achieved authority over My Lyon successfully. Carter may do this in order to reverse the idea of Mulvey’s male gaze and to contradict the idea that Men control women through the use of their gaze and objectivity. Instead she arguably implies that women have the ability to intercept the man’s gaze and to control them with their splendour and charm.

The role of the male during the Courtship of Mr Lyon seems similar to that of a true gentleman. He greets the useless paternal figure with open arms and provides him with sufficient comfort and nourishment whilst spoiling Beauty and lavishing her in a way most young girls only dream of. He lunges himself on to his knees to ‘kiss her hands’ and he never represses of objectifies Beauty in an obvious way. He also seems very lonely and vulnerable with regards to female company. He ‘cannot eat or sleep’ without her and becomes almost dependent on her presence and her companionship. Carter may do this in order to imply that men are dependent on women and without them they would be lonesome and depressed, thus accentuating the significance of the female role and the part we play in society.

The Tiger’s bride consists of largely similar themes to the Courtship of Mr Lyon. However the female role seems to take a more vicious approach and appears more manipulative and less innocent than Beauty in Mr Lyon. Following the Beast’s request she lets out a ‘raucous guffaw’. She then goes on to say ‘I felt that I owed it to him to make my reply in as exquisite a Tuscan as I could master’; she plans to paint the following situation in an eyrie of formality, despite the situations simplicity. This holds a mocking undertone and suggests she is not taking him seriously. She goes on to manipulate the Beast, using his shame against him and to her advantage. a sheet over my face to hide it’, ‘deposited in the public square, in front of the church’, ‘you should give me only the same amount of money that you would give to any other woman in such circumstances’. She makes it very clear how shameful what he is asking of her is, presenting the upper hand by laughing she then leads him in to an epitome of guilt, asking him to deposit her ‘in front of the church’ as if he was being judged. Carter may create this more sinister element to a female role within a fairytale to involve the womanly role; that women can take control in a more calculated way than men account for or desire, that women hold the upper hand for knowledge. Or she could be explicitly exploiting her views on men, and how susceptible they are to shame and loss of their own devices.

Overall I would conclude that the role of men and women and very similar regarding the characters in the Courtship of Mr Lyon and the Tiger’s Bride. The men’s role seems to be quite passive and vulnerable whilst the women’s role seems to be taking control of the male interest and arguably using it to their advantage. Either way they are both very similar in their devices, whilst differing mainly in the ways in which the women gain control. Beauty; with her looks and the female in The Tiger’s bride taking a more calculated outlook.

The Tiger's bride notations.

During the Tiger’s bride we are subject to Mulvey’s theory of the male gaze a lot more than previously in the Courtship of Mr Lyon. On page 63 the narrator quotes ‘yet a glance with so much superciliousness in it that it did not comfort me’. His gaze on her and the ‘superciliousness’ that she feels suggests he is objectifying her and that he feels superior.

The valet ‘fixing upon wide and suddenly melancholy eyes’ provokes imagery of persuasion and technique as if he has some power over her and some control with his gaze.

‘Where the eyes that watch you take no account of your existence’ emphasises her awareness of the female gaze, she acknowledges that it exists.

There are also commonly used phrases which suggest the recurring gothic theme of attraction and repulsion. ‘Artificial masterpiece of his face appals me’ – This extended oxymoron implies that she is attracted to his perfect mask yet the idea of it, or the mask itself repulses her.

The Beast seems less powerful and more innocent than she does. ‘ashamed of his own request’ implies that the Beast is shy and embarrassed. However in her following actions she seems more vicious and overpowering. ‘I let out a raucous guffaw...my heartless merth’. She takes no hesitation in shaming him, manipulating his guilt, ‘a sheet over my face to hide it’, ‘deposited in the public square, in front of the church’, ‘you should give me only the same amount of money that you would give to any other woman in such circumstances’. She makes it very clear how shameful what he is asking of her is, presenting the upper hand by laughing she then leads him in to an epitome of guilt, asking him to deposit her ‘in front of the church’ as if he was being judged, she uses his shame against him.

However she does seem to want to retain an element of dignity, by requesting she keeps her face covered. Perhaps out of fear of shame or perhaps she doesn’t have to look in to his eyes, or see the face that ‘appals’ her. From ‘the waist up’ she wants to be covered with a sheet. Her body remains but no personality is present. She is almost objectifying herself, suggesting that all men want is her body for their sexual appetite.

But she remains cruel like. ‘How pleased I was to see I struck The Beast to the heart!’ She is female and is seemingly holding all power over him. She paints this situation in formality, however simple, almost mocking the concept of it all.

She sees a mirror which holds the ability to create a window to the outside world, yet she cowers away ‘astonished fright’ - She dislikes it, it frightens her.

‘That he should want so little was the reason why I could not give it’ – the idea of virginity and it’s importance/lack of. It seems that in her opinion either her or the Beast does not value virginity and cleanliness.

There is confusion between money and magic. ‘If you have enough money anything is possible’.

There is again the useless paternal figure. Human carelessness seen within her father. ‘Abandoned me to the wild beasts with his human carelessness’.

She is seemingly very clever and knowledgable about the society she lives in and the expectations of men. She seems to reject this and resent it. “I was a young girl, a virgin, and therefore men denied me rationality just as they denied it to all those who were not exactly like themselves”. She does not seem to care much for men and their ideals.

She recognizes that women are objectified as men for a certain purpose. ‘My own state, how I had been bought and sold, passed from hand to hand. That clockwork girl who powdered my cheeks for me; had I not been allotted only the same kind of imitative life amongst men that the doll-maker had given her’. She compares herself to a robot, a creation carried out to complete tasks to which it was produced for – she compares herself to this illustrating her acknowledgement of her objectivity and female purpose.

The phrase ‘The lamb must learn to run with the tigers’, would have been very controversial at the time of reception. The male being the tiger and the lamb symbolic of women, the phrase suggesting that men and women should run aside each other as equals. That women need to ‘step up’ to the male position. Also emphasising the difference in power positions at the time and the representation of male dominance.

She feels that she is ‘at liberty for the first time’ in her life, when naked alongside the tiger. This could be because she feels exposed, in the sense that nothing is hidden. They are as honest as they both can be and are both naked, so both equals.

There is a undertone of role reversal as throughout she seems to hold more power over him. On one of the last pages of the story she remarks “He was far more frightened of me than I was of him” making the readers awareness of this role reversal heightened.

Then finally, she turns in to a Beast. Previously we saw the Mr Lyon turn human, as in traditional fairytales such as beauty and the beast, however end she becomes beast like – perhaps living up the lambs expectations to ‘run with the tigers’.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Is the Courtship of Mr Lyon intended to be in the style of a traditional fairy tale?

Is The Courtship of Mr Lyon intended to be in the style of a traditional fairy tale? 500-700 words

There is an immediate sense of traditional fairy tales when the main female character is introduced. As an audience we expect her to be based on characters such as sleeping beauty and snow white; characters that are innocent and amiable. She is described within the first paragraph of the story as having an 'inner light' and 'all of snow'. The whiteness of the snow suggests she is pure and her inner light indicates she is radiant and trustworthy. Her skin possessing such radiance also suggests she is beautiful, another commonly explored theme in fairytales, she is 'unmarked', which connotes perfection and a sense of attraction. She is also doing 'her chores', she is seemingly a delightful, virtuous young girl, a further similarity with the female character and a tradition fairy tale heroin. This traditional characterisation of the female role within the Courtship of Mr Lyon emphasises that evidently, Carter employs strong elements of traditional tales in her story. Carter also uses the narrative tool of suggesting the characters are named merely by their purpose in their story, a component that is used in traditional stories. The female character is 'Beauty', and her feather 'Beauty's father', highlighting their primary role. However 'The Beast' does something unusual in acknowledging this technique 'Call me the Beast', suggesting he is aware of this characterisation tool. This unexpected awareness is something the reader may not necessarily anticipate whilst reading a fairy tale, suggesting The Courtship of Mr Lyon was not intended to be traditional in all aspects.

There is also an element of latent content within conventional fairytales regarding the uselessness of the paternal figure. In fairytales the father figure is often the cause of problems for example in Rumplestiltskin or Beauty and the Beast. In the Courtship of Mr Lyon it is on the second page the father needs to 'look for help' and manages to anger the Beast within the house, which his daughter pays the price for. This implies the story is indeed intended to follow the style of a traditional fairy tale.

However there is a lack of female repression presented throughout the story and also a void of the male gaze, two aspects which the reader would expect to find within a traditional fairytale. Beauty seems to instead captivate the beast, suggesting she is the one in control; "then, with a strange kind of wonder...the camera had captured a certain look she had". He seems to be under her beautiful spell and in no way does he repress or objectify her in an obvious way. Instead lunging himself on to his knees to kiss her hands similarly to a traditional gentleman, he strives to gain her approval. The male gaze seems inverted, "if her eyes might pierce appearances and see your soul". Her eyes seem to objectify him, 'piercing' him and challenging him, something we would not expect to see within a traditional story line of a fairytale.

Another major factor which is not explored during the Courtship of Mr Lyon that is normally incorporated within traditional fairytales, is the element of danger. There is usually a price to be paid, or a trap of some kind. However neither Beauty or her father ever receive any kind of threat, in fact quite the opposite. Instead both characters leave the luxurious lair of Mr Lyon to set off and divulge and succeed largely in the wider world. This indicates a significant different between Carter's short story and that of traditional fairy tales such as Rapunzel and sleepy Beauty for example.

We do however experience a happy ending, an end which all traditional fairy tales meet. "Mr and Mrs Lyon walk in the garden; the old spaniel drowses on the grass, in a drift of fallen petals". In the idyllic setting, the happy couple seem at peace and the reader gains a sense of relief. With such magical settings, such a happy ending and such beauty explored, despite the lack of female objectification and the void of male gaze, I would conclude that The Courtship of Mr Lyon is indeed intended to be more of a traditional fairytale rather than a corrupt story, similar to the Bloody Chamber.

Monday, 28 February 2011

The Courtship of Mr Lyon

A few notations on Mr Lyon.. (even though we haven't finished it yet).

Immediately 3rd person narrative – different to the bloody chamber.

‘Lyon’- similar to ‘lion’ – suggests he is going to be violent and beast-like, similar to the Marquis. However the ‘courtship’ suggests he will be the one doing the wooing.

The girl is presented initially to be a very innocent character, similarly to the Bloody chamber. Her ‘inner light’ with skin all of ‘snow’ indicates she is pure and ‘lovely’. She is also doing ‘chores’, something we often see within the traditional female role in fairy tales.

Her thoughts interrupt the narrative – we are giving an insight in to her feelings, “father said he would be home before nightfall”.

We see paternal love – “I hope he’ll be safe”.

She is a seemingly good virtuous girl.

We are introduced to another useless paternal figure (in contrast to the powerful maternal figure in the Bloody Chamber).

We are disconnected from the outside world and suspension of the reader’s disbelief is emphasised – “barred all within it from the world outside the walled, wintry garden”. The magic which surrounds the setting suspends our disbelief (out of reality anything is possible). “Where all the laws of the world her knew need not necessarily apply” further distancing from reality. “Suspension of reality” enforces this idea further. “Drink me” and “eat me” remind the reader of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and we are aware that Alice comes across this situation once she is down the rabbit whole, once she is in another world – reminds us that we are in a special place in the story and rules of reality are suspended.

There is personification present. “The crystals of the chandelier tinkled a little, as if emitting a pleased chuckle”, “door of the cloak-room opened of it’s own accord”, we get the idea that the house is alive, that it is humanlike.

Slight indications of the ‘male gaze’ however it seems corrupted. “With a strange kind of wonder” – The beast is captivated by the girl, suggests an inverted male gaze, her eyes pierce him, he is affected by her.

He also seems in awe of her. “Master his shyness” and “hesitantly” in the way he acts around her suggests this. He has no confidence and she seems more in control.

Direct contrast to the bloody chamber in terms of the scene with the library. “French fairy tales about white cats” – the imagery is completely innocent and opposite to what the reader was subject to in the Bloody Chamber.

Sunday, 27 February 2011


Carter’s intent was to ‘extract the latent content from the traditional stories and use that as the beginnings of new stories’ when writing the Bloody Chamber. What ‘latent content’ can be found in the bloody chamber and how does Carter use that in her story? 1 HOUR

During the course of this essay I am hoping to look at what latent content has been used in Carter’s short story; the Bloody Chamber in reference to traditional stories. I am also hoping to explore why she uses this, whilst also challenging the traditional latent content within her story.

There is an immediate sense of latent content when the idea of a journey and of separation which is emphasised on the first page. “The train that bore me through the night” describes her travelling away from “Paris, away from girlhood” and the separation from her mother; “I ceased to be her daughter in becoming his wife”. This is a recurring theme throughout traditional stories whereby the daughter is usually separated from her caregiver; however there is an immediate challenge. An element of choice is highlighted by her mother, asking her if she is “sure” she “loves him?” The depiction of choice humanitises her situation, adding a modern twist. She is not forced to move away as traditional fairy tales often depict, allowing an instant challenge to the amount of latent content. Arguably Carter may do this to absorb the reader deeper in to the story, whereby with the use of the modern twist they can share a deeper understanding towards the main character, or Carter may do this in order to challenge the traditional morals and to incorporate her ideals and beliefs in to her writing based on her opinions on marriage and choice.

The idea of female ownership is also a theme present within the Bloody chamber which links to the latent content of traditional stories. It is seemingly obvious that the female narrator in the Bloody chamber is a very passive character, she is objectified by the Marquis in ‘becoming his wife’, ‘away from white’, ‘away from girlhood’, driving her away from purity. There are also suggestions of female repression within Carter’s writing. The Marquis controls and defers the sexual gratification until they reach the castle and objects such as the ring and the choker are arguably identify his power and control over her. She is ‘horseflesh’ and ‘cuts on a slab’, surveyed by his ‘carnival avarice’, which links back to Mulvey and the idea of sexual repression and objectifying the women as the objects of male desire. It is obvious that the love between the narrator and the marquis is reduced to hunger suggested by ‘cuts on a slab’ which holds negative connotations of meat and violence as their love is reduced to a physical appetite. The marquis also gains power by taking her virginity, the one thing that attracted him to her is now gone and she is left unclean. The mirrors multiply the power he has over her, he can see her from many different angles and can objectify her deeper. Carter may do this in order to exaggerate the theme of female virtue and repression that we see as an ongoing undertone within traditional stories, which all hold key ideas surrounding the ownership of women.

However there is another interpretation which contradicts this idea. The narrator is not completely ignorant; she holds understanding and displays this through the graphic imagery her narrations hold and through the horniness she suggests she feels. ‘Like a split fig’ provokes images of a sexual and sensual nature, illustrating her understanding and comfortable nature towards sex. Not only this but she is able to ‘sense corruption’ within herself, suggesting she acknowledges and understands what is becoming of her. This could suggest that Carter does this in order to make her seem like she is not innocent, contradicting the idea of female ownership in relation to latent content within traditional fairy tales.

The mother, the female matriarch of the story is also a direct contrasting idea to what we would normally find in a traditional story. The mother is seemingly the most active character in the story, she is strong and powerful, ‘eagle’ like, animalistic-ally courageous and overpowering. She is an abnormal female figure, she has ‘outfaced a junkful of Chinese pirates’ and ‘shot a man eating tiger’, all this which holds imagery which we would normally associate with the male hero of a traditional story, creating the illusion that the mother is equal to men, equally powerful, equally capable. Carter may do this in order to reflect women’s fight for justice and equality and the struggle for female independence. She may also do this in order to contradict the idea that women in the Bloody Chamber are not without freedom and identity, as the mother holds the idea of choice and power and equality to men.

Another strong contradiction is that of the piano tuner and his passive role as the male hero. In traditional stories the heroic male is the recurring saviour, he is strapping and selfless. However in the Bloody Chamber the piano tuner, the narrator’s ‘lover’ is blind, which holds connotations of weakness and does not play a remote part in the saviour of his lover. This content does not reflect that of a traditional story in fact quite the opposite. Carter may do this in order to represent the good and the evil within her strong depiction of male roles. However she could arguably do it to make the motherly role which Carter seemingly admires, seem ever stronger, as it depicts her as wise and knowledgeable because she was right in questioning her daughter marrying the Marquis.

Over all I would argue that there is latent content used within the Bloody Chamber that reflects the same themes that reside in tradition stories. However I would also argue that Carter uses a number of different elements such as the characters within her plot, which depict the nature of traditional stories very differently, for example the passive nature of female roles.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Monday, 14 February 2011

Women in the BC

Women in the bloody chamber –

The biggest and most direct contrast of the female characters in the Bloody chamber is the one between the narrator and her mother.

The contrast is immediate, emerging noticeably within the first few pages of the short story. The narrator in the beginning is seen as pure – “away from white”, “away from girlhood” and is seemingly very innocent; “my young girls pointed breasts”. She is also objectified not only by her mother but also by the Marquis when she feels she has “ceased to be her child, in becoming his wife”, suggesting she is being objectified, she is passive and without independence.

In large contrast her mother is seen to be not passive, but extremely active. She is a powerful figure and role model, a character which would be un-expected due to the context of production in which men were dominant. The narrator describes her mother; “my eagle featured, indomitable mother”, the use of the animalistic imagery connotes strength and the use of the eagle symbolises her mother’s vigour and courage. She then goes on to say “her mother had outfaced a jungle of Chinese pirates, nursed a village through a visitation of the plague, shot a man eating tiger with her own hand and all before she was as old as I?” She is an accomplished, brave character, and not only has she contradicted every assumption of women of that time, she is surrounded by this idea of accomplishment and individuality, one which the narrator voices in a such a way that we believe she is almost jealous, at disbelief, and is aware she is mightily dissimilar to her mother. Her mother also contradicts society’s norms and values, by emphasising the idea of choice, one which women would not usually captivate. “Are you sure you want to marry him”, depicts the choice she presents to her child and as the reader we know that she is wise, as we are aware of the fate that awaits the narrator, one which the mother has almost predicted.

There is also a noticeable contrast in the way both these characters approach the idea of death in the final scene of the story. The narrator accepts that she is going to die, and passively follows the Marquis’ instructions without hesitation, bathing and dressing herself accurately to his demands; “already almost lifeless, cold at heart, I descended the spiral staircase to the music room”. Not only does she accept her fate but she makes no attempt whatsoever in to escaping it. However at this moment in time her curagious mother is heroically racing towards the castle on horseback, and image which we would normally associate with a prince or a king savior. She takes immediate action in saving her daughter and shooting the Marquis straight in the forehead. “A single, irreproachable bullet”, the idea of one attempt, one chance. Her mother is portrayed as a hero, as a magnificent, efficient and strong, superlative figure.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Male characters in the B.C

In the Bloody chamber we are subjected to the two very different male characters, each character having a very different symbolic representation in terms of the repression of women.

The marquis is suggestively portrayed as the dominant character, he is the active one in the relationship and is in constant control of the female narrator, which she is not oblivious to herself. It is the male Marquis who is controlling and deferring the sexual gratification until they reach his castle. The ring and the choker are physical evidence of the control he has over her, given as ‘gifts’ to his bride. She is objectified; she was no longer ‘HER’ daughter, in becoming ‘HIS’ wife. This illustrates her passive nature and her lack of independence.

She is a beautiful young bride yet she is also ‘horseflesh’ and ‘cuts on a slab’, surveyed by his ‘carnal avarice’. Linking back to Mulvey and her theory of female sexual repression and objectifying the women as male desire, it is obvious that the female narrator is the object of hunger and love is reduced to an extreme desire without feelings, just a simple physical appetite.

He belittles her like she was a child, ‘he doubted...for a chuckle, I would be quite so interested in his share certificates even though they were worth infinitely more’. He depicts what she should be interested in and what she shouldn’t be, he decides what she values more, paper or jewels.

He also holds the power of taking her virginity. He takes her purity away and in doing so gains even more power over her, she is now left un clean. She has lost the most precious gift of all, the thing that most attracted the male marquis to her, which makes her more vulnerable in their relationship.

The idea of the mirrors, multiply the power of the marquis. He can see her from many different angles; he can objectify her even more thoroughly.

In contrast the piano tuner, the other male character, is depicted as a more passive male role. The most significant factor which allows us to see this is he is blind. He does not possess the ability to see her, objectify her and repress her. Instead with regards to the female narrator, she seems to be in control. Instead, she judges him, noting he is ‘satisfactory’. He asks her permission, that one day he might get to listen to her play the piano. The fact that the male character is actually asking for permission from a women directly contrasts the idea of Male dominance and male power over their gaze.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Visual Pleasure and Narrative cinema

Visual Pleasure and

Narrative cinema

Visual pleasure and narrative cinema

A theory based on Laura Mulvey (a professor of film and media studies) A Feminist.

One of the first major essays that helped shift the orientation of film theory towards a psychoanalytic framework – She based her theory on that of Freud’s, Lacan’s.

She was a feminist that argued that in Hollywood cinema, they inevitably put the spectator in a masculine subject position and the woman on screen as the object of desire.

Mulvey suggests that there were two distinct modes of the male gaze of this era: "voyeuristic" (i.e. seeing women as 'whores') and "fetishistic" (i.e. seeing women as 'madonnas').

(Links in with the Madonna whore complex)

She argued that the only way in which to be rid of the Hollywood system was to radically challenge and re-shape the strategies of film making with alternative feminist methods.

Visual Pleasure and Narrative cinema

Visual pleasure and narrative cinema

A theory based on Laura Mulvey (a professor of film and media studies) A Feminist.

One of the first major essays that helped shift the orientation of film theory towards a psychoanalytic framework – She based her theory on that of Freud’s, Lacan’s.

She was a feminist that argued that in Hollywood cinema, they inevitably put the spectator in a masculine subject position and the woman on screen as the object of desire.

Mulvey suggests that there were two distinct modes of the male gaze of this era: "voyeuristic" (i.e. seeing women as 'whores') and "fetishistic" (i.e. seeing women as 'madonnas').

(Links in with the Madonna whore complex)

She argued that the only way in which to be rid of the Hollywood system was to radically challenge and re-shape the strategies of film making with alternative feminist methods.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Female Eunuch

Feminism during the first pages of ‘The Bloody Chamber’...

The initial introduction to The Bloody Chamber is one of vivid sexual imagery, one which is repressed beneath a variety of alternate meanings, all of which connote sex. The female narrator uses phrases such as “tender”, “ecstasy”, “great pistons”, “thrusting”, “bore me”, all which provoke highly erotic imagery. However the hidden meanings which contain this imagery suggests the idea of the female eunuch, the repression of women’s sexuality and the controversial arguments surrounding it.

There is also reference to the women narrator being merely an object, a female character which to fulfil her role in society, moving from “her child” to “his wife”. She appears to be owned, voided of all freedom and simply a possession. This could relate to further feminist arguments which debate over the true identity of women, and the fight for equal freedom.

However her mother appears to contradict this passive role of the women figure. She emphasises the idea of choice; “Are you sure you want to marry him”, which contradicts the idea that she doesn’t have any freedom or identity. Her mother also appears to be highly powerful, an abnormal female figure. She was described as being “eagle features”, eagles connote great strength and ability and the narrator quotes “Mother had outfaced a junkful of Chinese pirates” and “shot a man eating tiger” all of which holds imagery that we would normally associate with a man, thus creating the illusion that she is equal to men, equally powerful and equally capable. This could imply that the mother’s character reflects women’s fight for justice and equality and the struggle for independence.

Strong feministic views can also be seen arguably in the male figure, in the phrase “that face lay underneath this mask”. This phrase suggests the male figure is ‘faceless’, we as the reader can interpret him, put any face on him we like, therefore he can represent all men. This could suggest that this man is a negative portrayal of the species of man.


“Dracula’s liar lies in that place between waking and sleeping” – Consider Dracula’s relationship with sleep and consciousness.

The idea of sleep is a commonly recurring theme throughout Bram Stokers Dracula. It becomes seemingly obvious throughout the novel that Dracula holds a certain control over his victims, one which is put up on them during a merging state of reality and dreams, which suggests that Dracula’s lair, his domain, remains within the element he is most powerful. However it could also be argued that Dracula is also most vulnerable in his time of sleep, where he appears to be beyond the place of dreams, hanging in the balance of death, which in turn suggests otherwise. Jonathon Harker is the first character to be subjected to these bizarre events and the merging of a dreamy state and reality...

To what extent do you agree with the view that Dracula is a novel with xenophobia at its heart?

I forgot what xenophobia means so looked it up and it said this – “an intense fear or dislike of foreign people, their customs and culture, or foreign things” so please note that my introduction was based on that particular understanding of the word.)

Dracula is arguably a novel with xenophobia living at its heart. Not only does Bram Stoker introduce the reader to a un-recognised species, a long side it comes a completely different way of life which contradicts all of societies norms and values of the Victorian era in which it was written...

Dracula serves as a warning against the movement away from superstition to a wholly scientific culture. Consider the place of superstition and science in Dracula in light of this comment.

Dracula was written during the Victorian era; a time where the idea of technology was filled with optimism, a time for scientific discovery and a time of change. The inner cities provided less and less influence from the Church and the Church’s power was more prominent in rural areas rather than industrial. Religion was being undermined by theorists such as Charles Darwin and his natural selection theories which began to uproot people’s belief systems. However during the novel, Dracula seems to corrupt the idea of technology...

“In Dracula the men are set pieces, void of any personality that does not support their purpose, to pursue the evil and to protect the women” – Consider the role of men in light of this comment.

In Dracula the male characters are seemingly there to fulfil a certain role, without any traits which support their purpose, only to fight the evil and protect the women. In light of the context of production it could be argued that the role of men reflect the way in which Bram Stoker saw the roles of the ‘normal’ man, during the Victorian era. Men were expected to bring in the money, the ‘bread winner’ of the household, they did manual work and protected their wives and family, whilst the women stayed home with the children, cooked and cleaned and fulfilled her role as the passive one within the relationship. In Dracula Jonathon Harker immediately supports this, leaving Mina his wife to travel in light of his job to the home of Count Dracula...

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Features of Fairytales

Feature number one – Morals

Many fairytales arguably have a moral undertone. For example you could conclude with observation, that in Cinderella, she would have been useless even with her beauty and character without her godmother, perhaps reflecting the importance of social connections?

Beauty and the Beast – she gets everything that she could have ever dreamed of because she loved someone for who they were, not their appearance. Suggests vanity is a negative trait. Etc. - Also it could be a moral undertone in the sense that honesty and cleverness is often rewarded, characters are often put to the test and as a result they are depicted as good or evil. Suggesting what is right and what is wrong.

Feature 2 - Feature number two – Beauty. The idea of vanity being represented in Beauty and the Beast is contradicted by the common theme of beauty, shown in almost every single fairytale that comes to mind. Ariel, Beauty and the beast, snow white, little red riding hood, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Rumplestiltskin etc. It is arguable that fairy tales reinforce the stereotypical perceptions of women,

and undermine them in their accomplishments. Perhaps this was a good thing in terms of the context of production, when women weren’t meant to work? Maybe it is trying to drill this in to little girls heads so that their role in society is shaped and defined through the undermining of women in fairytales? (They also seem to always be very thin - doesn't send out a very good message.)

Characters are created seemingly to fulfil their roles. They often do not possess names but their job in society, their position, who they are to the main character. “Miller”, “king”, “Evil sisters”, “Beauty”, Could be just to simplify the idea to the children reading it, they may not be able to remember all the characters names and what they do/who they are. Could be symbolic of society and social standing, comparisons are easy to make “the miller”- “the king”.

Monday, 13 December 2010


The idea of dreams and the merging of reality is a commonly recurring theme throughout Dracula. The character of Jonathon Harker is first to be subjected to this merging of reality and dream like state. On page 41 regarding his encounter with Dracula’s wives he recalls “I suppose I must have fallen asleep...what followed was startlingly real”. This emphasises Jonathon losing touch of what is real and what is fantasy, illustrating the confusion surrounding his lifelike encounters. The character that is most commonly subject to this bizarre illusion is Lucy Westenra. Lucy’s sleepwalking habits demonstrate her everyday life composure with that of a dream like state of mind, one which she is obviously not in control of, demonstrated by her sleepwalking attire. When on the cliff with Mina, Lucy recalls an encounter in a ‘dream like state’, noted by Mina, quoting “His red eyes again they are just the same”. The mixture between the past and the present and the presence of Dracula causing this confusion within her state of mind, almost like a trance, again illustrating the recurring theme of losing control to dreams, and the joining of reality and fantasy. Mina also provokes dream like imagery when trying to run to Lucy, she remarks that her feet are ‘like led’, similarly to what we feel when we try to run in our dreams and holds illusion connotations.

Throughout this idea we notice that Dracula has the ability to corrupt his victims minds, and causes them to fall in to a trance in which he takes advantage of them, and encourages them to act to his demands. On page 104 Mina remarks in regards to Lucy, “and saw that she was in a half dreamy state”, it is obvious that the mysterious ‘dark figure’, Dracula, has provoked this behaviour within Lucy, which strongly links to the nigh time, his domain, in which he is most powerful, which is arguably why he always strikes in the nightime (other than he can’t go out in the daylight). He also controls his victims accordingly, on page 176, Mina quotes “The moment she became conscious, she pressed the garlic flowers close to her...Whenever she got in to that lethargic state she put the flowers from her”, suggesting that Dracula is in control of her actions. Dracula also arguably acknowledges this idea of the night, danger and dreams, just not in an explicit manor. On page 36 he says to Jonathon “Do not sleep in any other parts of the castle... Be warned”. Dracula acknowledges that Harker is vulnerable in the castle during the night, and in turn may encourage him or the reader to believe that with the nigh time comes the recurring theme of dreams and danger, and susceptibility to evil.

It is also noticeable that most of the characters actually have trouble sleeping, and it has a knock on affect on others. Lucy in particular, “I tried to go to sleep but could not, there comes to me the old fear of sleep.” Suggests she is aware how vulnerable she is in the night time also. Due to Dracula keeping him up all night talking, and his creepy encounter with the wives and wolves and such, Harker also has trouble sleeping and becomes nocturnal. He says that his is in ‘nocturnal existence”, and influence which Dracula has on him. Dracula’s affect on Lucy in the night in turn provokes Mina to lose sleep of keeping her safe, and also the other characters who keep guard over Lucy in the night.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Notes on Chapter 8 and recurring themes

There is an immediate sense of characterisation in chapter 8 with regards to Mina. Her character connotes a strong sense of innocence, when she remarks “I am so happy” and also the way in which she often uses words such as ‘sweet’ to describe people and places, for example Lucy when she’s sleeping, and the Inn. She also uses the phrase “bless them” which could arguably illustrate a very forgiving temperament to her character. When fearing what has happened to Lucy Mina remarks “A vague overmasking fear...obscures all detail”, a reluctance to express her fear of what may have happened to Lucy such as rape, emphasises Mina’s innocence. Mina also refuses to show even her feet in public and resorts to covering them with mud on the walk home in case they should encounter anyone. Lucy is described to have ‘the obedience of a child’, making her seem very vulnerable.

However we go from a sense of innocence to that of fear. Note also that the fearful setting is almost always darkness, Dracula’s domain, creating a more ominous atmosphere. There is also the church setting which could imply marital imagery. This along with the descriptions of Lucy as a ‘white figure’, suggests a wedding dress and purity (pure – being a virgin – sex before marriage is when you are seen as un clean). The ruined abbey could implicate some sort of corrupted marriage ceremony, Dracula; the man in black, as the groom. --- This then links also to Lucy’s later state when she is laid in bed ‘heavily breathing’ and she moans. This could imply that she is recovering from a sexual act as she expresses that of being in exertion. There is also “A drop of blood on her night dress” which could link to her being ‘de-virginised’, as one would often be on their honeymoon - Supports the idea of the heavy marital imagery in chapter 8.

There is arguable sexual imagery. Some consider the exchange of the bodily fluids to be very sexual creating an undertone within the chapter. Could argue that cliff tops are a romantic setting, she is also only wearing a nightdress which for that time would have been frowned upon and very abnormal behaviour. The idea of her being in a dream like state throughout this exchange of bodily fluids may also relate to the idea of corruption within innocent characters such as Lucy and Mina and possibly erotic dreams and fantasy.

Narrative irony is very strong within this chapter along with idea of reality being merged with dreams. When looking at Lucy’s bleeding throat Mina notes a “piercing of the throat”, yet naively believe it was her who caused the wound. We know as the reader that Lucy has been victimised by Dracula. ‘A dark seated figure’ which the reader knows to be Dracula seems to have a power over Lucy, whereby he can control her state of reality. He seems to provoke a dream like state within his victims, which also links to his domain of the night. As Lucy is in this state she remarks, “His red eyes again, they are just the same”, narrative irony as we know it is Dracula, yet Mina believes it is the way the sun is reflecting of the figures eyes, also the recurring theme of the merging of her state of mind with her previous dreams and the present. There is also the idea of Mina describing her ‘feet being like led’ which suggests her reality merging with a dream like state, as it is similar to when you try to run in a dream but cannot move.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Goth notes

Gothic literature is marked by characteristic place settings and personality types that strive to lead to a sense of horror or despair.
Gothic atmosphere
Lovecraft claims ‘An appropriate atmosphere is absolutely essential to the Gothic mode’.

Building settings- A typical gothic story is set in and around a caste, graveyard, cave, convent, monastery, church, cathedral, chapel or dungeon. The building possesses the occupants or holds them in bondage – Marshall Tymn. The idea of a secluded place is an ongoing theme.
Natural settings- Secluded places in general, mountain ranges, wild forests etc.
Architectural paraphernalia such as towers, trapdoors, mysterious corridors, rust, hinges, creaking, tunnels, dim lights, flickering candles, burial vaults, suits of armour, prophecies, ghosts, chains, portraits, fluttering bats, storms, lightning and fast billowing winds all serve towards trapping their helpless victims and creating a gothic atmosphere. They add to the aura of terror and mystery that define a gothic genre.
Gothic notes
There is often an intermingling of terror and beauty. ( as seen with Dracula’s wives ) and this is often a common theme when it comes to vampires.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Erm.. our lesson.. on erm metaphors

If Dracula was a flower, he would be a red rose. Sharp imagery, pricks the skin, the deep colour red representing his thirst for blood.

If Dracula was an item of stationary he would be a whole punch. Whole punches hold penetrative imagery similar to Dracula.


Wednesday, 17 November 2010

A load of dodge on Victorian Morality, Religion and description.

Notations on Victorian Morality, Religion and Description.

Victorian Morality – A set of values linked with sexual restraint, low tolerance of crime and social ethics – Dracula links well with the ideas of sexual restraint, for example when Harker restrains himself away from the sexual temptations from Dracula’s wives. Dracula, arguably a sexual predator – (linking back to the ideas of Freud), the exchange of bodily fluids (blood in Dracula’s case), the idea of penetration from one personal to another (from the fangs).

Tolerance of crime – The lack of tolerance the team has to allow Dracula to commit such crimes. The idea that they all work together in order to bring Dracula down, putting their own lives at risk.

The idea of British society clashing with Dracula’s culture in Transylvania - (with the suggestion of lower class gypsies etc. Being used) During the Victorian morality there is the idea of dignity and restraint in Victorian society, but underneath there is the contrast of child labour and prostitution. This links to Dracula and his hierarchy nature as a ‘Count’, but his underlying animalistic temperament.

Religion morality – The idea that the Church’s power was more prominent in rural areas rather than industrial ones. Linking to Dracula, the inner city provided less danger from the church (out of fear of crosses and being hunted etc), the inner city may be a safe environment for him. Dracula may also favour it due to the larger population. (If he kills someone they are more likely to go un-missed, targets are easier, more choice, more places to hide etc.)

There is also further emphasis on the ‘crisis of faith’ – Religion being undermined by Charles Darwin’s natural selection theory, uprooting people’s belief systems. Stoker could arguably be combating this – As Dracula’s downfall is due to people belief, however this could be ironic as he is writing a fictional novel consisting of vampires and strong elements of the supernatural.

Description - The idea of ‘proper’ reference use in Literature. The sexual restraint theme again emerges. We must use the word ‘limb’ as opposed to ‘leg’. (However arguably contradicted by Queen Victoria’s erotic artistic collections and her indulgence in eroticism exchanged with her husband. Seems to be a facade. Links once again to Dracula – his dignified character on the outside, very formal and controlled. Demonstrated through his use of formal language, “Enter freely and of your own will”. Yet his animalistic qualities are beneath this.

The idea of homosexuality in Britain being considered as a sin in religion. This could be linked to the idea of un restrained sexuality in Dracula – as Dracula feeds on men as well as women, links to the idea of a man penetrating a man.


Monday, 15 November 2010

I am a vampire

How Dracula is presented in chapter 3

Dracula, from the very beginning is undoubtedly seen in a very disturbing light, illustrated from Harker’s immediate attention paid to his appearance. He is dressed head to toe in ‘black’ would could illustrate a dark element to his character, the colour black is also associated with the idea of death, mourning and the gothic. He radiates the idea of the supernatural from the moment Harker notices his strength, “I could not help but notice his prestigious strength...like a steel vice that could have crushed mine if it had chosen”, not only does this emphasise the idea of the Count’s abnormal strength but also arguably foreshadows his evil nature when Harker notices how Dracula could “crush” him if he had chosen to. We must also note that the idea of a man of Dracula’s age accompanied with mighty strength he seems to posses also emphasises his abnormal qualities. Harker also remarks “More like the hand of a dead than a living man”, provoking suspicions towards the reader, also associated with the idea of vampires, teamed with the teeth and the ‘aquiline features’ and his pale complexion, all contribute to the idea of the supernatural and a strong resemblance to that of a vampire.

Harker describes him as having very marked ‘physiognomy’. This would imply that the reader can judge Dracula’s temperament and character through the following descriptions of his facial features. Harker describes Dracula as having very animalistic features, such as ‘bushy hair that curled in its own profusion’ accompanied with ‘particularly sharp white teeth that protruded over the lip’ and ‘extremely pointed ears’, this animalistic imagery could arguably provoke a sense of danger within Dracula’s inner nature, and perhaps a unpredictable state of mind as well as representing the idea of a threat. His eyebrows make him appear very foreign, as Harker notes ‘Eyebrows were very massive’. This could emphasise his abnormality, depicting him as different from everybody else. His ‘Heavy moustache’ also complies with the idea of him being of a foreign nature. His mouth is described as being ‘fixed and rather cruel looking’, suggesting he holds sadistic features and also emits a strong demonic nature. Overall, I think it’s fair to say, DRACULA IS OBVIOUSLY AN EVIL VAMPIRE.