‘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.