The Bloody Chamber

Differences in Carter's Version of "The Erl-King" 12th Grade

When reading through Goethe’s version of "The Erl-King," then Carter’s, it is striking how different many of the core elements are between the two stories. Major changes Carter has made include the introduction of a female character and the narrative voice which becomes first person rather than the third person narrator Goethe uses. Although obvious, the length of Carter’s story has a profound effect on the entire meaning of the story and the overall message; Goethe by presenting the myth in a short poem can present the morals of the story very simplistically. The fact that the Father should trust his Son is clear to the reader and the general warning that the Erl-King is dangerous is equally clear. In contrast, any morals in Carter’s 9-page story are almost impossible to derive; she makes the plot more complex through stronger characterisation, which is only possible through an extended story. However, Carter by no means forgets the origins of the original myth and often references it through slightly archaic and not so contemporary syntax such as ‘The Erl-King will do you grievous harm.” Carter also makes the reader aware that her story is based off an original myth through classic fairy...

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