The Bloody Chamber

Gothic Conventions in 'The Bloody Chamber' 11th Grade

The opening of the short story ‘The Bloody Chamber’ by Angela Carter includes an abundance of conventions typical of the Gothic genre. The passage sets the scene for a tragic tale, where the innate curiosity of a young girl will inevitably find her in danger. Published in the late 20th Century, at a time when Gothic writing was less prominent in literature, it could be said that the tale is fairly progressive within the genre, with its underlying criticism of patriarchal society not being a particularly common theme in Gothic writing. However, being set the 3rd Republic in France, an era known for corruption and hedonism, and the use of classic Gothic elements in this passage, ensures the foundations of this tale are deep-rooted in the Gothic style.

This passage in ‘The Bloody Chamber’ provides an introduction of the two main characters to the reader. The narrator gives a detailed description of her lover, and it is from this that the reader is so easily able to predict the fate of the narrator, since the Marquis displays numerous qualities of a typical Gothic antagonist. The allusion to beastly qualities made so early on in the narrative is stark, as the narrator describes the ‘the leonine shape of his head’ and ‘his dark mane...

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