The Bloody Chamber

The Female Gaze: Desire as a Source of Power to the Objectified Female College

As a subversion of what we understand today as the “male gaze”, Angela Carter in The Bloody Chamber, The Company of Wolves, and The Courtship of Mr Lyon exercises postmodern parody in order to both expose and destabilize gender stereotypes through the use of desire as a propelling force to action by the objectified female, and by telling the stories from the female perspective. Carter skillfully knits themes of rites-of-passage, sex and death through the retelling of well-known traditional fairy tales in order to describe the imbalanced relationships contained therein. The female protagonists all undergo a mental transformation which allows them agency and prevents them from becoming one of the many women preceding them who have succumbed to the fate designated to women in a patriarchal society. Carter overthrows traditional gender positions by allowing her female characters a subjectivity gained through their own narration of the stories (Renfroe 89)– stories which in the past have been dominated by the masculine voice.

In The Bloody Chamber it is this subjectivity that stresses the importance of the girl’s journey to self-discovery through the Bloody Chamber. Thus, in the same way that the narrator is introduced to a new way...

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