The Bloody Chamber

Deflowering of the Christmas Rose: Monstrosity and Perspective in "The Tiger's Bride" College

What attributes qualify someone, or something, as a monster? Despite the fact that the answer to this subjective query fluctuates immensely among individual persons, for centuries we have attempted to construct a universal definition of the word ‘monster’. The Oxford English Dictionary (1884) illustrates man’s inability to produce such a designation through its inclusion of a variety of descriptions derived from those previously established and changes in cultural and societal standards. One entry, for example, defines a monster as “a mythical creature which is part animal and part human, or combines elements of two or more animal forms, and is frequently of great size and ferocious appearance.” Within this same entry, it continues by adapting this description in an effort to make it more general: “Any imaginary creature that is large, ugly, and frightening.”

In literature, however, we are exposed to figures of all backgrounds, appearances, and temperaments that are presented as monsters, some of which do not embody the more conventional qualities that have come to accompany this distinction. One such case is manifested in fiction author Angela Carter’s “The Tiger’s Bride”, an altered version of Jeanne-Marie LePrince de...

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