The Bloody Chamber

Gothic Setting in 'The Bloody Chamber' 11th Grade

The short story ‘The Bloody Chamber’ by Angela Carter includes an abundance of conventions effective in establishing a Gothic setting. The tale is a tragic one, where the innate curiosity of a young girl inevitably finds 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 a strikingly Gothic setting is effectively established.

The majority of the narrative takes place at the Marquis’ castle, a place where the gothic setting of the story is particularly prominent. The location of the castle is extremely remote, it is “cut off by the tide from the land for half a day…” This creates an atmosphere of imprisonment and by including this significant detail, Carter deliberately makes explicit to the reader that the castle is away from the eyes of the outside world and is therefore difficult to escape from, which is key part of the Gothic...

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