The Bloody Chamber

The Bloody Chamber Essay Questions

  1. 1

    Discuss the role of fetish and pornography in "The Bloody Chamber." Are they portrayed in a positive or negative light, or a combination of the two? What message does Carter leave the reader with regarding these topics?

  2. 2

    Examine the figure of the wolf in "The Werewolf," "The Company of Wolves," and "Wolf-Alice." What or whom does the wolf represent? What purpose does the wolf serve in the heroine's development? Make sure to examine the differences, as well as the similarities, between the wolves in the three stories.

  3. 3

    Explore the topic of liminality and the role of the half-being throughout Carter's stories. How does the liminal experience inform us about our own human experience? Your discussion can include one or all of the following types of characters: werewolf, vampire, beast, feral child.

  4. 4

    Discuss the role of the woods in Carter's stories. What do the woods symbolize? How are they different symbolically from villages, towns, or cities? For what purpose do Carter's heroines visit the woods? Consider the stories that do not involve the woods: are there other places or spaces in them that serve the same purpose?

  5. 5

    What constitutes a "bloody chamber?" Are "bloody chambers" spaces of terror or enlightenment? Discuss. A "bloody chamber" exists on some level in every story, so make sure to include diverse examples in your analysis.

  6. 6

    How does Carter portray virginity in her stories? What are the strengths and weaknesses that accompany being a virgin? Some characters to include in your analysis are the soldier in "The Lady of the House of Love," the heroine in "The Company of Wolves," the heroine in "The Bloody Chamber," and The Snow Child.

  7. 7

    Examine Carter's use of roses in her stories. What do roses represent? What does the giving and receiving of roses symbolize? Do these meanings vary between stories? Use specific examples from the text to ground your assertions.

  8. 8

    Research one of the following fairy-tales and explain how Carter adheres to and departs from it in her stories: Bluebeard, Beauty and the Beast, Red Riding Hood, Snow White.

  9. 9

    Explore the meaning of clothing in several stories. What is significant about the acts of dressing and undressing? Some stories to consider: "The Bloody Chamber," "Puss-in-Boots," "The Snow Child," "The Tiger's Bride," "The Company of Wolves," and "Wolf-Alice."

  10. 10

    Discuss competition between women in "The Snow Child," "The Werewolf," and "The Company of Wolves." If women are subjugated in these stories, why do they work against one another instead of banding together? What message does their competition convey?

  11. 11

    Examine the roles of mother and father figure in several stories. How are mothers and fathers symbolically different? What effect does a mother or father's presence and/or absence have on the heroine?

  12. 12

    Explore the role of violence throughout the collection of stories. What makes violence animalistic and what makes it human? How is violence connected with sex? What kinds of violence are acceptable in the stories, and what kinds are unacceptable?

  13. 13

    Examine the power of spoken language in "The Snow Child," "The Tiger's Bride," and "Wolf-Alice." What does speaking have to do with being human? How does saying something aloud produce a difference effect from simply thinking it or expressing it without words? Use specific examples from the text to back up your claims.