Angela Carters The Wound in the Face - A Response
These conventions of sexualising the heroine support patriarchal expectations of sexuality.
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Sexuality becomes the only means of control and therefore, her only means of self-defense. It can be said that the young and highly sexualised girl does not free herself from danger through any form of self defense or through sexuality, but rather she succumbs to a male fantasy as she sleeps safely with the tender wolf. According to Bacchilega 62 the separation of grandmother and wolf is done to add emphasis to the sexual relationship of the girl with the wolf. Some critics argue that the grandmother represents old-fashioned, sexual values.
There is a rivalry between the women and an emphasis on a sexual relationship as more important than the death of another woman; thus, as a result, the feminist reading is again undermined. Although Carter attempts to present a feminist reading by breaking down gender conventions of Wolf-Alice, she in fact portrays gender as something essential.
Wolf-Alice grew up a feral child and so society had no influence on her, implying that Carter depicts gender as an essential and inherent trait, not something learnt or constructed.
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Some have argued that this shame is a result of the nuns, who represent religion or society attempting to shape her to adhere to traditional gender roles and being embarrassed by her puberty. However, this is not the case. This suggests that Carter merely emphasises that gender and shame of female sexuality is something inherent and not learned from society, thus undermining the feminist reading and supporting traditional gender roles.
Again, the fact that Wolf-Alice accepts all these conventions of her own accord shows how Carter unintentionally plays into societal expectations of women and gender, thus undermining the feminist purpose. This further underpins the patriarchal tradition of the woman staying home to do chores while the man serves as the provider bringing home the food. The final way in which Carter adheres to patriarchal traditions is depicted in the way Alice pities the Duke. Once again the protagonist is sexualised, but this time not to save herself, but the Duke.
Both of these elements undermine the feminist purpose of an independent heroine. The sexualisation of protagonists is a technique Carter uses to highlight female empowerment and freedom from male dominance. The oversexualisation of the young female protagonists only serves to play into male fantasies and does not result in female empowerment, but rather in objectification of young girls. She loves fairytales and pretty books, and spends her free time with her cats Collin and Rocket.
The Bloody Chamber Summary and Analysis of "The Tiger's Bride"
Cart 0. References Al-Kassasbeh, T. Bacchilega, Cristina. ProQuest ebrary.
The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter
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