Friday, 4 September 2015


I'd heard a lot of great stuff about this collection of short stories by Angela Carter recently, I actually bought it after an acquaintance said it was the best thing she had ever read, and that it was the reason she became interested in feminism. Needless to say my expectations were super high!

I began it with the hopes of finding unbelievably beautiful prose, and stories with strong female characters and great morals. Something awe-inspiring. Something life changing.

My high expectations were soon humbled. And by humbled I mean hit over the head with a spade and buried six feet underground.

The Bloody Chamber is a collection of short stories that are a 'twisted' version of everyday fairytales. Little Red Riding Hood, Beauty & the Beast, as well as Puss In Boots. Some of the short stories were totally different to the classics while others were pretty similar with just a few differences here and there.

The thing is, I didn't totally hate the stories, I actually gave the collection three stars on goodreads. I appreciated Carter's smooth style of writing, which often shifted seamlessly between classic 'fairytale tone' and contemporary. Some of her characters, and the ways in which they were shockingly different to the classic versions were also really interesting!

However, for a collection of short stories that is so strongly linked to feminism, it really didn't to a great job with the whole feminist side of things. At least, that's what I think (feel free to disagree and let me know why you think differently!) 

Aside from the mother in The Bloody Chamber short story itself who came charging in on horseback to save her daughter's life, the only other example of feminism I could really make out was women not being ashamed to be sensual and sexual. Of course, that is a form of feminism, after all women are just as much human as men, and have the same needs and desires, but... is that it? Is that the big pressing feminist issue? Is that all Carter had to offer, and if so, why are her stories seen as a great symbol of feminism?

The Bloody Chamber is actually part of some UK school curriculums. I've never had the chance to study it in school myself but I can't help thinking that if I had I might have liked it more? I can see a lot of potential for interesting discussion because the stories are filled to the brim with symbolism and controversial characters/occurrences.

The stories are very disturbing, and often unnecessarily sexual. But they were also interesting, and shocking, and I wanted to finish each one, but by the end they became a bit of a chore to read!

I might re-read the collection one day, and maybe read a few essays about them too so I can try and try and understand what all the fuss is about! 

Have you guys read The Bloody Chamber? Did you love/hate the stories? And if you studied the collection in school do you have any interesting facts about them that I should know??

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