34 terms

THE BLOODY CHAMBER - WOLF ALICE K.QTS

STUDY
PLAY

Terms in this set (...)

Could this ragged girl with brindled lugs have spoken like we do she would have called herself a wolf, but she cannot speak, although she howls because she is lonely - yet 'howl' is not the right word for it, since she is young enough to make the noise that pups do...
Narrator implicated in rejection of the child brought in from the forest (based on romulus and remus, feral children in greek mythology), but hides behind shared responsibility of the collective personal pronoun 'we', suggesting the girl is an 'other' to the narrator.
Because she cannot 'speak like we do' the reader feels inclined to agree with the narrator, that she is not like 'us'. This is stressed again later when the narrator informs the child has 'little in common with the rest of us'.
"ragged girl" "she would have called herself a wolf" "howls because she is lonely" "young enough to make the noise that pups do" -> all characterisation of the half wolf half alice, stuck in this state before womanhood takes her. her lack of speech impedes her from being fully human.
"they are trying to talk to her but cannot do so because she does not understand their language even if she knows how to use it _ for _ she is not a wolf herself, although suckled by wolves."
Carter is emphasising as before, she is not whole human until she can respond to humans properly. Like Romulus and remus, feral children suckled by wolves.
Her panting tongue hangs out; her red lips are thick and fresh. Her legs are long, lean and muscular. Her elbows, hands and knees are thickly callused because she always runs on all fours. She never walks; she trops or gallops. Her pace is not our pace.
animalistic discription
Nothing about her is human except that she is not a wolf; it is as if the fur she thought she wore had melted into her skin and become part of it, although it does not exist.
Unlike the rest of the "wolves" in Carters stories, she is neither human nor beast, yet furs if protection are not there when she believes they are - she is a strong character both humanistic and animalistic
Like the wild beasts, she lives without a future. She inhabits only the present tense, a fugue of the continuous, a world of sensual immediacy as without hope as it is without despair.
Wolf-Alice cannot anticipate or imagine any other moment of time than "the present tense"; for her there is no past and future, only a 'continuous' of the moment now. While there is 'sensual immediacy" to her feral existence, there is no future.
The point here is that we humans can adapt our environment to our needs, and have been better and more successful at doing this than animals because we have the tendency and capability to lead our own narrative of our lives.
Carter is pointing out in her stories that our success in adapting the natural environment has created a social environment that does not allow all our human needs to be adequately fulfilled; and that this is particularly true for women because the social environment that has evolved us, she would argue, so often a patriarchal one.
it took a long time...to cover up her bold nakedness
...
[the] 'continuing embarrassment of a child was delivered over to the bereft and unsanctified household of the Duke.'
Abandoned by the nuns for resisting their teachings, "a few, simple tricks", The girl is put into the service of the Duke, a somewhat vampiressque character.
Deposited at the castle, she huffed and snuffed and smelled only a reek of meat, not the least whiff of sulphur, nor of familiarity.
She settled down on her hunkers with that dog's sigh that is only the expulsion of breath and does not mean either relief or resignation.
Gothic setting
huffed snuffed and smelled reminds us of the big bad wolf, yet this is not accustomed to her as she pays no notice, settling down with a sigh signifying she dont give a f*ck -> well ard character.
smell of meat signifies prey of some sort, yet it is not her nor the duke...foreshadows death
The duke is sere as old paper; his dry skin rustles against the bedsheets as he throws them back to thrust out his thin legs scabbed with old scars where thorns scored his pelt.
Old and worn out, like a vampire,
"Duke" and castle suggest he is again, another aristocrat
He lives in a gloomy mansion, all alone but for this child who has as little in common with the rest of us as he does.
Gothic setting, isolation and loneliness
both are a difference to the world; he is not what is considered to be human either. Narration implies disapproval of this.
His bedroom is painted terracotta, rusted with a wash of pain, like the interior of an Iberian butcher's shop, but for himself, nothing can hurt him since he ceased to cast an image in the mirror.
Again, gothic setting -> blood red colour
Reference to butchers and pain ->Duke is another one
Can't cast image in mirror; This conflates the werewolf and the vampire myths and returns to Bram Stoker's Dracula (gothic text 1897) who in it, similarly combined Eastern European folklore of werewolves and vampires to create his monstrous villain, adding the inability to cast a reflection in the mirror as his contribution: this revealing characteristic is not found in vampires of earlier tales.
he sleeps...until the moon, the governess of transformations and overseer of somnambulists, pokes an imperative finger through the narrow window and strikes his face: then his eyes start open.
Again, idea of somnambulist, werewolf and vampire imagery; the moon in this story is also constructed to be a mark of time for wolf alice, signifying her period due dates...ew!
'At night, those huge, inconsolable, rapacious eyes of his are eaten up by swollen, gleaming pupil. His eyes see only appetite.'
Night time -> gothic darkness/setting
eyes theme -> when we have big pupils its because of pleasure; his pleasure is his prey which is on his appetite and eyes -> predatory character
These eyes open to devour the world in which he sees, nowhere, a reflection of himself; he passed through the mirror and now, henceforward, lives as if upon the other side of things.
he seems to hate the world, yet cannot see how he is acting within it.
'in moony, metamorphic weather, they say you might easily find him, if you have been foolish enough to venture out late, scuttling along by the churchyard wall with half a juicy torso slung across his back.'
gothic setting - metamorphic weather again alludes to him being inhumane.
warning style narrative voice
half a juicy torso suggests he is savage
'he carries on his frail shoulders a weird burden of fear; he is cast in the role of the corpse-eater, the body-snatcher who invades the last privacies of the dead.
He is white as leprosy, with scrabbling fingernails, and nothing deters him.'
he is labelled as this for it is what he does, yet the narration implies with 'nothing deters him' that it is not his fault, which creates the 'burden of fear' which he carries on his 'frail shoulders'.
He will use the holy cross as a scratching post and crouch above the font to thirstily lap up holy water.
shows no respect to god; he is not necessarily against religion just indifferent to it.
'she sweeps up the hairs, vertebrae and phalanges that litter his room into a dustpan, she makes up his bed at sunset, when he leaves it and the grey beasts outside howl, as if they know his transformation is their parody.'

'only his kitchen maid, who is not wolf nor woman, knows no better than to do his chores for him'.
'vertebrae' and 'phalanges' are extreme things for a child to be casually sweeping up off the floor, yet seeing as she does it so willingly she is strong, yet clearly indifferent to his ways in the way we, as the narrator wants us, to view him.
makes the girl seem ignorant both in a bad way in that in her state she is being exploited, yet cared for by the duke and a good female character as she is unable to recognise this as an issue.
If you could transport her, in her filth rags and feral disorder, to the Eden of our first beginnings where Eve and grunting Adam squat on a daisy bank, picking the lice from one another's pelts, then she might prove to be the wise child who leads them all and her silence and her howling a language as authentic as any language of nature.
biblical reference, perhaps carter is suggesting that adam and eve were also animalistic like the feral child, wolf alice being like eve in particular, in that she is further suggesting this is the way all mankind should be, even if it is a different language to us, who have turned this way over such a social time scale.
Foreshadows the end in that wolf alice licks the dirt and blood off the dukes face even though he is deemed as villain.
'Familiar desecrations in the village graveyard. The coffin had been ripped open with the abandon with which a child unwraps a gift on christmas morning and, of its contents, not a trace could be found but for a rag of the bridal veil in which the corpse had been wrapped that was caught, fluttering, in the brambles as the churchyard gate so they knew which way he had taken it, towards his gloomy castle.'
This is a recurrent thing.
Such thing saddens christmas morning.
He's stolen a bride and takes it towards a castle.
Gothic.
the wolves had tended her because they knew she was an imperfect wolf; we secluded her in animal privacy out of fear of her imperfection because it showed us what we might have been, and so time passed, although she scarcely knew it. Then she began to bleed.
Like wolves, people reject her because she is not a 'normal' somewhat 'current' human, although in reality this is what carter believes we should be like. Nonetheless, she will soon become more humanised as she begins her period - the wake of womanhood.
Her first blood bewildered her. She did not know what it meant and the first stirrings of surmise that ever she felt were directed towards its possible cause....it seemed to her that wolf...must have nibbled her c**t while she was sleeping..subjecting her to a series of affectionate gentle nips too gentle to wake her yet sharp enough to break the skin.
unaware of what a period is, being a wolf child.
'The flow continued for a few days, which seemed to her an endless time. She had, as yet, no direct notion of past, or of future, or of duration, only of a dimensionless, immediate moment.
She prowled the empty house looking for rags to sop the blood up;...it was not fastidiousness but shame that made her do so.
gained awareness of time through period
ashamed of not knowing what it is and being different, doesnt realise its normal lols
'she bumped against that mirror over whos surface the duke passed like a wind on ice.
First, she tried to nuzzle her reflection, then, nosing it industrially she soon realised it gave out no smell...she saw with irritation, the amusement, how it mimicked every gesture of hers...she rubbed her head against her reflected face, to show that she felt friendly towards it, and felt a cool, solid, immoveable surface between herself and she- some king, possibly, of invisible cage?
now it becomes apparent she is different to the duke; she is still animal like in inspecting it yet ends up feeling friendly towards it; becoming aware of herself
'The moonlight spilled into the Duke's motionless bedroom from behind a cloud and she saw how pale this wolf, not-wolf who played with her was.
Vampire imagery
She learned to expect these bleedings, to prepare her rags against them, and afterwards, neatly to bury the dirtied things. Sequence asserted itself with custom and then understood the circumambulatory principle of the clock perfectly, even if all clocks were banished from the den where she and the Duke inhabited their separate solitudes, so that you might say she discovered the very action of time by means of this returning cycle.
Her and the Duke are similar in that they are outcasts to society; not fully human; follow time by the moon's cycles, although he is a vampire/werewolf and she is but a feral child. Nonetheless, she does not judge him or see him as any different.
She perceived an essential difference between herself and her surroundings that you might say she could not put her finger on....
Shows how she is recognising her human self... finger is italics which distinctively highlights this
she would lick her soft upholstery with her long tongue and groom her hair with her fingernails
cat like imagery; she is becoming more like a feline -> strong and sensual yet also natural
The damned Duke haunts the graveyard; he believes himself to be both less and more than a man, as if his obscene difference were a sign of grace.
gothic haunting and setting
paradox; heavenly being? like adam?
her relation with the mirror was now far more intimate science she knew she saw herself within it....in the mirror she saw how this white dress made her shine
not neccissarily vain but recognises herself and has come to terms with her sexuality through puberty -> discovering herself
'although she could not run so fast on two legs in petticoats, she trotted out in her new dress to investigate the odorous October hedgerows, like a debutante from the castle,...singing to the wolves with a kind of wistful triumph, because now she knew how to wear clothes and so had put on the visible sign of her difference from them.
she walks on two legs, shows how human she is becoming - nonetheless, she does not and chooses not to lose connection to the wolves as she still considers herself to be one
The young husband of the dead bride spent a long time planning his revenge.
He filled the church with an arsenal of bells, books and candles; a battery of silver bullets; they brought a ten-gallon tub of holy water in a wagon from the city, where it had been blessed by the Archbishop himself, to drown the Duke, if the bullets bounced off him. They gathered in the church to chant a litany and wait for one who would visit with the first deaths of winter.
gothic revenge
gothic superstition and hatred of supernatural
violence
religion
winter -> pathetic fallacy
gothic setting
she...haunches by the graveyard gate...who did her new, keen eyes spy but the lord of cobweb castle intent on performing his cannibal rituals?....she will..run,run! when she hears the crack of bullets, because they killed her foster mother; so, will the self-same lilting hope, drenched with holy water he will run, too, until the young widower fires the silver bullet that bites his shoulder and drags off half fictive pelt, so that he must rise up like any common forks biped and limb distressfully on as best he may.
she is still animalistic, feels for them because her 'foster mother' was one - the duke has been shot yet still runs
she leapt upon his bed to lick, without hesitation, without disgust, with a quick, tender gravity, the blood and dirt from his cheeks and forehead.

'as if brought into being by her soft, moist, gentle tongue, finally, the face of the duke [was in the mirror]'
seems natural to her just to tend for him no matter what as he has been her guardian? just that kid of 'wise child'

this image of surrender and masculine identity brought into being by the sensuous touch of the girls instrument of language is another happy ending. The woman is creating the image of the man, in order to know him as she has come to know herself through her own image.
It is a principle of the materialist outlook, which Carter adopted and regarded as the only way to view the world, that in order to appear to be something over any sustained length of time, it is necessary to be it. So appearances, images, however deceptive they might be, are important in knowing who we are and what we are becoming. That is why 'the rational glass' is so important to carter; it is art, it is literature and it is life, wants and all.