‘In Gothic writing, female characters are generally presented as victims.’
By comparing The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories with at least one other text prescribed for this topic, discuss how far you agree with this view.
The view that in Gothic writing, female characters are general presented as victims is proven true in many cases, especially in more traditional Gothic literature. However, as the subversion of normality is central to the Gothic, as identified by Kidd, throughout the twentieth century, female empowerment became a key feature of the Gothic genre. Both carter’s “The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories,” and Morrison’s “Beloved,” are feminist Gothic literature, and thus both contain examples of women empowered and as the perpetrators of violence, in order to subvert the traditional view of the helpless, innocent female victim.
The presentation of females as victims is still displayed in both “The Bloody Chamber” and “Beloved,” however, as the way in which both authors commented on gender perceptions. In “The Tiger’s Bride,” the protagonist is lost by gambling by her father to a new master. As a variation on the traditional fairytale of “Beauty and the Beast,” Carter’s story comments on the patriarchy that was constantly within the fairytale tradition, which affirmed “the dominant Christian absolutist view regarding the regulation of inner and outer nature in favour of male hegemony and rationalized industry” (Zipes). Therefore, Carter’s purpose was to subvert the normalised tradition of stories. As stated in “The Tiger’s Bride,” “the tiger will never lie down with the lamb; he acknowledges no pact that is not reciprocal. The lamb must learn to run with the tigers,” showing how the female is the victim who has to surrender her identity. Before surrendering her identity, she is also kept prisoner in the Beast’s mansion, supporting Bunten’s assertion that “in many Gothic novels, the castle represents a threatening, sexually rapacious masculine world in which women are trapped and persecuted.” In “the Snow Child,” Carter gives another example of a female victim. The Snow Child is portrayed as “the child of desire,” the ultimate, innocent victim who has no identity or personality other than her looks. The blunt nature with which Carter describes the events that happen only add to the girl’s role as victim – she “pricks her finger on the thorn; bleeds; screams; falls,” showing the objectification of the victim by the count. Obviously, his rape of her further contributes to her victimhood. As a writer in the second-wave of feminism, Carter was particularly concerned with marital issues, and the freedom of women’s sexuality. By presenting the victim in “the Snow Child,” so abrasively, Carter shows how women are often treated sexually. In Beloved, Morrison also portrays women as victims, though not necessarily for the purposes Carter does. Both Sethe and Beloved are presented as victims; Sethe as a victim of the slavery institution, caus...