The Idea of Change in a Magic feminist study of
Angela Carter’s Nights at the Circus
Angela Carter’s Nights at the Circus poises as pivotal work of the feminist literature of the
20th Century against the patriarchal dominance. Carter not only predicts the future change of
Women’s situation but also warns those writers and feminist activists of the self-made chains
They make for themselves. By borrowing from postmodernism Carter, achieves her feminist
Goals to warn The New Women of her time of their need of change in themselves. This paper
Will analyze this idea of change in women by studying the postmodernist elements of
Metafiction and magic realism used in the novel that combine to create a work known as magic
Feminism. In Magic realism, the author highlights the fantasy in narrating imaginary events. In
The realm of magic realism, the narrator speaks of the unreal so logically in a way that reveals it
As real. Magic realism aims to re-imagine the world and its reality; it is a chance to see the
Extraordinary things every day. Nights at the Circus engages with the question
Of what is real and what is not. By constantly using this method of literature in the novel,
Carter Signals the women of her age to be aware of their situation and how they can change it.
Considering the novel’s setting which happens at the turn of the century, this idea of change is
Carter employs magic realism to “subvert the patriarchal society” (Rosemary Jackson 104).
Use of magical realism allows Carter to make observations about society, Gender and the
Power of myth, and she is particularly doubtful about any construct that has been established
And accepted without question.
Nights at the Circus was recognized by newspaper and critics as evidence of a huge change in
Style and emphasis within Carter’s writing. Some critics believe that the length of the novel is
Light, failing to see the effects of its subject matter:
“In terms of length, it’s the longest novel she wrote, but its sense of expansiveness doesn’t have so much to do with the number of pages as with the sense of space, for the narrative itself mimics Fevvers’ leisurely pace through the air, ‘potter[ing] along the invisible gangway between her trapezes’”(Sarah Gamble 17).
Magic Realism and the Feminine Body:
In the very opening of the novel, the overall tone of the text presenting the magical
Descriptions as real is present; the most noticeable feature of magical realist fiction:
"As to my place of birth, why, I first saw light of day right here in smoky old London, didn't I! Not billed the 'cockney Venus', for nothing, sir, though they could just as well 'avecalled me 'Helen of the High Wire', due to the unusual circumstances in which I come ashore -- for I never dockedvia what you might call the Normal channels, Sir, oh, dear me, no; but, just like Helen of Troy, was Hatched. Hatched out of a bloody great egg while Bow Bells rang, as ever is!” (Carter: 7-8)