Carter: Providing Pairs of Perplexing Parallels


So yeah, that title showing off consonance may or may not be intentional. You know what is intentional (and better put together than my lame attempt of a title)? Angela Carter’s stories, particularly in their relation to one another despite being separate stories.

First off, can I just quickly say that I loved this book? It was such an interesting and in some ways familiar experience to me because of the connection to Margret Atwood. When I heard in lecture that Atwood was a fan of Carter’s work and took some inspiration from her, my face was practically left in a permanent smile for the rest of the lecture because now I knew why reading The Bloody Chamber felt so familiar to me.

The Handmaid's Tale

In a dystopia where the US becomes a theocratic state with mass infertility due to pollution, the few fertile women left are forced to be “handmaids” whose main purpose was to bear children for elite, infertile couples.

Previously in high school, I read arguably one of Margret Atwood’s most famous books The Handmaid’s Tale, and I loved it. Well, not what happens in it (I certainly wouldn’t want to be stuck in that world cause it’s just so depressing), but how engrossed in the story I became and it was one of those stories that made me really start to think on the issues that the book brings up. That’s a little parallel in it of itself now that I think about it; while both texts were a bit hard to handle at time due to the events occurring within each book being fairly gloomy, they both showed Carter’s and Atwood’s explorations and debating on women’s roles in a master slave relationship as well as the use of sexual desire and violence (though more so in Carter’s case).

Anyways, enough nerdiness for now. Back onto the subject at hand. One major thing that I noticed while reading The Bloody Chamber was that there were two pairs of stories that cover the same fairy tale, but each story being a different take of the original tale, and I focused on how The Courtship of Mr Lyon and The Tiger’s Bride are both based on Beauty and the Beast and how The Werewolf and The Company of Wolves are both based on Little Red Riding Hood.

I know that we covered the first two stories in seminar back on Wednesday, but I also connected the other pair of stories to this particular pattern that I noticed. So that leaves me to question this: What kinds of similar themes/ideas did these story pairs and that all four stories in general cover and why is it that each fairy tale pair is different in terms of how they execute the story (Beauty’s different reactions to the stay with their respective beast and how Red reacted differently with the wolf in both stories for example)? In general, why did Carter choose these two stories in particular to make two alternate versions of instead of making similar pairs with other fairy tales or simply focusing on other fairy tales?