Tag Archives: The Erl-King

Subtly Symbolizing Social Norms

Okay! I, for one, need to get my life organized. Last week, I remember promising myself that I’ll start on my blog post regarding my presentation on Carter. Did not happen. Fortunately, I managed to find motivation this week to get myself started on it. Even better, this blog post wouldn’t be included in my “last week of school finishing up my blog posts” category; so I can allow myself to say that I’m not a total disappointment. Anyways! Here’s my Carter blog post! 🙂  Recall my presentation, I asked about the significance of the Erl-King’s green eyes and the rose from “The Snow Child”. How I interpreted these messages associated mainly with an underlying theme of suppression of female sexuality.

 Throughout the Erl-King, I noticed that there was a reoccurring motif of green eyes. Under the perspective of the narrator perceiving his eyes to be like “a reducing chamber” and that “if [she] look[ed] into it long enough… [she] will diminish to a point and vanish”, I thought that the narrator revealed her sense of herself as an independent individual diminishing as the Erl-King’s manipulation reduced her to a state of submissiveness. From this scene, I construed that the Erl-King represented masculinity through the lenses of Carter’s era in the form of dominance.

As for the rose in “The Snow Child”, I perceived the rose as a symbol of the Count’s erotic desires. By offering the Countess the rose, it was as if the Count was trying to impose his desire upon her; furthermore, it can be seen as his attempt to make her conform to his wishes. The Count’s action of giving the Countess the rose would then subsequently imply a twentieth century society’s opinion of the female gender. In addition, during another scene in regards to the rose, I found that the Countess’s action of releasing the rose from her grasp,  acted as her rejection to her husband’s desire of her to conform to his erotic wishes. Through her action, it can be conceived that the Countess would not be a suitable representation to a twentieth century society’s view of women; her action does not correlate with the past notion that women should be submissive to both social norms and a figure of higher authority. Without acting in accordance to what is expected a woman in Carter’s time should behave, the Countess exempted herself from being a part of that era’s stiff gender hierarchy. As a result, the Countess portrayed herself as a woman independent from the social norms and power struggles within a twentieth century society: the qualities she portrayed did not align to the expectations her society had towards women. Hence, it can be inferred that the Carter may have arranged to Countess to exhibit this masculine feature in order to promote the idea of women independence.