Carter stretches the limits of what is good and what is morally right, challenging the social conventions of the 1970s. Fairy tales where traditionally used to acts as cautionary tales for young women, showing them how to behave in later life. Carter’s follow a similar idea, with new lessons for new generations of women in what can be seen as a didactic text. Her characters are as shocking and explicit as her writing and through their taboo actions Carter is asking her readers whether they are being good or merely just concerned with their own self-gratification.
First Paragraph: What is ‘being good’ to Carter?
Point- this is a statement that carter gave in an interview and I would quote this somewhere in this paragraph because the statement has no real basis on Carters work because her characters aren’t preoccupied with being good at all, and through this Carter is trying to question our patriarchal society and what its morals are. I like this quote cause it gives it own example and explanation, which you can just paraphrase.
I think authentic behaviour means good in the quote:
Explanation -How do we know what is authentic behaviour and what is inauthentic behaviour? It’s about the complex interrelation of reality and its representations. It has to do with a much older thing. I suppose it comes back to the idea of mythology and why I talk so much against religion. It’s because it’s presenting us with ideas about ourselves which don’t come out of practice; they come out of theory. They come out of pure theory, and that’s what that is about.
Example- There’s a story in The Bloody Chamber called “The Lady and the House of Love,” part of which derives from a movie version that I saw of a story by Dostoyevsky. And in the movie, which is very good, the woman, who is a very passive person and is very much in distress, asks herself the question, “Can a bird sing only the song it knows, or can it learn a new song?” Have we got the capacity at all of singing new songs? It’s very important that if we haven’t, we might as well stop now. Can the marionette (puppet) in that story behave in a way that she’s not programmed to behave? Is it possible?
Comes from: http://www.centerforbookculture.org/interviews/interview_carter.html
### Id probably make this into two paragraphs, the first saying that carters work attack social conventions, and the second saying what Carters moral are giving the example above. In the essay plans that I’ve written for you not all the paragraphs should be written as one paragraph but some as a series because there’s lots of smaller points in each general point, (P.S. you probably already realised this and don’t want to patronise you, but just thought id make it clear in case)
Second paragraph- presentation of characters who get what they want
Point: there are some characters who get what they want in carters work, such as the count in BC or the Count in the Snow child. Through the way in which Carter presents these characters you can comment on what she thinks about people that get their way all of the time.
Example: this is where you can draw on all those points from the other essay using all of the linguistic approaches that she uses like imperative verbs, sibilant noises, also words like grabbed and take and especially in the snow child I want, or I wish. What does it make them come off as? Childlike? Look for the description of the characters and how they come off as demonic and in general evil. Also include the male wolfs, cats and animals elsewhere in the stories. Their animal nature is reflective of men and their need to take what they want especially at the expense of the women in the novel. The women give all the time for the expense of men in the stories and then use this point to link in with the effect the mens actions has on the women in the stories (next paragraph).
Explanation- to explain why carter does this you can take a couple of different angles and I would show both of them: cause most of the takers are men *(with the exception of lady of the house of love)* she could be using this to comment on patriarchal society and in particularly the effect it has on females in society, by the other characters pain.
– Alternatively you can go down a psychological reading of the text, where by these male characters are the id part of their psyche, and the stories are in fact a warning against letting this part of the psyche having dominance, the effect on the women being representative of the effect on the person themselves. To support this you can look at all of the animals or manimals, as Mrs Turney likes to call them, as the id is like an animal instinct that we as a society are meant to have come over.
– Lady of the house of love (LH) is an exception to this rule of it only being men who solely take. But none the less it does still act as a warning to women not to do what men do and take all the time. The woman’s world is rotting because she is so indulgent and all of the T.S. Eliot style imagery of her house shows this really well. The house is metaphorical of herself which is probably a good technique to talk about cause it shows the effect of self gratification and sounds pretty good as well.
– In the werewolf the girl gets what she wants by killing of her grandma. In order to do this she drops the feminine side of her personality and allows the masculine side to become dominant. As shown through phallic symbols ect. (see the other essay I emailed you yesterday). This is another psychological analysis point but this one Is Jungian compared to the one above, which is Freudian.
Third paragraph: the Girls in the stories
Point-They generally don’t get what they want; they usually just have sex and use their bodies in order to get on in the patriarchal world.
Example-there are so many so try to use one from a story you haven’t yet used so you show you’ve used a large proportion of the book.
Explanation- the Girls in the stories are more good, rather then getting what they want. They have sex with the men because they know it’s their only way of making it in the world (tigers Bride, BC for example). Their innocence and purity (IE their GOODNESS) is their only mark able asset. Although not Catholically good, they are conforming to patriarchal society and although their innocence and purity is taken from them they use it in a way that society deems they must.
Generally, conclude what you have actually written but don’t forget to judge up each side of the argument whether the statement is true or whether its false and then give your opinion.
So im going to put something like this:
Carter challenges the boundaries of goodness in her stories, stretching them past both traditional catholic morals and today’s more relaxed code. She calls her work “Moral Pornography” and it deals with taboo subjects and Carter asks her audience whether they are sinful. However through the portrayal of the male characters in the novellas she also suggests that getting what one wants is wrong. This is suggested by… and shows again her criticism of patriarchal society. I do not think that the statement applies to Carters work, because for Carter it is far more important to be yourself and be unaffected by others morality code, then to always get what you want.