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Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber through the Female Gaze


  • Julia Bällsten

Summary, in English

The discourse on Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber has primarily been focused on the feminist undertones of her neogothic fairy tale retellings. In this essay, I apply the male and female gaze to Carter’s collection, which are perspectives I believe previous research on Carter’s works has overlooked. The incorporation of the male gaze allows for a further nuancing of Soloway’s female gaze, and my analysis will thus utilize both perspectives as complementary frameworks. Analysing “The Erl-King”, “The Tiger’s Bride”, “The Company of Wolves” and “Wolf-Alice” against Soloway’s and Mulvey’s theoretical backgrounds, I will investigate how Carter dismantles the patriarchal hierarchy, and subverts the image of the objectified woman established through the male gaze which has previously dominated the European fairy tale tradition. I argue that Carter, through this subversion, utilizes the female gaze to prescribe agency and subjecthood to the heroines of her novellas “The Erl-King”, “The Company of Wolves”, “The Tiger’s Bride”, and “Wolf-Alice”. To explore this topic, I observe how each female protagonist is focalized to evoke empathy, how they negotiate looked-at-ness on their own terms, and how they ultimately escape falling victim to the male gaze. The female gaze consequently becomes a politically reformative deconstruction of objectification and lookedat-ness, and allows Carter’s heroines to claim subjecthood and agency.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Bachelor's degree


  • Languages and Literatures


  • Barbara Barrow