Manusya, Journal of Humanities

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Built on the storyline of the traditional fairy tale "Bluebeard," Angela Carter's short story "The Bloody Chamber" (1979) contains striking alterations in the use of the first-person narrator, ambivalent and complex characterisation, explicit sexual description and a revised ending; all of which have given rise to heated arguments among feminist scholars and literary critics. This paper relies on a close reading analysis and engages in the ongoing discussions by considering the problematic categorisation of the story—as a fairy tale, a pornographic fiction, a gothic horror, and especially as a bildungsroman novel—in relation to several gender aspects such as power relations between the sexes, the concept of gaze, sadomasochism and the representation of men and women and their relationship. By focusing on gender issues in the short story and using the narrative structures of these genres as a framework, Carter's ingenious revision of the norms becomes a sharper critique of the restrictions of the traditional genres, as well as the oppressive social and patriarchal ideologies hidden in them. Also, the study reveals how the short story can be a totally different read with the education of the female narrator at the centre because the lesson learnt is not a reproof of female curiosity as the traditional "Bluebeard" endeavours to deliver but is her own sexual awareness, readjustment of certain values and the realisation of female bonding and realisable autonomy outside the conventional realm of matrimony.

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