The Handmaid's Tale And The Bloody Chamber Analysis

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Both texts ‘The Handmaids Tale’ and ‘The Bloody Chamber’ were written during the second wave of feminism which centralised the issue of ownership over women’s sexuality and reproductive rights and as a result, the oral contraceptive was created. As powerfully stated by Ariel Levy, ‘If we are really going to be sexually liberated, we need to make room for a range of options as wide as the variety of human desire.’ Margaret Atwood and Angela Carter both celebrate female sexuality as empowering to challenge the constraints of social pressure on attitudes of women. Both writers aim to expose the impact of patriarchy as it represses female sexual desire and aim to control it thus challenge contemporary perspectives of women by revealing the oppression …show more content…

This is suggested by Helen Simpson who stated that Carter centralises ‘latent content of fairy-tale’ is that women are objects of male desire hence patriarchal discourse establishes male supremacy to which Carter does this to challenge contemporary perspectives on the place of women by revealing the oppression that society inflicted. The Marquis is an overt example of male ownership of female bodies. Similarly, where Atwood exposes the harsh realities of oppressive patriarchy through the female body, Carter utilises the construct of the Marquis in the eponymous story ‘The Bloody Chamber’ as a grotesque embodiment of patriarchal control. In her essay ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’ Laura Mulvey coined the feminist term ‘male gaze.’ She argues that men are the audience and women are to embody the male perspective of women as objects of satisfaction. This is particularly apt when considering Carter’s use of gustatory imagery ironically depicting the Marquis as a ‘connoisseur’ and ‘gourmand’ which adds to his sadistic lifestyle and so symbolises control through stripping her with ease like ‘stripping leaves off an artichoke’ and resembling the pornographic image of ‘Rops…Reproof of Curiosity’ sexualising the image of women. Perhaps, Carter presented the Marquis as a ‘connoisseur’ recycling gender stereotypes; the men with their eyes set on women and the women being passive. In addition, she is always forced to wear a collar of rubies with the simile ‘red ribbon like the memory of a wound’ echoes the violent images of cut throats and the guillotine which ironically resembles the tragic end of the previous wives hence almost an invitation to

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