Angela Carters Rewriting Of Femininity English Literature Essay

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Angela Carter's re-writing of the typical literary views of women act as a critique of patriarchy and a tool in which to change our preconceived vision of 'feminine. The sexual politics of her language and narrative style contribute to her ability to challenge the literary patriarchal order and present her own ideals on femininity. Commenting on feminist manifesto The Sadeian Woman: An Exercise in Cultural History, Carter described the work as 'a late twentieth century interpretation of some of the problems (de Sade) raises about the culturally determined nature of women and of the revelations between men and women that result from it.' (Carter, 1979: p.1) This

But, look, it is all applied linguistics. But language is power, life and the instrument of culture, the instrument of domination and liberation.

What makes Lorelei Lee from Anita Loos's novel Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1925) so appealing is her ability to manipulate her own image and effectively become mistress of her own grand confidence game. Throughout the novel, it is clear that Lorelei is aware of herself as an image, and she constantly adjusts this image to best "take advantage" of the situation around her. In effect, she is smarter than she looks, and she uses this to her rhetorical (and financial) advantage. Recently, Christina Britzolakis has questioned the viability of reading the "feminine spectacle" as a particularly feminist undertaking. (2) Althrhetoical strategies

self-reflexive and ultimately subversive nature of a deliberately constructed blonde spectacle

evvers to frame their own performances rhetorically and thus to alter our perception of their subsequent parodic performances.

Bloody chamber - patriarchal ideolohy has positioned women as passive objects of desire and objects that are interchnagable.

Fevvers - exsists outside of patrichal idooligy - feminine spectacle but in doing so also becomes a spectator 'turns her own gaze on herself, producing herself as its object.' (Bobinson, 1991; p.123) - continuous questioning of her own identity.

Feminity as masquerade.

In the last two decades, much critical attention has

been focused upon the cultural importance of the

sideshow freak, emphasizing the effect of the exhibit on

the audience. In his book Freaks: Myths and Images of

the Secret Self, Leslie Fiedler, reaching back initially

to his own childhood experiences, uses a Freudian lens

to demonstrate that the exaggerated corporeal difference

of the sideshow attraction embodied childhood nightmares

and anxieties over scale, the limits of the body,

individuality, even the primal scene of the child's

creation. In exhibition, the freak helps constitute the

"normality" of the audience. The advent of modern

medical science, in Fiedler's eyes, has "desacralized

human monsters forever," and has replaced the audience's

awe with a quotidian curiosity that diminishes the

once-exalted status of the freak as a wonder and a

miracle (19). Robert Bogdan also confesses a childhood

experience with the freak show in the prefatory

statement of his study Freak Show: Presenting Human

How that social fiction of my `femininity' was created, by means outside my control, and palmed off on me as the real thing.

Angela Carters fiction is famed for its investigation of the fcrots which govern out lives

Provoke reaction

Boundaries blureed

Criticize the assumptions and preconvieved social ideals which have been accepted as natural.

Uses the retelling of tradiotnal stories in order to reapproriate gender and sexuality and critique the exsiting assumptions based upon the consrturction of femininity.

Marina Warner 'imagination was daazling, and through her daring,vertiginous plots, her precise yet wild imagery, her gallery of wonderful bad-good girls, beasts, rouges and other creatures, she causes readers to hold their breath as a mood of heroic optimism forms against the odds. (Warner, 1992, p.xii)

Imaginary worlds

In a patricrachl world, myths of women as pssive are seen as biological truths, ntural female oppression

'Femininity as a culturally determined position

Seeks to 'excsercie a cultural definition of the female as passive victim, a definition which attributes libidinal desire only to the male and associates the female with being merely the inert object of that desire.' (Day, 1998: p.144)

Reclaim of heroine of their own sexual authonmy. -social conventions of old power relations have been destablised

Nights at the circus

The cicus ring 'becomes an effective symbol of the patriarchal social order.' (Palmer, 1987: p.198)

Mignon - sterpyptical weak femininity as spectacle and victim.

new womanhood ' man Nelson quote 'I think you must be the pure child of the century that just now is waiting in the wings, the New Age in which no women will be bound down to the gound.' (Nights at the Cirus: 25)

men also lives by the myths of femininity

bloody chamber - gaze approparoates her as an object or throphy for his chamber.

Aiden day - gift of the maruiqs 'male economic power and the power to own, constrict and objectify the female. (day, 1998; p.153)

Aware of her objectification yet does not shy aware from it - sexual awakening, - 'When I saw him look at me with lust, I dropped my eyes but, in glancing away from him, I caught sight of myself in the mirror. And I saw myself, suddenly, as he saw me, my pale face, the way the muscles in my neck stuck out like thin wire. I saw how much that creul necklace became me. And for the first time in my innocent and confined life, I sensed in myself a potentioally for corruption that took my breath away. (bc, 11)

On finding the chamber, she seeks to excape the patricatchal cicuit of pwer

Blind paino tuner - love story which is ok in terms of carter, his blindness does not undermine his masculitny but means that he cannotobjecfity her thought he male gaze.

Not blameless, she has been taught by her mother that she can marry for love, stenght of women, yet she is drawn in by money and therefore it in some control of her own fate.

NIGHTS AT CIRUCS - feminine difference ' fact or fiction' -both.

Traditional symbolic women who has acted as a vessel for patircrachal women.

Sage ; 'Fevvers is a symbol come to life as a charcter, who makes meanings on her own account….What Carter does is give Fevevrs the mobility, particularity, weight, and humour of a charcter, and so give her back her gender (Sage, 1994a:48)

Old game of using body to earn a living, yet

Duane argues feminkinity as masquerade is a mode of 'falughting femininty' of a women producing herself 'as an excess of femininity.' (1991;118-119)

Butler ;- masquerade 'may be understood as a performative production of a sexual ontology, an appearance that makes itself convincing as a 'being' - with the consequence that 'all gender ontology' is reducible to a play of appearances (1991, 121)

Voice - unfemine her voice 'dark, rusty, dipping, swooping voice, imperious as a siren's (43)

Brothel 'apprenticship in being looked at - at being the object of the eye of the beholder' (23) exsiting 'only as an object in men's eyes'' (39) - does not subordrinate her into repression, - encourages her to sek other forms of expression, she self counsously becomes the image of femininity and therefore is in control of her own spectacle.

Madame schreck - freakish bodies and attributes - used by carter to comment on the construction of feminity.

Mignon - pity, object to be used and ubused by men.

Exists in comparion to Fevvers - occupies the place which has been assigned to women by the dominat ideology.

Lesbianism in caretrs fiction and her 'political intention to portray it pistively.' 9scmhidt, 1989:69)

Conclution - Fevvers - new women or new symbol of feminism. Fveeers - only fantasty relation to reality (SW, 9)

Identity cultural determined

Reapprparietes existing myth of femininity - object of male gaze

Areal women and a artificial myth of femininity.

'to pin your hopes upon the future is to consign those hopes to a hypothesis, which is to say, a nothingness' (NC: p.239)

'the long shadow of the past historic…that forged the instituitions which create the human nature of the present in the first place' (NC: p.240) - puts question to the whole story, with fevers being just another paradigm.

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