ELT376 Contemporary Literature Essay, SUSS, Singapore According to Stephen Benson, “Carter is a materialist, concerned with the efficacy within the history of particular representations
According to Stephen Benson, “Carter is a materialist, concerned with the efficacy within the history of particular representations, including those of the fairy tale, and it is via the simultaneous inscription and subversion of these representations in her work that she depicts history as a process, both determining our conceptions of ourselves and allowing for the possibility of change.” With reference to the story “The Bloody Chamber” and at least one other story from The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories discusses how “the possibility of change” is affected and what significance it has in relation to feminism.
Student’s Notes Before writing the essay:
• Read the short story “The Bloody Chamber” from Carter’s book, The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories (henceforth referred to as The Bloody Chamber).
• Read the relevant chapters in the Study Guide on Carter’s “The Bloody Chamber.”
• You must refer to one other relevant story from The Bloody Chamber.
• You must also have a good understanding of the concept of appropriation and Carter’s approach to feminism and her political agenda.
• Importantly, be sure you fully understand women’s writing in the contemporary world. Most of the information can be found in the Study Guide.
This TMA requires that you demonstrate a good understanding of Benson’s quote, which suggests how Carter shows the possibility of transcending and transforming traditional representations of gender. Benson’s quote also implies that Carter appropriates the fairy tale genre and works at subverting the ideological assumptions of the fairy tale.
In this regard, particular attention should be given to how Carter inscribes patriarchal norms in the stories and subsequently subverts them. Most importantly, the “possibility of change” in Carter’s stories must be explained clearly to suggest how Carter engages with the fairy tale genre to challenge and transcend patriarchal conventions of gender roles and identity. In order to discuss such issues,
1. You must first understand the way in which critics and theorists have conceptualized how appropriation in literary works and how Carter engages with the ideology in her writing. For example, you may cite Stephen Benson, Julie Sanders, Julia Kristeva, and/or Adrienne Rich among others. In your essay, you must be able to cite and briefly summarise the key theoretical points of view that you have studied.
2. You also need to show an awareness of the significance of folk tales and/or fairy tales in transmitting ideologies and mythological constructs of women, in particular. You may want to refer to Jack Zipes and/or other critics to cite and briefly summarise theoretical points of view regarding folk tales and/or fairy tales, as well as patriarchal ideologies that inform mythological constructs of women.
3. In order to discuss the significance of the change in Carter’s appropriation of folk tales and/or fairy tales, you should be prepared to make references to the original version of Bluebeard and the source tale/s of the other stories you select to show how Carter’s version re-imagines different possibilities.
4. More importantly, you need to show through a close reading of Carter’s writing, how she calls upon folk tales and/or fairy tales and uses them to inscribe alternate possibilities through depictions of change. In addition, attention should be given to notions of identity and conventions of representations of both male and female characters.
5. Finally, in considering how “the possibility of change” is affected in Carter’s stories, you may draw upon particular ideologies or conceptual/theoretical perspectives that you have studied, relating how portrayals of gender are addressed.
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