Beauty and the Beast/Song of Orpheus Analysis

Barbara Hambly

The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Beauty and the Beast and Song of Orpheus are based on the television program Beauty and the Beast, which began airing in 1987 and was created by Ron Koslow. The story concerns Catherine Chandler, a beautiful, well-educated debutante whose narcissistic, privileged life has begun to lose its appeal. Her job as junior partner in her father’s prestigious corporate law firm has become dull and her performance in that capacity lackluster. While trying to hail a taxi one evening, Catherine is grabbed by a stocky man and forced into a van. Three days later, she is thrown out of the van in Central Park and left for dead. She has been beaten badly, and her face has been slashed.

Catherine awakes Below, in a secret underworld beneath the level of old subway tunnels in Manhattan, having been found by Vincent, a huge half-human, half-lion. She immediately feels a powerful bond with Vincent. She is cared for by Father, patriarch of the secret society of outcasts and refugees from the heartless, profligate society Above.

Despite her own father’s efforts to facilitate her return to normalcy by hiring a plastic surgeon and by remaining patient in the face of her flat refusal to discuss the details of her disappearance, Catherine’s thoughts are not at all on settling back into her old routine. Searing memories of the injustice done to her and to Vincent, an “accident” horribly discarded at birth but rescued by the Tunnel Dwellers, claim her attention. Although she understands that Above remains as closed to Vincent as Below is to her, she knows also that her life henceforth will never be the same. She leaves her father’s corporate law firm and, seeking to aid other innocent victims, becomes a deputy district attorney. She also begins to learn how to defend herself.

Vincent, his thoughts on Catherine, occasionally ventures stealthily into Central Park from the Tunnels, merely to gaze at the light in her room. Neither Vincent’s dreams of Catherine nor his visits Above find...

(The entire section is 829 words.)