The first task in this assignment is to research Angela Carter. Her official website will provide a good start, along with the article “Angela Carter: Far from the fairytale” by Edmund Gordon (Carter's biographer) in The Guardian, October 1, 2016, and the British Library page about Carter. Pay close attention to the personal aspects of Carter's life, especially her troubled childhood with her overprotective mother, her multiple relationships, and her tendency toward social rebellion.
Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber is hardly a traditional collection of fairytales. It is dark and often morbidly grotesque, and it explores issues of identity, sexuality, and violence that are certainly not material for young readers. The title story, for instance, includes some erotic scenes as well as extreme horror and violence.
Carter's life can provide some clues as to why she chose to write in such a fashion. Her overly sheltered childhood, for instance, may have contributed to her desire to break with tradition and reach out in new directions. Her many love affairs probably provided her with material for her erotic scenes and for reflection on the relationships between men and women.
In The Bloody Chamber, Carter clearly wants readers to ponder the darker side of fairytales and the darker side of human life. She wants them to examine the identities of the characters and, in so doing, reflect on their own identities. Further, she wants to shock her readers out of complacency, a complacency that she perhaps experienced as a young person. She wants to, as she once said, demythologize fantasy and human life, and her dark takes certainly lead to questioning and even horror as they place the most sinister elements of life front and center and force readers to look directly at them.