The Bloody Chamber

by Angela Carter

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Student Question

How do the stories "The Bloody Chamber," "Blue Beard," and "Bluebeard's Wife" connect?

Quick answer:

Angela Carter’s "The Bloody Chamber," Charles Perrault’s "Blue Beard," and Ursula Vernon’s "Bluebeard’s Wife" connect because they revolve around a wife and a murderous husband. Additional connections relate to the themes of empowerment, secrecy, and wealth.

Expert Answers

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In general, the three stories connect to the myth of Bluebeard. The Bluebeard narrative revolves around a man who kills his wives. The most recent wife has to figure out how to avoid her lethal fate. In all three of these Bluebeard stories, the women successfully escape their murderous husbands. In Angela Carter’s “The Bloody Chamber,” the wife is saved by her mother, who shoots her daughter’s husband with her husband’s service revolver. In Charles Perrault’s “Blue Beard,” the wife is rescued by her brothers. In Ursula Vernon’s “Bluebeard’s Wife,” the wife’s respectful attitude toward her husband’s privacy renders rescue unnecessary. As the wife, Althea, doesn’t feel the urge to enter her husband’s secret room, she doesn’t put herself in grave danger.

Aside from similar plot points, one might connect the short stories through their shared themes. One could say that the theme of empowerment is present in all three works. In Perrault’s story, the wife has the smarts to delay her death until her brothers arrive. In Carter’s short story, the mother shows her forcefulness by killing her daughter’s predatory husband. The young woman then demonstrates her independence by starting a music school. In Vernon’s short story, Althea conveys her confidence in terms of how unperturbed she is about her husband’s private room.

Other themes that connect the stories include secrecy and wealth. The wives must take a stance on their husbands' mysterious rooms and adjust to the luxury that their marriages engender.

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