Response/Analytical Task Explain how the writer, Angela Carter, has created the gothic in the text and how she has subverted (to do the opposite of) it? How effective is this text? In the story ‘The Lady of the House of Love’ Angela Carter uses gothic elements like using the themes of supernatural, a prophecy, setting, a damsel in distress and tyrannical figure. The theme of supernatural/inexplicable events is very prominent in this story. The protagonist is a vampire who is a creature made of myths. The countess is the queen of the vampires and has survived for many centuries. Shadows that have no source in anything visible… where a cracked mirror suspended from a wall does not reflect a presence. ’ This quote uses symbolism and implies the existence of a vampire as vampires live only in dark shadows and their reflections do not show in a mirror. Also the cracked mirror symbolizes bad luck that is always associated with dark, evil creatures. Prophecies are common in this story. The countess repeatedly plays tarot cards every day and towards the end she predicts a love prophecy.
The quote ‘She plays her game of patience until she grows hungry, until she is ravenous’ tells of the countess playing her tarot cards everyday until it is time for her to feed. Instead of saying she is dealing tarot cards Carter has stated the lady is playing a game of patience. By using a metaphor Carter shows that ‘the game of patience’ represents the countess waits patiently everyday for her fate to change and only leaves to feed on her next victim. The setting of this story is at an abandoned village where only a stone lion head and the old luxurious mansion are ever visited. At last the revenants became so troublesome the peasants abandoned the village and it fell solely into the possession of subtle and vindictive inhabitants who manifest their presences by shadows that fall almost imperceptibly awry. ’ This quote shows the village was abandoned because of the revived countess and the fear the villagers have for her. The vocabulary used is very effective. The words subtle and vindictive show her presence is like a slowly creeping evil that causes these villagers to hate the land.
The Origin and Evolution of Vampires Stories of vampires go back earlier than Abraham Stoker, before the existence of Vlad the Impaler, and even before the origin of the Hungarian word vampir from which we get the current word "vampire." Stories of the undead were told in Ancient Greece and in Ancient Rome, and were called lamiae. Since these times, many authors like Charles Middleton, Robert ...
The countess seems to be the damsel in distress in this story but as readers we also find the tyrannical figure side of her. She does not wish to be a vampire and is always trying to change her fate but on the other hand she lures travelers into her domain and takes their lives with no hesitation. This is different to most gothic stories as usually the tyrannical figure is supposed to be male and the women are supposed to be the pure virginal ones. In this story the young virginal man is the one who ‘exorcises’ her and she is the one who dies.
In this text Carter switches the countess’ role from being the damsel in distress and the tyrannical figure. She is portrayed as a pitiful being first who had an unlucky fate forced upon her. But then she shows the animalistic side of her who has murdered many people over many centuries. This is shown in the quote ‘She drops, now, on all fours’ which shows that she can become inhuman and only hunger for blood. Also in gothic texts the pure figure is usually a female but in this story it is a male that ‘exorcises’ a female. The usually used genders in gothic texts are reversed.
It is more common for an estate or a large mansion to be abandoned but in ‘The Lady of the House of Love’ the whole village is abandoned and only the countess remains. This story is effective because it is narrated from a 3rd person point of view and therefore shows us what each character is feeling and their thoughts. By showing us what each character thinks we can better understand their actions and personality. The pure male is also the hero of the story as he changes the countess’s fate and turns her into a human but at the same time he kills the tyrannical figure that was also the protagonist.
Kate Chopin is often catalogued as an insightful writer who saw ahead of her own time. Her work is filled with examples of the powerful forces which are at play in the human spirit and which go beyond the conventions of society. Chopin captures the ineffable essence of human relationships, outside the rules of social order. Thus, in many of her stories, Chopin tackles marriage as a social ...