The Yale Undergraduate Research Journal


Angela Carter’s “The Bloody Chamber” conflates sexuality and death in a feminist reworking of the Bluebeard story. This essay explores the conflation of feminine heterosexual desire and mortal danger through a Freudian lens to reveal how Carter undermines the Freudian gender binaries in order to construct an independent feminine identity that exists outside the binary. While the original Bluebeard story by Charles Perrault was fashioned as a cautionary tale to warn women against the dangers of their inherent curiosity, Carter subverts this meaning to create a protagonist with a complicated sense of morality and a nuanced understanding of her place in a marriage as both subject and object. A close analysis of Carter’s diction and imagery in the story contains important insights into how Carter deconstructs the Freudian sexual and death drives, which further deconstructs the gendered binaries of active versus passive and subject versus object.