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The Snow Child Learning Objective How does Carter use symbolism within the story? KEY TERM: Allegory A story that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden.

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Presentation on theme: "The Snow Child Learning Objective How does Carter use symbolism within the story? KEY TERM: Allegory A story that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Snow Child Learning Objective How does Carter use symbolism within the story? KEY TERM: Allegory A story that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one.

2 How is a feminist message contained within ‘The Snow Child’...?

3 Exam Mark Scheme : Band 6 (A) Band AO2 Exploration and analysis of key aspects of language with perceptive evaluation of how they shape meanings AO3 Perceptive consideration of different interpretations of texts with sharp evaluation of their strengths and weakness and with excellent selection of supportive references AO4 Excellent understanding of ways of contextualising gothic

4 The Gothic The concept of ‘the Gothic’ has woven itself into our culture, past and present, in many ways and at many levels, and ours is an age in which gothic culture occupies a significant place. Some elements include: A fondness for the symbols of darkness and light – literally and metaphorically A significant use of the setting The creation of fear as a narrative priority A fascination with the influence of the past A difference between male and female roles which themselves often follow particular conventions A blurring of reality and fantasy, being awake and dreaming within the tales A tendency for certain psychological traits to occur within the main character

5 Form The Bloody Chamber is made up of short stories, which maximise the impact of the stories’ messages.  The Snow Child is the shortest of the stories and is written as a vignette, the shortness of which makes it poignant and increases its impact to disturb the reader. The stories are re-worked fairy tales, though Carter herself claimed they were not “versions” but “new stories”. Which fairy tale does Carter draw on within ‘The Snow Child’? What ideas do you associate with this fairytale?

6 Context Many of the stories can be linked to wider feminist messages (For example, the image of the bloody chamber in the story of that name could be seen as a representation of the spiritual or physical death of the woman through childbirth and marriage). Angela Carter was herself a feminist. The metamorphoses in the stories also seem to be criticising society’s imposition of gender roles through patriarchy. How is a feminist message contained within ‘The Snow Child’...?

7 Setting What details can you pick out about the setting from the first paragraph and how can they inform a ‘Gothic’ reading of this story?  ‘Midwinter – invincible, immaculate.’  ‘Fresh snow fell on snow already fallen; when it ceased, the whole world was white.’  ‘They come to a hole in the snow; this hole is filled with blood.’

8 The Snow Child The story begins in a typical fairy tale fashion by setting the scene by locating it in time but is uninviting: “midwinter” also – power of nature (see below) through pathetic fallacy. The alliteration of “invincible, immaculate” exaggerates the extremity of the weather – link to the sublime. ‘Fresh snow fell on snow already fallen; when it ceased, the whole world was white.’ Setting disorientates the reader, also implies place that represents purity and virginity. Alliteration lulls, confuses, mystery, dramatic? ‘They come to a hole in the snow; this hole is filled with blood.’ an imperfection on the blank canvas, possible link to female menstruation, sexual maturity etc. How is a feminist message contained within ‘The Snow Child’...?

9 The Snow Child Learning Objective How does Carter use symbolism within the story? KEY TERM: Allegory A story that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one.

10 Feminism in a nutshell Feminists want women to be depicted as equal to men, physically capable, mentally and emotionally independent, smart, career driven... Think ‘Kill Bill’, ‘Crouching Tiger’, ‘Lady Gaga’... Feminism is a political project which seeks to challenge this power structure and change the roles and perceptions of women by bringing these perceptions to light or by attempting to subvert them. Patriarchy is a social system in which the role of the male as the primary authority figure is central to society. It implies the institutions of male rule and dominance, and is dependent on female subordination. KEY TERMS: Patriarchal Subordinate Objectification Empowered

11 Feminist theory, which emerged from these feminist movements, aims to understand the nature of gender inequality by examining women's social roles and lived experience; it has developed theories in a variety of disciplines in order to respond to issues such as the social construction of sex and gender. Some of the earlier forms of feminism have been criticised for taking into account only white, middle-class, educated perspectives. This led to the creation of ethnically specific or multiculturalist forms of feminism. Feminist activists campaign for women's rights – such as in contract law, property, and voting – while also promoting bodily integrity, autonomy, and reproductive rights for women. Feminist campaigns have changed societies, particularly in the West, by achieving women's suffrage, gender neutrality in English, equal pay for women, reproductive rights for women (including access to contraceptives and abortion), and the right to enter into contracts and own property. Feminists have worked to protect women and girls from domestic violence, sexual harassment, and sexual assault. They have also advocated for workplace rights, including maternity leave, and against forms of discrimination against women. Feminism is mainly focused on women's issues, but because feminism seeks gender equality, some feminists argue that men's liberation is a necessary part of feminism, and that men are also harmed by sexism and gender roles.

12 Look at the language used to describe the Countess. What does she symbolise and how is this shown? What does the Snow Child symbolise and how is this shown? What does the Count symbolise and how is this shown? How does the Countess attempt to ‘get rid’ of the girl and why is this significant? How does Carter use it? USE QUOTES How is a feminist message contained within ‘The Snow Child’...?

13 Look at the language used to describe the Countess. What does she symbolise and how is this shown? The Count and his wife go riding, he on a grey mare and she on a black one, she wrapped in the glittering pelts of black foxes; and she wore high, black, shining boots with scarlet heels, and spurs. How is a feminist message contained within ‘The Snow Child’...?

14 As soon as he completed her description, there she stood, beside the road, white skin, red mouth, black hair and stark naked; she was the child of his desire and the Countess hated her. What does the Snow Child symbolise and how is this shown? How is a feminist message contained within ‘The Snow Child’...? The word desire is ambiguous, how might it be interpreted?

15 The Snow Child Learning Objective How can we evaluate Carter’s use of language to shape meanings? KEY TERM: Allegory A story that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one.

16 Exam Mark Scheme : Band 6 (A) Band AO2 Exploration and analysis of key aspects of language with perceptive evaluation of how they shape meanings AO3 Perceptive consideration of different interpretations of texts with sharp evaluation of their strengths and weakness and with excellent selection of supportive references. AO4 Excellent understanding of ways of contextualising gothic

17 ‘I wish I had a girl as white as snow’ says the Count. They ride on. They come to a hole in the snow; this hole is filled with blood. He says: ‘I wish I had a girl as red as blood.’ So they ride on again; here is a raven, perched on a bare bough. ‘I wish I had a girl as black as that bird’s feather.’ What does the Count symbolise and how is this shown? How is a feminist message contained within ‘The Snow Child’...? The Count’s wishes are granted immediately, what genre does this link with? How can we evaluate Carter’s use of language to shape meanings?

18 The Countess dropped her glove in the snow and told the girl to get down to look for it; she meant to gallop off and leave her there but the Count said: ‘I’ll buy you new gloves.’ At that, the furs sprang off the Countess’s shoulders and twined round the naked girl.’ ‘Now the Countess was bare as bone and the girl furred and booted; the Count felt sorry for his wife.’ How does the Countess attempt to ‘get rid’ of the girl and why is this significant? How is a feminist message contained within ‘The Snow Child’...? How can we evaluate Carter’s use of language to shape meanings?

19 What can we say is symbolic about the picking of the rose? They came to a bush of roses, all in flower. ‘Pick me one,’ said the Countess to the girl. ‘I can’t deny you that,’ said the Count. So, the girl picks a rose; pricks her finger on the thorn; bleeds, screams, falls.’ How can we evaluate Carter’s use of language to shape meanings?

20 2.What could the act of necrophilia symbolise? Weeping, the Count got off his horse, unfastened his breeches and thrust his virile member into the dead girl. The Countess reined in her stamping mare and watched him, narrowly; he was soon finished. How can we evaluate Carter’s use of language to shape meanings?

21 Group Discussion 1.What can we say is symbolic about the picking of the rose? Devious: typical fairytale deception that conceals a murderous intent. The Countess is clever. Rose = embodiment of natural beauty, thorn = the pain of loving. The girl is supernatural so is killed by the power of natural beauty – link to the sublime and feminism here. The Count fails to protect his child – loses his power. Males desires are unnatural. 2.What could the act of necrophilia symbolise? ‘Weeping’ – Is the Count mourning the loss of is perfect woman, can this link to society at the time? Prick of the thorn takes the story in a new direction – sex. The Countess watches him, why? Perhaps implies that women know men would rather indulge in dead fantasies than real women. ‘He was soon finished’ reveals a contempt at his sexual performance, humour, makes her seem more powerful and he, less of a man. How is a feminist message contained within ‘The Snow Child’...?

22 The conclusion 1.What happens to the two female characters in the last paragraph? 2.‘It bites!’ she said. Ambiguous? What different interpretations are there? Can we link them to feminism? Learning Objective How does Carter use symbolism within the story? How is a feminist message contained within ‘The Snow Child’...? How can we evaluate Carter’s use of language to shape meanings?

23 Then the girl began to melt. Soon there was nothing left of her but a feather a bird might have dropped; a bloodstain, like the trace of fox’s kill on the snow; and the rose she had pulled off the bush. Now the Countess had all her clothes on again. With her long hand, she stroked her furs. The Count picked up the rose, bowed and handed it to his wife; when she touched it, she dropped it. ‘It bites!’ she said. How can we evaluate Carter’s use of language to shape meanings?

24 What does the story symbolise? The entire story could be seen as an allegory for the transitory nature of male desire, with the short-lived girl representing the male fantasy, while the Countess’ victory represents the triumph of feminism or ‘real women’.

25 Next lesson you will write your answer Today: Plan your points How far do you agree that ‘The Snow Child’ is a story that supports a feminist viewpoint ? Exam Mark Scheme : Band 6 (A) Band AO2 Exploration and analysis of key aspects of language with perceptive evaluation of how they shape meanings AO3 Perceptive consideration of different interpretations of texts with sharp evaluation of their strengths and weakness and with excellent selection of supportive references. AO4 Excellent understanding of ways of contextualising gothic

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27 Exam Mark Scheme : Band 6 (A) Band AO1 Use of appropriate critical vocabulary and technically fluent style/well structured and coherent argument AO1 Always relevant with very sharp focus on task and confidently ranging around texts AO2 Exploration and analysis of key features of form and structure with perceptive evaluation of how they shape meanings AO2 Exploration and analysis of key aspects of language with perceptive evaluation of how they shape meanings AO3 Detailed and perceptive understanding of issues raised in connecting texts through concept of gothic AO3 Perceptive consideration of different interpretations of texts with sharp evaluation of their strengths and weakness and with excellent selection of supportive references AO4 Excellent understanding of ways of contextualising gothic AO4 Excellent understanding of a range of other contextual factors with specific, detailed links between context/text/task

28 Carter’s use of the Gothic Conventions Gothic Setting Generally sticks to conventional Gothic settings – isolated castle, forest, graveyard but often used symbolically – the forest used as a metaphor for a girl moving towards adulthood with all its fears and dangers or the threat of the wilderness beyond human civilisation. Often used to explore class – Gothic horror stories tended to be ‘blue-blood’ horror – focused on the aristocracy – but not all of Angela Carter’s stories are about the upper-class – many use a more humble, everyday setting, more typical of a fairy tale – also focused on the lives of the working class. Gothic Characters Female Stereotypes – previous Gothic texts place women as the object – often stereotype of victim or predator – or absent all together. Women characters often used as plot device to present fear or showed male fears of the strong, dominant woman who were portrayed as a predator and punished. Carter places women at the centre of the text – texts such as Werewolf are female dominated. She explores the use of women as victims and creates a brave, unafraid girl. She explores the use of the female predator and the prejudice surrounding this. The Male Protagonist – men become the ‘other’ in the text. Explores the macho stereotype men have had to fit – Wolf-Alice helps to reveal the count’s true self through caring for him. Explores male violence towards women – rape, sado-masochism, power relationships. Explores sexual aggression and illicit desires. Carter explores the ambiguities, oppositions and discomfort of the Gothic In the 1970s when Angela Carter wrote the stories, feminists often presented women as victims of male aggression but Carter felt this was a limiting factor in the feminist perspective, she wanted to explore how women might respond to violence and threat in a new way; her stories explore how this might be achieved. She said ‘no daughter of mine should ever be in a position to be able to write BY GRAND CENTRAL STATION I SAT DOWN AND WEPT, exquisite prose though it might contain. (BY GRAND CENTRAL STATION I TORE OFF HIS BALLS would be more like it, I should hope.)’. The Supernatural character – she uses traditional Gothic supernatural elements but changes the perspective to give us a different view – the female vampire, the werewolf rather than the wolf. Transformation also key – human/animal.


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