Angela Carter, the Snow Child Symbolism Essay

1589 Words Nov 1st, 2013 7 Pages
Some readers may suggest that ‘The Snow Child’ is a simple one dimensional Gothic narrative, whilst others might argue that it is a complex allegory.
What is your response to the text?

Carter expresses many aspects of the gothic genre in her short story ‘The Snow Child’. However the play doesn’t merely consist of gothic themes such as the supernatural, incest or the sublime, like many critics may suggest, but relies on an allegory which by definition can make the narrative much more than what is perceived as being ‘one dimensional’ “Carter says of her stories in ‘The Bloody Chamber’ that allegory is intended1, but also that she keeps ‘an entertaining surface2’ , that you ‘Don’t have to read them as a system of signification if you
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“Now the Countess had all her clothes on again with her long hands she stoked her fur”21 This amplifies the resubmission of the woman’s role. She is once again in power, even over that of the Count. This contradicts what we would assume a ‘one dimensional’ narrative to consist of.

If ‘The Snow Child’ didn’t seem complex enough already, it could be insinuated that ‘The Snow Child’ contains elements of Freudian Theory. The Oedipal Conflict22 suggests that there is an innate desire for sexual involvement with a parent of the opposite sex which is apparent from birth. Consequently, there is an innate rivalry with the parent of the same sex. Freud also believed that Fathers have a sexual desire for their daughters and this is all very natural. This resembles the triangular relationship between the Count, the Countess and the Snow child. The Count has a sexual attraction to his “Child of his desire”23 or in this case, his daughter. This is apparent when he “unfastened his breeches and thrust his virile member into the dead girl.”24 This proves the attraction to his ‘daughter’ by the gothic theme of necrophilia.

Many would declare that ‘The Snow Child’ is a simple linear narrative presenting elements of a gothic nature. However, there are many perspectives that suggest that the narrative is allegorical. One perspective is that the narrative is a comprehensive metaphor for the desire of

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