Relationship Between The Female Body And The Mind In Both Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland And The Bloody Chamber
Identity is explored through the relationship between the female body and the mind in both Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Bloody Chamber. Carrol presents Alice’s character as innocent and curious; he uses her experience as a parallel with the struggles young adolescents face when growing up and finding out who they are. “who in the world am I? ah, that’s the great puzzle’’ at this point in the book, Alice is becoming confused with her identity and sense of self. She is constantly being questioned and she understands that her ideals cannot be fixed in a place that is ruled by imagination and fantasy “I’m afraid I can’t explain myself, sir. Because I am not myself, you see?” Alice is often undermined and misunderstood by many of the creatures, however, she trusts her instinct and anthropological way of looking at life in times where she is challenged. This includes the way she analyses each new experience with a place or creature by assessing their characteristics and making a judgement. Add evidence. Alice’s relationship with her mind and body are tested throughout the book. The constant changes that happen to her body force her to question her identity, but as a result of this, the inconsistencies helps her to use and rely on her mind to reassure herself with knowledge. Carrol’s physical deformities, partial deafness, and irrepressible stammer made it awkward and difficult for him to speak to other adults but found a connection with children. His struggles with his own body, may suggest why he was so dependent on his contribution to literature and his intelligence, much like Alice. “Little Alice fell d o w n the hOle, bumped her head and bruised her soul”. This could be interpreted through when the exterior is damaged, it can often hurt the interior psychological components long term. The lexicon ‘bruised’ conveys how her soul is possibly tainted after her traumatic experience, suggesting the struggles faced in adulthood and how they can change who you become.
In contrast, Carter presents identity and the female body as an object as more transparent in the Bloody Chamber. Carter bases her stories on the original fairy tales, where the authors often present the women as archetypes of victims. In Carter’s stories, the women are objectified through the male antagonists who label the women as “Miss Lamb…spotless… sacrificial… my beauty “. However, Carter attempts to disrupt this sequence using revenge against the men and brutal violence. “There is a striking resemblance between the act of love and the ministrations of a torturer.” The heroine is defined to both the reader and the Marquis through her innocence of age and appearance ‘my young girls pointed breasts and shoulders, supple as a garment of heavy water and now teasingly caressed me’. Her attraction to him stems from his wealth and money, which soon fades, and she is the subject to his control and power. ‘His wedding gift clasped around my throat. A choker of rubies’ this explicitly conveys the consequent suffocation the heroine feels followed by the blood motif of the rubies, symbolizing violence, ownership, and status. The Heroine also likens the Marquis to lilies which contrasts with the vulgar way she sometimes describes him ‘I could not stifle for his white, heavy flesh’(p11). The idea of white lilies can be linked specifically to represent wealth and prosperity, linking to his prosperous hunger (“Love is desire sustained by unfulfillment.”) and dedication to dehumanize her through taking her pride, virginity, and self-awareness. The heroine addresses how this makes her feel through ‘The lilies I always associate with him; that are white. And stain you’. The ironic contrast of ‘white’ and ‘stain’ addresses the purity of herself and how she is stained by him through sexual and physical dominance alongside his economic ownership. The lilies are again referenced in the setting when The Heroine prepares to lose her virginity. The bedroom is filled with lilies, which are reflected in twelve mirrors, so that the room appears to be an “embalming parlor.” The heroine is reflected in the mirrors so that she becomes a multitude of girls, furthermore, losing her identity. The idea of the twelve mirrors reflects the twelve disciples who followed Jesus’ words and actions and were dedicated as sacrifices to their faith. The Marquis sees himself as a Godlike figure, whose wives he enjoys brutally sacrificing for his pleasure, regardless of their identity or individualism. Objectification is also shown when the Heroine is physically marked by her disloyalties towards the Marquis. When her curious nature leads her to disobeys him by going into the forbidden room and unlocking it with the key’s he trusted her with. She is then both mentally and physically is stained by the key “I saw the heart-shaped stain had transferred itself to my forehead” and she compares it to the ‘mark of Cain’ which could be representative of an omen or a warning sign. The symbolism of being stained by the key could allude to her becoming an object, whilst being branded by him and his secrets. It also shows that he has taken everything from her, from her dignity to her privacy. Similarly, to Eve in the garden of Eden, or the story of pandora’s box, this is another example of where a woman is punished for being too curious and inquisitive.