Sunday, 29 March 2009

Part 4...........

What Carter is offering us is the radical, and, for some people the horrifying idea that the seemingly innocent child might be just as amoral and savage as the wolf she encounters on her journey. The clean, virginal purity embedded in the ideological image of the child is considerably challenged when a strong, courageous and even savage picture of the child is evoked by her overpowering the wolf through chopping off one of its paws. The knife is a phallic symbol and the author gives the child a sexual maleness through her use of the knife., but more than this, the issue of Freuds theory of female castration has come to the foreground in the story. This is not surprising given Carter`s abiding fascination with the Freudian unconscious. The cutting off of the paw signifies that the wolf`s potency has been restricted, which amounts to a kind of castration, thereby she challenges Freuds theory of women by inverting it and standing it on its head.

The climatic image of the child armed with her fathers hunting knife in the story and holding the grandmother down brings forth many associations, but the main one has to do with the masculine use of overt force to subdue the shrieking grandmother, an analogy to patriarchal domination is again apparent in this scene. The imagery of this scene and its oblique reference to sexuality points to a dangerous feminine potency which could be unleashed were the lid of Pandora`s box opened. The ideology underlying the traditional fairy tale has been in part responsible for the enormity of repression which has kept women in the dark regarding their own innate potency, and this repression is a Pandora`s box which resides in every woman. The situation Carter depicts in her story is analagous to the forces of repression being released and faced.

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