A Metaphorical Piano and Other Stories

Michael Hogan (writer)
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The women who are the victims of sexual violence are often young and fully sexualized. If they survive the assault, they then become impassioned and invigorated after the incident. Instead of battling through years of trauma and PTSD, they frequently transform into strong and empowered women because of their desire to enact violence upon their abusers. In The Perfection , this pattern is put to the extreme. More on Lizzie in a second. The idea that surviving sexual assault inherently makes you stronger is a deeply problematic narrative trope , one that has been called out frequently by feminist critics.

The implication is that sexual violence is some sort of rite of passage that a woman undergoes in order to become fully actualized and gain autonomy. The conservatory director is clearly supposed to be reminiscent of former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar — a man with total power over his students and the complete trust of them and their parents, until he was brought down and eventually convicted in one of the biggest trials of the MeToo movement.

But Nassar was able to get away with his abuse for decades in part because the actual acts of abuse were subtle , full of plausible deniability and designed to gaslight victims about whether they were really being assaulted. Over the course of the film, she drugs, abuses, and emotionally manipulates Lizzie, who is black, to convince a drugged-up, terrified Lizzie to chop off her own hand — obviously destroying her career and robbing her forever of the chance to play the instrument she loves.

It feels, in essence, like Lizzie has traded one form of brainwashing for another. So what are we to make of The Perfection? By choosing I Accept , you consent to our use of cookies and other tracking technologies.

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Reddit Pocket Flipboard Email. Netflix This review contains both a general plot overview and major spoilers for The Perfection. The Perfection is a fairly typical, unoriginal example of what a rape revenge fantasy looks like through a male gaze In these kinds of films, the rapes in question always happen to a woman or a young girl. Next Up In Culture Mr. Will streaming services change that? Carter, herself, admits to being a fan of, both, Gothic horror and Edgar Allan Poe in particular, including in her stories such elements as incest and cannibalism in order to call upon the Gothic tradition.

Often times, her writing is also considered to be something similar to magical realism , in relation to the insertion of inexplicable magical elements. This is shown in "The Bloody Chamber," specifically, when the narrator is unable to clean the blood away for what, otherwise, seems to be a normal key in a semi-realistic setting.

The time periods of the stories remain vague.

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For example, in "The Bloody Chamber" the existence of a transatlantic telephone implies a date of or later. On the other hand, the mention of painters such as Gustave Moreau and Odilon Redon , and of fashion designer Paul Poiret who designs one of the heroine's gowns all suggest a date before Angela Carter's short stories challenge the way women are represented in fairy tales , yet retain an air of tradition and convention through her voluptuously descriptive prose.

For example, in the opening tale "The Bloody Chamber" which is a retelling of Bluebeard , Carter plays with the conventions of canonical fairy tales ; instead of the heroine being rescued by the stereotypical male hero, she is rescued by her mother. Carter effectively draws out the theme of feminism by contrasting traditional elements of Gothic fiction — which usually depicted female characters as weak and helpless — with strong female protagonists. In doing so, Carter reinvents the outdated conventions of fairy tales and offers insight on the archetypes and stereotypes of women in these well-known and celebrated stories.

In particular, and especially in "The Bloody Chamber," Carter creates familial ties between her heroines and their mothers, where in the original fairy tales their mothers would have either died at the beginning of the story, or gone unmentioned. By creating and strengthening said bond, Carter inverts the trope of a lone woman and creates a chorus of agency, where once there was none.

It is notable that the conventions Carter analyzes and reimagines are of a patriarchal nature. Many of the original fairy tales that she draws inspiration from illustrate female characters in a vulnerable, damsel-in-distress position. It is clear that in giving her female characters more agency, Carter is directly responding to and critiquing these traditional patriarchal tropes.

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The stories deal with themes of women's roles in relationships and marriage, their sexuality, coming of age and corruption. Themes of female identity are explored in the "Beauty and the Beast" stories such as "The Tiger's Bride".

Piano and keyboard continue to enjoy immense popularity

In one instance, Beauty: the story's heroine, is described as removing the petals from a white rose as her father gambles her away, a seeming representation of the stripping away of the false layers of her personality to find her true identity; an image that finds a mirror in the story's fantastical conclusion. Carter continues to toy with Gothic fiction and gender, in a way that utilizes classic Gothic symbolism to push the narrative forward.

A Metaphorical Piano and Other Stories

She writes of Gothic fiction, that "characters and events are exaggerated beyond reality, to become symbols, ideas, and passions, [12] " all of which work towards the singular purpose of creating an uneasy atmosphere. In "The Bloody Chamber," she extrapolates on the importance of symbolism, by placing emphasis on images such as the ominous Gothic castle, the blood on the key, or a blood-red choker awarded the heroine as a wedding gift.

As in the Gothic tradition, these artifacts foreshadow the story to come, and the fate of the heroine as she spills blood on the bed sheets after consummating her marriage, the blood of her husband's previous wives as she learns his dark secret, and the blood that is meant to be spilled from her neck, once The Marquis vows to chop her head off. Gothic images placed within these short stories emphasize terror and the gruesome, attempting to build an atmosphere, while also working to flip certain gendered tropes on their heads: in the end, it is the virgin's own blood, her feminine energy in the form of her mother and her quick thinking, that save her from a terrible fate.

Furthermore, Carter seems to draw heavily from the understanding of Gothic literature as following specific, gendered structures.

Within this framework, as well, Carter bases many of her stories of off the female tradition. Particularly, in "The Bloody Chamber," she reflects on the sexual nature of Psyche and the beast that is Eros, as the narrator is trapped in a castle and ravished for her virginity. Though, unlike the original tale, Carter continues to darken the narrative in order to fit the Gothic landscape, in such ways as emphasizing the nature of sexual acts in accordance to such horrors as cannibalism. While from Eros and Psyche bloom love, the Marquis is constantly looking to devour the heroine, to mutilate her body and objectify her in a show of Gothic horror that Edgar Allen Poe often used to influence the dark undertones in his short stories.

Here, the Marquis, based on the character of Bluebeard from the original tale, is an art dealer, whose art comes in the form of his murder, and the "'aesthetic' display of his former wives' corpses.

His current wife's role, in this case, "is to act as his Muse Here, Carter displays patriarchal values through her antagonist. By presenting himself as the typical artist, and his wife as the muse, he is literally attempting to kill her and her unique proclivities, in order to indoctrinate her into his artistic method. He attempts to fetishize her and strip her of agency, a criticism of Carter's on the "male literary tradition," of martyring women literally and metaphorically in fiction in order to present the fruits of their artistic labor.

The Bloody Chamber has received heavy praise and attention from numerous critics such as Jack Zipes who called it a "remarkable collection" [17] and Marina Warner who, on its inspirational nature, said it "turned the key for [her] as a writer" [18]. Several critical works have been published that focus on Carter's use of fairy tales in The Bloody Chamber and her other works [19] and the anthology is also frequently taught and studied in University literature courses.

Neil Gaiman cited the book as one of his inspirations. The critic Patricia Duncker , however, was more reserved in her praise, criticising it for not breaking enough taboos. She said 'Carter could never have imagined Cinderella in bed with the fairy God-mother. The adaptation of "Puss in Boots" as it was retitled starred Andrew Sachs in the title role.

Carter also directly contributed to the screenplay of this film, which bears close resemblance to her radio play adaptation of "The Company of Wolves. Jordan and Carter also discussed producing a film adaptation of "Vampirella", the radio drama that became "The Lady of the House of Love", but this project was never released. The stories within The Bloody Chamber are a popular subject for theatrical adaptation.

The story "The Bloody Chamber" has been adapted for the theatre more than once, including a performance by the "Zoo District" which was accompanied by an amateur film adaptation of "Wolf-Alice". Murray comments on his interest in Carter's work and refers to her discussion of fairy tales as 'an important medium. Set and costumedesign were by Anna Cordingley with lighting designer Paul Jackson. Save for a relatively brief appearance by Shelly Lauman, the piece was in essence performed by Alison Whyte.

Angela Carter is listed as an inspiration in the album notes. The band Honeyblood also released a song, "Choker," on their self-titled album which retells "The Bloody Chamber".

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The Fiction of Angela Carter. Cambridge: Icon Books Ltd. Angela Carter ed. Conceptual Art. Conceptual art describes an influential movement that first emerged in the mids and prized ideas over the formal or visual components of traditional works of art. The artists often challenged old concepts such as beauty and quality; they also questioned the conventional means by which the public consumed art; and they rejected the conventional art object in favor of diverse mediums, ranging from maps and diagrams to texts and videos.

Summary Concepts Artworks. Fluxus was an international network of artists of the s who worked in fields ranging from music to performance to the visual arts. Taking their name from the Latin 'to flow,' Fluxus artists adopted an often anarchic and satirical approach to conventional forms of art, and their ideas paved the way for Conceptual art. Performance Art. Performance is a genre in which art is presented "live," usually by the artist but sometimes with collaborators or performers.

It has had a role in avant-garde art throughout the twentieth century, playing an important part in anarchic movements such as Futurism and Dada. It particularly flourished in the s, when Performance artists became preoccupied with the body, but it continues to be an important aspect of art practice. Body Art. Many Performance artists used their bodies as the subjects, and the objects of their art and thereby expressed their distinctive views in the newly liberated social, political, and sexual climate of the s.

From different actions involving the body, to acts of physical endurance, tattoos, and even extreme forms of bodily mutilation are all included in the loose movement of Body art. Related Movements. Did we succeed in explaining the art to you? If Yes , please tell others about us:. Wood chair, animal fat - Estate of Joseph Beuys. Grand piano, felt - Georges Pompidou Center, Paris. Anselm Kiefer Anselm Kiefer is a German painter and sculptor, and was a pioneer of the late-twentieth-century movement Neo-Expressionism.