In the Tiger’s Bride, Carter produces a very feminist view of men’s apparent role in human relationships. She suggests to us that men live materialistic lives, and care more about possessions and social status than their partners. Carter also portrays the world that we read about, as very saturated with femininity in the way she often describes elements of the house, or emotions, with links to menstruation, or original sin. Finally, although Beauty is at first, in repulse of the sheer masculine power of the beast, Carter slowly titrates the tone of beauty feelings towards sympathy and love for the animalistic master.
Angela Carter expresses an opinion of men in the tiger’s bride. She implies that men care more for their social status, and their material goods, than their relationships and loved-ones. “My father’s circumstances had changed already; well-shaven, neatly barbered, smart new clothes [… ] The beast had clearly paid cash on the nail for his glimpse of my bosom, and paid up promptly, as if it had not been a sight I might have died showing.
Then I saw my father’s trunks were packed, ready for departure. Could he so easily me here?”
Here, Carter expresses how both Beauty’s father, and the Beast, care more for satisfying their desires than for the dignity and safety of Beauty, “and paid promptly, as if it had not been a sight I might have died showing”. This explains that the Beast handled the deal (if Beauty showed herself naked to him, he would return everything, including her, to her father), as if it were an impersonal business exchange, where as, if he had truly cared for Beauty, he would have know that it was a very delicate, and sensitive piece of Beauty’s innocence that she feels has shattered, and she is humiliated.
“Then I saw that my father’s trunks were packed, ready for departure. Could he so easily leave me here? ” We are led to believe that her father up until now has been distraught at the loss of his daughter, that he weeps and cries constantly. However, here we see that all he really missed was his material possessions’, and once he’s regained them, along with his dignity, he’s happy to leave without his only daughter. Angela Carter uses similar instances throughout the book to re-iterate this point that men are amoral, and care more for what they can see, touch and be seen with, than their emotional bond to other people.
Throughout the story Angela Carter repeatedly describes and aspect of biological/ religious, femininity. “It was not natural for humankind to go naked, not since first we hid our loins with fig leaves”. This links to the story of The Garden of Eden, in the bible, when Eve eats a fruit from the forbidden tree she has the knowledge that she is actually naked. This is the original sin, the action that persuades God to turn humans immortal.
Its mention here is not only to explain the awkwardness that Beauty feels from being naked, but also that by returning to her naked form, and staying with the beast, rather than returning to her materialistic life, she is also regaining part of her immortality. However, Carter also compares Beauty’s discomfort at being naked, to having the skin flayed from her body, an incredibly strong image, which further shows the pain in which Beauty went to show the Beast her body originally. “The sables thereupon resolved themselves into a pack of black, squeaking rats that rattled immediately down the stairs”.
This again associates to the natural meaning of being naked. The fact that Beauty’s clothes are comparable to dirty, unwanted, rats that flee at the first chance they get. Throughout the last scene in the story, the tone titrates from one of disgust, pain and discomfort, to a more pleasurable, loving one. The section of story begins with descriptions from Beauty such as; “He had demanded the abominable. I felt as much atrocious pain as if I was stripping of my own underpelt”, “lacerating wind that raced along the corridors”.
These repeated referrals to the removal and ripping apart of skin, create a deep, very gothic image in the reader’s mind, but as the story goes on, Carter begins to use a more positive lexis to describe the feelings of Beauty. Although what is described as a disgusting, zoo-like room, Beauty’s feelings are of lust as well as love for the masculine dominance of the beast. “I, white, shaking, raw, approaching him as if offering, in myself, the key to a peaceable kingdom in which his appetite need not be my extinction. ”
This shows the trust that Beauty now has in the Beast, how she feels enough belief in his love for her, to offer herself to him, and be safe in the knowledge that he will not devour her, and that they will both be able to live in a paradise. Even when Beauty exclaims that “[The Beast] will lick the skin off me! ” it is not an exclamation of fright, disgust, or pain, but more like an orgasmic frisson at the utter power that the Beast has over her. The last sentence “My earrings turned back to water and trickled down my shoulders; I shrugged the drops off my beautiful fur. ”
Shows the change that Beauty has gone through within only this scene. Both physically and emotionally Beauty has reverted back to her natural form. She now feels beautifully, comfortable, both naked, and in the form of what she originally thought was a fearsome beast. Angela Carter uses role reversal from the basis of the fairy tale ‘Beauty and the Beast’ to put both characters within a comfortable state, where they can love each other, but in this versions, the Beauty, has learnt lessons of humility, and love from the masculine Beast.