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ferrisbear
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Here's a section from an essay I wrote on 'The Bloody Chamber' by Angela Carter. I'd really appreciate some feedback :^)

I'm predicted an A*, but I've only just started A levels so it's still based on my GCSEs (I got a 9). My teacher has told me that I write my paragraphs too long, I try to fit too much into each essay and I'm not concise enough. I tried specifically to be more concise in this practice section!

The question was 'How far do you agree with the idea that 'The Bloody Chamber' shows humanity at its worst?'

Angela Carter's collection of short stories 'The Bloody Chamber' includes discussion of a number of taboo subjects, such as masochism, necrophilia, and so on, very swiftly putting the reader under the impression that the very worst of humanity is presented within the tales. However, I take the stance that Carter includes these details specifically in order to allow the best parts of human kind to overshadow the bad, providing both hope for humanity's salvation and motivation in the reader to amplify the 'good' even further.

The eponymous short story 'The Bloody Chamber' within the collection exemplifies this idea of positivity outshining negativity most distinctly. Masochism plays a significant role in the story, potentially serving as the drive for the sequence of events that take place, and characterised by the Marquis: "'Decapitation' he whispered, almost voluptuously." The way in which his character is described with "bare red lips", suggesting constant arousal, that are at one point "cracked side-long in a smile", the adjective "cracked" alluding to harshness and discomfort, even further amplifies the dislikable nature that "disgusted" the protagonist. Yet such an unpleasant character allows any form of opposition to contrast in a more noticeable way. The most obvious example of this occurring is through Jean-Yves' introduction, a male character willing to appreciate the protagonist as a person and not an object - "I'd never heard such a touch. Such technique." - and whose "tender look" makes her faint. The drastic difference between the protagonist's two 'love interests' represents the two ends of humanity's moral spectrum. Yet alongside this, Carter pinpoints a clear source of this difference - Jean-Yves' blindness prevents his possession of the 'male gaze', which the Marquis' concerning attitude heavily relies on: "...examined her, limb by limb." By identifying a cause of what allows humanity to teach such levels of unpleasantness, we are also provided with the opportunity to act on eradicating it. In this way, I think it seems unjust to claim that 'The Bloody Chamber' merely "shows humanity at its worst"; it shows it to us at its best just as significantly.
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TSR Jessica
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Sorry you've not had any responses about this. Are you sure you've posted in the right place? Here's a link to our subject forum which should help get you more responses if you post there.
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ageshallnot
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(Original post by ferrisbear)
Here's a section from an essay I wrote on 'The Bloody Chamber' by Angela Carter. I'd really appreciate some feedback :^)

I'm predicted an A*, but I've only just started A levels so it's still based on my GCSEs (I got a 9). My teacher has told me that I write my paragraphs too long, I try to fit too much into each essay and I'm not concise enough. I tried specifically to be more concise in this practice section!

The question was 'How far do you agree with the idea that 'The Bloody Chamber' shows humanity at its worst?'

Angela Carter's collection of short stories 'The Bloody Chamber' includes discussion of a number of taboo subjects, such as masochism, necrophilia, and so on, very swiftly putting the reader under the impression that the very worst of humanity is presented within the tales. However, I take the stance that Carter includes these details specifically in order to allow the best parts of human kind to overshadow the bad, providing both hope for humanity's salvation and motivation in the reader to amplify the 'good' even further.

The eponymous short story 'The Bloody Chamber' within the collection exemplifies this idea of positivity outshining negativity most distinctly. Masochism plays a significant role in the story, potentially serving as the drive for the sequence of events that take place, and characterised by the Marquis: "'Decapitation' he whispered, almost voluptuously." The way in which his character is described with "bare red lips", suggesting constant arousal, that are at one point "cracked side-long in a smile", the adjective "cracked" alluding to harshness and discomfort, even further amplifies the dislikable nature that "disgusted" the protagonist. Yet such an unpleasant character allows any form of opposition to contrast in a more noticeable way. The most obvious example of this occurring is through Jean-Yves' introduction, a male character willing to appreciate the protagonist as a person and not an object - "I'd never heard such a touch. Such technique." - and whose "tender look" makes her faint. The drastic difference between the protagonist's two 'love interests' represents the two ends of humanity's moral spectrum. Yet alongside this, Carter pinpoints a clear source of this difference - Jean-Yves' blindness prevents his possession of the 'male gaze', which the Marquis' concerning attitude heavily relies on: "...examined her, limb by limb." By identifying a cause of what allows humanity to teach such levels of unpleasantness, we are also provided with the opportunity to act on eradicating it. In this way, I think it seems unjust to claim that 'The Bloody Chamber' merely "shows humanity at its worst"; it shows it to us at its best just as significantly.
Many if your sentences are too long and complex. Try reading them aloud.

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crocodile_ears
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I think your using too many quotes and not analysing them enough. It'll be easier for you to use one really strong quote that you can just rip apart and analyse to death, then your paragraphs will have much more focus.

For example, you could take the quote "bare red lips cracked side-long in a smile" and take all the writing techniques from it. So you could talk about the adjective 'bare' suggesting arousal, and also how the word is somewhat crude and vulnerable. Then you could talk about the verb 'cracked' and the effect the use of onomatopoeia, and then how the imagery created with these words relates to your point.

I'd also explain what you mean by masochism and the male gaze. Remember that you need to explain any new ideas you introduce. I've always taken the advice that you should 'treat the examiner like they have no idea what you're talking about' with a grain of salt, but I think that idea does still stand, in that you need to show that you know what you're on about.

Apart from that, I think you're definitely on the right track. I think we've had the same problems in that we skip over the analysis and try to get to the deeper moral point of the writing. You make good points but you need to focus on really guiding the examiner through your thought process.
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ferrisbear
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#5
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Hi! Thank you for the responses, they're really helpful. I'll try to practice integrating these into my work, maybe I'll post some other essays later to reflect a little. Thanks again!
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