Original Research

Ritchie and Carter’s beauties and beasts

Monique Banks
Literator | Vol 43, No 1 | a1770 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v43i1.1770 | © 2022 Monique Banks | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 December 2020 | Published: 29 April 2022

About the author(s)

Monique Banks, Department of English and Comparative Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanity, University of Fort Hare, East London, South Africa


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Abstract

Anne Thackeray Ritchie and Angela Carter both recreated the classic tale Beauty and the Beast. This article analyses these recreated tales using the new historicist and feminist theories. The analysis allows for a discussion of how each tale conforms to and/or contrasts with expected gender roles. Thackeray and Carter reflect particular ideas about gender within their tales. Writing in the 19th and 20th centuries, respectively, the women published within particularly patriarchal social contexts – Ritchie slightly more so than Carter. The limiting social contexts allowed for minimal, if any, diversion from the status quo of expected gender behaviours. These social contexts impacted on the writers of these centuries and their texts. However, writers such as Thackeray and Carter did not simply accept the patriarchal expectations thrust upon men and women but actively commented against them within their tales. These women writers developed tales that were commentaries on the gender expectations of their social contexts. Although both of these centuries were saturated with patriarchal ideas encouraging particular rigid behaviours for men and women, Thackeray and Carter sought to recreate these limiting gender expectations through publishing dynamic tales. Each writer includes characters and relationships in their tales, which are alternatives to their societies’ patriarchal expectations of men and women. By creating new narratives into their Beauty and the Beast tales, these women writers both question and critique patriarchal rule and provide alternatives to it.

Keywords

Anne Thackeray Ritchie; Angela Carter; fairy tale remake; feminist fairy tales; new historicism; feminism; fairy tale gender roles; fairy tale character analysis

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