The Bloody Chamber: Investigating and Adapting Bluebeard as a Feminist and Jamaican Fairytale
James, Olivia Alicia
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The thesis opens with an essay discussing the evolution of the fairy tale Bluebeard and its continued legacy in modern adaptations which diversify and racialize the commonly accepted fairy tale standards. Examining Helen Oyeyemi’s Mr. Fox and Renée Ahdieh’s The Wrath & the Dawn, the essay analyzes how modern authors use Bluebeard as a touchstone for exploring modern social codes and problems. The essay is followed by a 120-page novella offering a new Bluebeard retelling which reimagines the tale as a post- slavery story set in Jamaica with Black characters. The novella explores the legacy of slavery—its madness, violence, and trauma—on Winston, the male protagonist and wealthy landowner in the Bluebeard role, who marries Femi, a biracial servant on a neighboring plantation, who shares an inner strength equal to Winston’s.
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