The Bloody Chamber

Roses Symbol Icon
Roses appear in most of the stories of The Bloody Chamber, and they generally symbolize the female heroine of each tale. The rose is a traditional romantic image, a symbol of female purity and the vagina, and the repetitive use of the rose image reflects the book’s gothic tone and archetypal characters. The rose as a symbol of femininity becomes more complex in Carter’s stories, however, as it initially acts as a sign of virginity and purity – Beauty’s father picks a white rose for her in “The Courtship of Mr Lyon” – but the very act of “symbolizing” then becomes a symbol of objectification. When the women of the book are objectified by male power and sexual oppression, they have no more agency than a beautiful but powerless rose. In “The Tiger’s Bride” and “The Snow Child,” however, the thorns of the rose prick the heroine’s finger. This shows the suffering brought about by being objectified (usually through sexual violence), but it also implies some agency in the heroines themselves. They are symbolized by the pure, beautiful rose, but they also have thorns and can “bite.”

Roses Quotes in The Bloody Chamber

The The Bloody Chamber quotes below all refer to the symbol of Roses. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Sexuality and Violence Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Books edition of The Bloody Chamber published in 1990.
The Tiger’s Bride Quotes

And The Beast gave me the rose from his own impeccable if outmoded buttonhole when he arrived, the valet brushing the snow off his black cloak. This white rose, unnatural, out of season, that now my nervous fingers ripped, petal by petal, apart as my father magnificently concluded the career he had made of catastrophe.

Related Characters: Heroine (The Tiger's Bride) (speaker), The Beast (The Tiger's Bride)
Related Symbols: Roses
Page Number: 52-53
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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The Lady of the House of Love Quotes

She is not sleeping.
In death, she looked far older, less beautiful and so, for the first time, fully human.
I will vanish in the morning light; I was only an invention of darkness. And I leave you as a souvenir the dark, fanged rose I plucked from between my thighs, like a flower laid on a grave. On a grave.

Related Characters: The Countess (The Lady of the House of Love) (speaker), The Countess (The Lady of the House of Love)
Related Symbols: Roses
Page Number: 107
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Roses Symbol Timeline in The Bloody Chamber

The timeline below shows where the symbol Roses appears in The Bloody Chamber. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Courtship of Mr Lyon
Virginity Theme Icon
...He doesn’t even have enough money to pay for gas or to buy a white rose for Beauty, the one gift she had requested. (full context)
Virginity Theme Icon
Power and Objectification Theme Icon
The father begs the Beast’s forgiveness, saying the rose was for his daughter, and he shows the Beast a picture of Beauty. Observing Beauty’s... (full context)
Virginity Theme Icon
Power and Objectification Theme Icon
...starts to seem like a magical place in another life. Beauty sometimes sends him white roses, but because the seasons never seem to change in London she doesn’t notice that winter... (full context)
The Tiger’s Bride
Virginity Theme Icon
Metamorphosis Theme Icon
Power and Objectification Theme Icon
...her past – she was born on Christmas day, and her nurse called her “Christmas rose.” Her mother died when she was young, exhausted of her husband’s gambling and womanizing. Back... (full context)
Virginity Theme Icon
Metamorphosis Theme Icon
Power and Objectification Theme Icon
...flee with them to “the kingdom of horses.” Her father cries and asks for a rose to show that she has forgiven him. The heroine gives him a rose, but she... (full context)
The Snow Child
Sexuality and Violence Theme Icon
Virginity Theme Icon
Metamorphosis Theme Icon
Power and Objectification Theme Icon
...girl’s feet. Now the Countess is naked and the girl clothed. They come to a rosebush and the Countess tells the girl to pick her a rose, and the Count agrees.... (full context)
Sexuality and Violence Theme Icon
Virginity Theme Icon
Metamorphosis Theme Icon
Power and Objectification Theme Icon
...he is done she melts and returns to a bloodstain, a raven’s feather, and the rose. The clothes return to the Countess. The Count hands the rose to the Countess, but... (full context)
The Lady of the House of Love
Sexuality and Violence Theme Icon
Virginity Theme Icon
...follow her. As he leaves the village he is overcome by the strong scent of roses. They are everywhere, and “obscene in their excess.” (full context)
Sexuality and Violence Theme Icon
Virginity Theme Icon
Metamorphosis Theme Icon
Power and Objectification Theme Icon
...he will bleed on her “inverted marriage bed.” Then he will be buried under her roses, feeding their rich color and scent. (full context)
Sexuality and Violence Theme Icon
Virginity Theme Icon
Metamorphosis Theme Icon
...sitting dead at her table, slumped over the Tarot cards. She is holding a last rose for him, and he takes it. The governess then appears and sends the young man... (full context)
Sexuality and Violence Theme Icon
...join his regiment and he leaves Romania. Later he discovers he still has the Countess’s rose in his jacket, and that it isn’t dead yet. Remembering the girl’s “unexpected and pathetic”... (full context)