Irony in Angela Carter’s The Magic Toyshop: The patriarchal order as a case in point

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The Magic Toyshop (1967) is Angela carter’s second novel which permitted her to win the John Llewellyn Rhys price. In her novel, Carter experiments with many Feminist postmodern techniques that deploy and, at the same time, ironically debunk the cultural, mythic and religious heritage, aiming to revisit the past with a critical goal. Her speculative and fictitious writing have made it possible for her to question the internalized bygone cultural traditions, through a critical angle. Though the instances of irony are numerous in the novel, carter has put a great emphasis on the comic revision of the male patriarchal order. The writer’s prior objective through evoking the male power is to parody and criticize it, rather than to sympathize with it. While it is accurately presented as a dominant force, patriarchal power is comically overturned in The Magic Toyshop.  One prominent male character is Uncle Philip, whose task is of a highest importance, since he personifies the figure through whom carter subverts the patriarchal order. Throughout the book, Uncle Philip is conveyed as a god-like character who suffocates both his wife; Aunt Margaret and his niece; Melanie.


His toyshop, where he fashions his puppets and determines their fate, stands as a model for his tight control and sadistic demeanor with his female relatives. His dominance over his toys reflects his oppression of his own females. The writer embarks by conveying the premises of patriarchy, only to ironically parody them. By the end of the novel, Aunt Margaret unbridles herself and ironically subverts her husband’s male hegemony by committing incest. The same character, on whom male power is exercised, evinces the non-existence of her oppressor.  Uncle Philip is depicted as a ridiculed, male character who fails to conceive his patriarchal role. His claimed patriarchal authority is defied and proved to be ironic.



Irony- patriarchal power- fairy tales- intertexts- gender stereotypes.

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