Betty Moss


This essay contends that Angela Carter’s wonder tale “Peter and the Wolf” participates in the aesthetic of the grotesque with its recounting of Peter’s encounters with his female cousin, who has been raised by wolves, and that the story inflects the grotesque in a specifically feminine and feminist way, maximizing its potential as an instrument of social and personal transformation. In Carter’s “Peter and the Wolf,” the female grotesque, as a representation of otherness or difference, profoundly confuses Peter, ultimately propelling him, and the story, into the potential of an other desire, a repudiation of his community’s value system. Preceding this discussion is a foundational account of relevant matters: Carter’s insistence on the need for re-visioning; her feminist position regarding desire and sexuality; her critical regard for the tale as genre; and an integration of Mikhail Bakhtin’s and Hélène Cixous’s theories.