A critical response to the following question: “The gothic tradition that began with the castle of Otranto reflects our fears and insecurities and thus continues to be appropriated into a range of cultures and contexts”. Nick Kavo
A critical response to the following question: “The gothic tradition that began with the castle of Otranto reflects our fears and insecurities and thus continues to be appropriated into a range of cultures and contexts”. Assessment task 4: Gothic Fears and Insecurities
Assessment task 4: Gothic Fears and Insecurities
The Intertexuality Gothicism has is much like a vacuum, when it is appropriated, it sucks upon the key idea’s, factors and elements of its past (originating from “the castle of Otranto”) and explodes it onto its own story plot to feed and augment itself. Although the sharing of key ideas is evident in most literary genres, Gothic Intertexuality is quite different to those of others as it subverts and perverts itself all in a hope of overthrowing questioning and undermining its significance to its culture of the day in which it is created.
Another individual factor of its intertextuality is the perverse nature of Gothicism to reflect human Fears and Insecurities. Some would say that it is human nature to be fascinated with terror. The sheer unaltered fear one can feel brings an exalted, intrigued adrenalin rush, which draws us back for more with additional fascination as to why we enjoy being in the presence of fear, crushing social norms and shifting paradigms of the times in which they were created.
The Fears and Insecurities of the gothic tradition have stood the test of time through the appropriation into a range of cultures and contexts through originally “The castle of Otranto” by Horace Walpole and such texts as “fall of the house of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe, “Dracula” by Bram Stoker, “Van Helsing” Directed by Steven Sommers.
It is no secret that us humans are scared of difference. The anxiety felt when thoughts of the foreign or the fear of the other have been conjured has been a cruel torment for years in gothic literature, scaring us out of our wits as we reflect these differences that could occur in our everyday lives.
A leading example of this is the mob mentality reaction to the birth of “Frankenstein” in Steven Sommers “Van Helsing”. In this scene he depicts Frankenstein as what the mob were describing as a “Monster”, a manifestation of evil. Although this is in comparison to what Dr Frankenstein describes “the monster” as “a triumph of science over god”. He may be a being of the supernatural perhaps, as God did not create it. Later in the film however we find this not to be the case as he has a soul evidenced by the aid he lends to Van Helsing.
This goes against the culture of the people of the time who were all Christian people abiding by the strong ruling of the Bible. They were fearful of science and what the crazy professors like Dr Frankenstein, who was an utmost representation of “the other” as he shared completely different views to that of the mob, in the ways of human progress and science. This experiment made them excruciatingly angry as it was disproving all that they believed in the Bible. In turn this created insecurities in themselves that this creation would go against God’s will and could encourage a wrath of God, as he is to be the only creator and master of life. The fear created by the mob is exaggerated to the point, that a chronic feeling of apprehension and premonition, about the impending disaster that is about to hit, consumes the people who share these views.
This fear is much reflected in contexts that we still see in cultures today, especially in heavily Muslim countries were extremists take the meanings from their book of worship and tremendously misinterpret what the first meaning was. The recent attacks from Islam extremist group “Al-Qaeda” are a perfect example of a group scared of doing wrong...
...Oates short stories usually follow young characters through their struggles in life. There are many family imperfections in Oates stories that mostly tend to have a disturbing image in the readers head. While it seemed that Joyce Carol Oates experienced dark childhood experiences, she seems to explore her thoughts according to similar events that had happened in her life. Written by Joyce Carol Oates, “Spider Boy” is an example that highly defines gothic horror. Many of her works deal with violence, rape, death, or a character that has gone completely mad. “Naked” has many dark and nightmare like scenes, Oates writes on how a normal day can be your worst; it is that Oates puts a woman in a scene that would be worse than an average nightmare by stripping the character of who they were. Joyce Carol Oates tests our minds by infusing strange actions within her stories that trigger psychological awareness in the human mind.
“Spider Boy” is another well-written story by Joyce Carol Oates that underlines gothic horror, by giving a scenario of a young boy luring his father’s victims, so that his father rapes and then kills the victims. The short story has characters that seem to be insane. First, we have a pedophile father that takes advantage of smaller teens; he uses his son Philip to do so by interacting with them and them reeling them in as the father uses friendly words and gestures to trap the victim. The mother seems to be happy to be married...
... Gothic literature is one of the most gruesome type of literature that exists in the world. Anything that falls into gothic literature explores taboo subjects such as murder, suicide, lost loves, haunting settings and grotesque characters. Stories or poems that are classified as Gothic Literature are put into that category because their dark and mysterious nature is actually designed to appeal to the trepidation and alarm in the reader. We see that clearly in William Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily", Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell Tale Heart", and Sylvia Plath's "Daddy". It is easy to categorize these poems as gothic literature because of their haunting natures.
Poe's "The Tell Tale Heart" is literally the definition of Gothic literature. If we look at the other elements, such as the murder, and the grotesque character; we see the gothic element. We can see by this line, "...black as pitch with the thick darkness..." (Poe 41-46), that the poem set in a really dark and dreary house. Although the house is dark and dreary, we know that this area is in fact in an urban neighborhood. We know this because the speaker states that a neighbor had called the police when they heard a suspicious sound. Poe does a fine job at describing just enough of the setting to leave the rest to the audience’s wild imaginations. We would probably imagine the most frightening house in the most...
...Dictation by Fear
As the Twin Towers fell to the ground, mass chaos spread throughout the United States. Among many other overwhelming feelings, many Americans were left in question and accusations. The motives of the terrorists were unknown and many Americans’ fear overtook a sense of logic. With fear fueling the minds of many Americans, many began to take illogical and unjustified actions. A stereotype developed amongst the Muslim society, which has still shrugged them from American society to this day. 9/11 instilled a fear in Americans that strung a chord in each person that disregarded a sense of logic or morals. Arthur Miller sets a scene of mass chaos and paranoia in the 1600’s in an area much like Salem, Mass.. A fear of witchcraft, that could quite possibly overtake the holy lifestyle in the Puritan society, created a spiraling downfall. In Arthur Millers multithematic play “The Crucible”, fear directs the decisions and course of life.
The deep rooted fear Reverend Parris feels stems from the reputation he must uphold as reverend of the holy community. In desperation, Parris allows his fear to contradict himself as he defends his niece, Abigail. Although Parris knows that Abigail is lying when she says she is not involved in witchcraft, Parris defends her in hopes it will secure his reputation and position in the community. As reverend, it is not...
As the instructor put me in that choke hold on my second to last day of swim instruction I knew I broke the one rule I tried so hard not to. “Get the hell out of my pool” he yelled. I dangled there in the middle of the pool wondering how this man could hold me in a chokehold while keeping both of us afloat. “You weak bitch, get the fuck out of my pool”. As those words echoed through the empty olympic sized pool room I was let go, left to reach the side of the deep end under my own power.
Already a month and a half in Marine Corps boot camp I was use to the abuse. This was different, I could handle all the physical punishment on the land. The countless push ups, and being forced to roll around in sand pits at 5 am before breakfast. Being in the best shape of my life at the time there was only one thing that could bring this fear over me. Up until boot camp I could count my exposure to bodies of water on one hand. Growing up in the middle of Queens, NY I rarely encountered a pool. Although my family moved to upstate New York, to a high school that did have its own pool, I wasn't forced to use it.
At the end of my senior year of high school while most of my friends were visiting and picking colleges I was preparing for boot camp. Everyday I ran countless miles and did numerous pushups getting my body ready for the three months of pain I was about to endure. Not being the biggest or strongest kid in high school most of my friends...
...1970. Choose a character from a novel or play of recognized literary merit and write an essay in which you (a) briefly describe the standards of the fictional society in which the character exists and (b) show how the character is affected by and responds to those standards. In your essay do not merely summarize the plot.
1974. Choose a work of literature written before 1900. Write an essay in which you present arguments for and against the work’s relevance for a person in 1974. Your own position should emerge in the course of your essay. You may refer to works of literature written after 1900 for the purpose of contrast or comparison.
1976. The conflict created when the will of an individual opposes the will of the majority is the recurring theme of many novels, plays, and essays. Select the work of an essayist who is in opposition to his or her society; or from a work of recognized literary merit, select a fictional character who is in opposition to his or her society. In a critical essay, analyze the conflict and discuss the moral and ethical implications for both the individual and the society. Do not summarize the plot or action of the work you choose.
1987. Some novels and plays seem to advocate changes in social or political attitudes or in traditions. Choose such a novel or play and note briefly the particular attitudes or traditions that the author apparently wishes to modify. Then analyze the techniques the author uses to influence the reader’s or audience’s...
Over the centuries, the American fascination for the grotesque and mysterious elements of Gothic literature never died off since its beginnings with Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto in 1764. The novel was a success; its creative usage of a remote and obscure setting, the supernatural and medieval motifs were found so attractive that its imitations began rapidly publishing across America. Very soon, the Gothic genre was an established classic. Even after undergoing through many changes such as evolved time periods and cultures, the major components and themes of horror, medieval settings and abnormal characters from the Gothic movement are still present among today’s novels and movies, has inspired new genres such as detective fiction, science fiction and the ghost story as well and offers moral and cultural criticism for today’s society.
Once admired for its daring originality, its use of the supernatural as well as motifs of medieval times, The Castle of Otranto would be criticized by today’s modern readers for lacking suspense and emphasis. Published 246 years after The Castle of Otranto, The House on Black Lake by Anastasia Blackwell, though a contemporary piece, shares gothic similarities with it, such as a woman in distress and an air of gloom, horror, mystery and suspense. It tells the story of Alexandra Brighton, who sets...
...The gothic style originated in Europe during the 12th to the 18th century. It applied to medieval styles of art and architecture, particularly buildings such as cathedrals and other churches. Gothic literature began in England with the novel the ‘Castle of Oranto’ by Horace Walpole. From this novel, gothic fiction developed and flourished, becoming a significant literary genre that inspired famous works such as Frankenstein, Dracula and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Gothic texts share the central theme of horror, and incorporate elements of romanticism to create a dark, mysterious atmosphere and evoke feelings of fear within the reader.
Gothic literature is, in essence, a genre which aims to create vivid moods and appeal to human emotions. It uses sensory language to create an atmosphere of foreboding and horror in order to create a feeling of terror. An important aspect of gothic texts is the heightened passion and sensibilities combined with an element of melodrama, a characteristic of the genre which renders it susceptible to parody and satire. The setting and characters are pivotal features in gothic literature and are used to reinforce the gothic theme whilst building suspense and intriguing the reader.
The setting of gothic literature is a stereotype perpetuated within all texts of the genre. A typical gothic tale...
...The ‘Gothic’ elements in Frankenstein
One of the first novels to be recognized as a Gothic novel was Horace Walpole's Castle of Otranto (1765). This text as well as others such as Matthew Lewis’ The Monk (1796) was seen as being linked with what were traditionally considered Gothic traits: the emphasis on fear and terror, the presence of the supernatural, the placement of events within a distant time and unfamiliar setting, and the use of highly stereotyped characters/villains/fallen hero/ tragic heroines, etc.
Gothic writers, like Shelley, were interested in pushing the boundaries, in the exploration of what is forbidden, in desires that should neither be spoken of nor acted upon. In her 1831 introduction, Shelley stated her wish to "curdle the blood, and quicken the beatings of the heart"1 of the readers. If we read Frankenstein as a Gothic novel, we can suggest that what Victor does and what he creates are unnatural. He goes too far, breaks the laws of nature, crosses forbidden precincts, and what he unleashes, within himself and in society, disruption and destruction. This becomes the first of many signals to the reader that Frankenstein should be placed in the genre of the Gothic. However, Gothic genre covers a wide variety of texts and is difficult to define.
Gothic is a style of fiction characterized by the use of deserted, desolate or...