Overtime, the novel has become synonymous with gothic literature. “Frankenstein revolutionized the genres of gothic literature … and horror stories” (Mazzeno). Frankenstein exemplifies powerful Gothic elements such as: environment and weather reflecting emotions, a sense of mystery and suspense, supernatural or otherwise inexplicable events, and an unreliable narrator. One of the most iconic and crucial elements of gothic writing in Frankenstein is the way in which Victor’s environment reflects the dark and lonely emotions he experiences throughout his tragic journey. The use of this literary technique first shows when Victor becomes enthralled in his attempt to create a living being.
In Gothic literature, the setting often plays an important role in the development of the plot and characters of the story. It is commonly characterized by having an atmosphere filled with suspense, terror, darkness and mystery. The setting is not only characterized by the physical location, but also by the social or psychological state of the characters. The personalities of the characters are usually strange or fearful, and this if reflected in the atmosphere of the story. One popular technique writers of Gothic fiction use to create such an atmosphere is to have story told through a madman or madwoman’s perspective.
How does Henry James create suspense in the prologue and the first five chapters? The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, although defying multiple gothic conventions, remains one of the most suspenseful and sinister tales of the Victorian era. The novella’s ambiguous nature effectively creates a suspenseful atmosphere. Immediately established within the prologue and the first five chapters of the novella is James’ varied use of structural and literary techniques that create and sustain suspense. Henry James is able to initially generate suspense within his novella from the title.
Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’ is another Gothic text in which the protagonist epitomizes the fears and anxieties of society, similarly reflected in the sketch. The protagonist, the interchangeable Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde both fears and scorns Christianity. The text however, is consistently scattered with religious and biblical allusions, both stated and assumed. Dr Jekyll believes that ‘man is not truly one, but truly two’ (p.84). Through the course of the novel, Jekyll tries to separate the two sides of his personality but something goes wrong, instead of ‘coming forth an angel’ (p.89), Jekyll becomes the fiend Hyde.
Those feelings of sadness, anger, and loneliness that the narrator feels had started to gradually turn into madness as the days went by. In the end of the story everything goes wrong. The house of Usher falls and crumbles to the ground. The Fall of the House of Usher holds the tale, how one man struggles losing his loved ones from Tuberculosis and shows Gothicism. When the narrator is riding towards the house, he suddenly gets these feelings that he did not enjoy.
Don’t make no difference who the guy is, long’s he’s with you. I tell ya,’ he cried, ‘I tell ya a guy get’s too lonely an’ he gets sick” (69). Crooks’ illustrates that his lack of companionship manifests itself physically and emotionally. The only alleviation of these symptoms for Crooks occurs when he offers to work on Candy, George, and Lennie’s farm (Steinbeck 76). Similarly, Curley’s wife seeks out other people as a way to cope with her loneliness.
The Red Room and The Tell-Tale Heart are both gothic stories about men who at the beginning of story are very arrogant and sure of themselves, who find their views and their plans turned upside-down over the course of the story. In the Red Room, the main theme is that of the unknown lurking in the shadows and the things which you can and can’t see. The running theme in the Tell-Tale Heart is definitely madness. But both stories have the same themes of the supernatural, fear of the unknown and these themes are used to keep the tension and suspense running throughout the story. In these stories I think the settings are very familiar.
The O Word All obsessions, whether moderate or serious, are described by the persistent and disturbing pre-occupation with someone or something. Obsessions, on the rarest occasions, contain the slightest amount of humor, but they oftentimes become so serious that they cross the line of insanity. Such insanity displays itself quite clearly when presented in the case of Victorian gothic literature, specifically in The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde and The Turn of the Screw, by Henry James. In both of these literary works, the insane and obsessive tendencies of both of the protagonists causes them to encounter constant adversity, destruction, and unwanted conflict. In The Picture of Dorian Gray, the protagonist, Dorian Gray, becomes
A cadaverous of complexion; an eye large, liquid, and luminous beyond comparison.” This is gloomy because a cadaver looks similar to a dead person. Another example of Roderick’ gloominess is his excessive nervous agitation. This quote explains the example “I soon found this to arise from a series of feeble and futile struggles to overcome a habitual trepidancy - an excessive nervousness.” Gloom can be related to this by his dysfunction of the body which nobody would want to have. The man of the Usher bloodline is described as gloomy in this story. The last remaining woman of the house is Madeline Usher, who is on the verge of dying and inherits a considerable amount of gloom.
When he is first introduced in Act I- Scene 2, one sees Hamlet as a sensitive young prince who is mourning the death of his father, the King. In addition, his mother’s immediate marriage to his uncle has left him in even greater despair. Mixed in with this immense sense of grief, are obvious feelings of anger and frustration. The combination of these emotions leaves one feeling sympathetic to Hamlet; he becomes a very “human” character. One sees from the very beginning that he is a very complex and conflicted man, and that his tragedy has already begun.