The Gothic Fortes Shared By Shelley And Poe

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Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Fall of the House of Usher”, are both excellent examples of Gothic literature and the elements which set this genre apart from others. Each author employs such Gothic elements as metonymy, mystery and suspense, and overwrought emotion to create pieces of writing that have affected the way we tell stories even to the present day.
 Metonymy is an element that affects the way the reader interprets the scene without knowing it. In Gothic literature, metonymy usually makes for much “doom and gloom.” Blowing winds, howls, moans, sighs, and eerie sounds are all entwined within Frankenstein, illustrating Shelley’s use of metonymy. All of these are used to subtly reference the overall air of darkness and horror apparent in the novel. In one instance, Victor is at the cemetery mourning the loss of his loved ones, and he remarks that “Everything was silent except the leaves of the trees, which were gently agitated by the wind; the night was nearly dark, and the scene would have been a solemn and affecting even to an uninterested observer” (Shelley 193). Victor would also have nightmares about the monster suffocating him and he would hear “groans and cries” ring in his ears. The metonyms add a parallel between the reader and the story by using commonly creepy circumstances to expedite the preexisting airs. In Poe’s “Fall of the House of Usher”, Roderick informs his friend that Madeline had mysteriously died. Seven or eight nights later, a storm hits the castle, and neither the narrator nor Usher could sleep. Weird, hair-raising occurrences start to happen as noises come from a remote area of the mansion. Before the narrator knows what is happening, the departed Madeline is standing at the door. Madeline stays at the door for a moment and then enters the room, killing her brother. The storm in Poe’s story acts
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