• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Write a critical appreciation of Saki's Shredni Vashtar putting it in the context of your reading in the Gothic tradition.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Write a critical appreciation of Saki's Shredni Vashtar putting it in the context of your reading in the Gothic tradition. "Shredni Vashtar " (1910) is a story of relationships and escape. It is an example of "equivocal gothic", according to Montague Summers categorizations in his essay "The Gothic Quest: A history of the Gothic novel" (1938). The story is typical to the Gothic genre as it contains ideas of exploring the unconscious, and the idea of metaphorical constraints (like those of Conradin due to his illness and his controlling guardian) represented by physical and literal constraints (like that of Shredni Vashter). Conradin is a curious character, who's reality seems to drive him into his own imagination, as he feels happier in his own world than in the world of Mrs. De Ropp. Freud in his works spoke about two major principles, the "pleasure principle" which opposes the "reality principle". Conradin bases his life on the principle of escaping his reality in search of happiness and pleasure in his own world Perhaps Conradin's "masking" of his dislike for Mrs. ...read more.

Middle

This is interesting because Conradin associates Mrs. De Ropp with "respectability" as well as normal Christianity (as it says "The Woman indulged in religion") and so seeks anything but. This could be involving ideas of nature versus nurture, as Mrs. De Ropp's loveless, cold and domineering treatment of her cousin has resulted in his "loneliness" and his desire to be independent in his beliefs rather than to learn from his guardian as children are expected to. Conradin is ill, and has but a short time to live, this is typical to the Gothic genre as deterioration is important rather than progression. Mrs. De Ropp's "short-sighted eyes" which she uses to "peer at the boy" with may be used to show her lack of perception at the boys feelings towards her, and toward his own life, I believe this is important as it is repeated twice in the story in quick succession and I therefore believe that we as readers are supposed to pity Conradin. Her lack of knowledge may be used to speak out against societies and leaders rules, which are reflected by Mrs. De Ropp's. ...read more.

Conclusion

There are few characters with no dark aspects to them in this story, and it is hard to know which one to support. This is a clever technique as it replicates the confusion felt by Gothic characters in most stories. I believe that the escape of "Shredni Vashtar" is a possible representation of Conradin's own future, as the two parralel one another, and Shredni Vashtar is the doppelganger or dark double of Conradin. The doctor who analysed Conradin with an early death is said to be "effete" a term regarding a person who seeks money (which he surely would receive for the purchase of Conradin's "medicine") and lacks a sense of responsibility I can not help but be left with the feeling that the "short-sighted" Mrs. De Ropp and her doctor may be wrong about Conradin. Mrs. De Ropp refuses to accept his health as this way she could exert more power over him, and the doctor is simply greedy for money. Conradin is freed with Shredni Vashtar, and I believe he is freed to of his metaphorical illness posed by enlightenment figures. This brings in another important Gothic trope, which is the mocking of the enlightenment. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Other Authors section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Other Authors essays

  1. The Open Window by Saki - Literary appreciation

    The name Vera can be associated with verity which can be a contradiction in the story considering the fact that Vera lies and is dishonest throughout the passage. Framton is the laughing stock of this humorous event; he is made to look like a fool.

  2. Impressionism In Katherine Mansfield's "Prelude", "At The Bay" & "The Garden Party".

    her abrupt start to the story and her lack of introduction of the characters. Illusion and reality are central themes in the story; Laura is partly influenced by her social upbringing, and the upper-class pretension of exclusion of the working-class world.

  1. A Close Reading and Critical Discussion of a Passage Selected From Part I of ...

    The religious idea that when a person passes away their body turns to dust could also be apparent here, those held on the ward are dead on the inside. Kasey creates an atmosphere of repression and sadness in which patients would rather become invisible than face the consequences of being singled out by workers within the 'system'.

  2. I was delighted to realise that what the ghost story depended on more than ...

    important because we are then forced to realise that they are susceptible to harm. "I had never been quite so alone, nor felt quite so small and insignificant in a vast landscape before". Arthur sometimes tries to make the unheimlich seem heimlich for example in "Eel Marsh House" he takes up a domestic role (domestic literally meaning home in Latin)

  1. White Noise - De Lillo

    Soon the novel becomes a meditation on modern society's fear of death and its obsession with chemical cures as Gladney seeks to obtain a black market drug called Dylar, which is said to reduce the fear of death. Babette admits to taking Dylar, moved by her constant anxieties to answering a tabloid ad looking for volunteers for secret research.

  2. In her essay "Flight," Doris Lessing illustrates the story of an old man who ...

    In ?Flight?, the grandfather took control over the bird. He deliberately held out his wrist for the bird to take flight and then caught it again at the moment it spread its wings. ?Now you stay there,? he muttered. He does this because he has seen Alice meeting her boyfriend, he is trying to show control over the bird to demonstrate his control over her.

  1. The Death of Napoleon by Simon Leys, foresees the aftermath of Napoleon life if ...

    ?Hey, friend! Don?t go yet! Wait a minute!? Hopping on his crutch, he immediately gives chase. Napoleon has nearly reached the village when he finally catches up with him, grabbing him by his coat-tails in a last desperate lunge. * * * 2.

  2. To The Lighthouse - reading report

    In "The Lighthouse" section, time returned to the slow detail of shifting points of view, similar in style to "The Window." Mr. Ramsay declared that he, James and Cam, one of his daughters, would go for a journey to the lighthouse.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work