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Compare and Contrast The Use of Gothic Conventions From Pre-1914 and The Twentieth Century

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Compare and Contrast The Use of Gothic Conventions From Pre-1914 and The Twentieth Century By Gabriel Clark The word gothic is a noun and an adjective describing an era of fashion. This fashion can be seen through people in what they wear, buildings, writings, music and images. Gothic fashions are meant to shock and scare people into a state of insecurity, it does this by following certain "stock features" (rules it abides to). In this study I plan to concentrate on Bram Stoker's novel Dracula, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Daphne Du-Maurier's Rebecca, and The Woman In Black (author unknown). I will look at four certain "stock features" and find the similarities and differences between Dracula, Frankenstein (pre 1914), and Rebecca and The Woman In Black (the twentieth century). The features that I will be looking at are, buildings, quests and journeys, letters/diaries, and the use of the externals such as weather (pathetic fallacies). In all four of the gothic novels included in this study buildings play a big part. In Frankenstein and Dracula the main characters in each go to stay in huge, isolated buildings. In Dracula Jonathan Harker is working, as a solicitor and trying to move Dracula to London, and in Frankenstein Victor Frankenstein is creating his immortal monster in his rather overly huge student home. ...read more.


Journeys are crucial in gothic writing; the fact that the main character is away from his or her natural, recognisable surroundings can create worry. This is because in a strange place where you are a stranger to everyone and everyone is a stranger to you, you do not know who you can trust, this can cause worry and suspicion in the readers' and characters' mind. "Holding out his hand grasped mine with a strength that made me wince, an effect which was not lessened by the fact that it seemed as cold as ice-more like the hand of a dead than a living man-." This quote from Dracula shows that after his long and tiresome journey from London to Transylvania Mr Harker is weary and very aware. We see that in the film the castle is set high in a mountain (and that is the image created in our minds from the text) where it is obviously cold night, this would surely make Count Dracula's hands cold, especially as hands and feet are most sensitive to heat and cold. And so surely this statement by Jonathan Harker is unjust. In Frankenstein Victor his made the journey to university, where he begins to create his monster. In Rebecca the journey is somewhat different as it takes place in the heroin's head as a dream. ...read more.


In the twentieth century novels pathetic fallacies are used differently, in both Rebecca and The Woman in Black you will note as I have earlier explain that the buildings are described in great detail. The externals are used to set the scene, things like the shrubbery, hedgerows in Rebecca and the paths and the area surrounding the house in The Woman in Black, and although the weather is used in The Woman in Black it is not as important as the pre 1914 novels. So in pre 1914 novels the weather is used in the externals in a big way but in the twentieth century novels this has changed and the scenery itself had been used to set the mood. In conclusion I can say that Gothic writing has changed over the years but the stock-features have stayed very much the same. I believe that this change has taken place because people themselves have changed. It the early 1900 hundreds people would be shocked and disgusted by the mentioning of Satan or of sex but now these topics come up in many conversations. So gothic writers of today have had to adapt to this and alter their work. Also it is apparent that people have become more sophisticated in many ways so the writing of today has to be much deeper and much more descriptive. So although the conventions of gothic have remained very similar, the writing has changed in many ways. ...read more.

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