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Compare the treatment of the theme of fear in Gothic literature

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Introduction

Compare the treatment of the theme of fear in Gothic literature Fear is a distinctive characteristic of Gothic literature; there are many types of fear. The fear represented in The Red Room is terror, a fear of darkness and the unknown. In the story The Terrible Old Man the idea of 'the other' or 'the outsider' is used. In One Summer Night the type of fear represented in horror. The fear in the story The Red Room is terror, the main character is afraid of the darkness of the room and what may be in it. The characters of the old people at the beginning add to the tension by expressing their horror at the thought of the main character staying in the room "This night of all nights!" this shows that they are afraid of what is in the room and leads the reader to believe that there is something terrible in the room. ...read more.

Middle

In The Terrible Old Man, the type of fear used is 'the other', the fear of someone who is different and about who not a great deal is known. The old man is an outsider in his community "dwells all alone" this makes him mysterious and seem strange to the townspeople. The townspeople therefore, are scared of him and talk about him "say and think many a things" the speculation about the old man adds to his mysteriousness and makes people more afraid of him. In Frankenstein, the monster is also feared because he is different from others and is rejected by many people. The writer's use of language highlights how little is known about the old man "believed to have been" the word 'believed' shows that the people who talk about him know little about him and most of the gossip is just rumours heard from others. The writer also makes us feel kind of sorry for the old man "lonely, unpopular old fellow" this is because he is rejected by everyone and is always alone. ...read more.

Conclusion

In The Red Room, the writer uses lots of descriptive language to convey terror "lurking, living thing" this is the main character's feeling that there is something in the darkness, the word 'lurking' suggests he feels like there is another presence in the room, watching him. The writer personifies the darkness "returned, and crept up on me" this makes the situation scarier because it implies that there is something else there in the darkness. Whereas, in One Summer Night the writer uses descriptive language to highlight the horror of the men "inarticulate cries...fled in terror" this shows the shock the two men were in. The writer also uses the weather to reflect the events in the story, "a cracking shock of thunder" this is as Henry is revealed and it echoes the shock of seeing him sit up. In Terrible Old Man the writer uses language to get across how strange the old man is "gnarled...aged and neglected" these words are used to describe his house which makes him seem more mysterious and odd, as if the state of his house reflects the old man himself. ...read more.

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