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Consider the Influence of Gothic Fiction upon pre 20th century and 20th century texts

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Consider the Influence of Gothic Fiction upon pre 20th century and 20th century texts In this essay I aim to compare and discuss the influence of gothic elements in 'The Red Room' by H. G. Wells, 'Jane Eyre' by Charlotte Bronte and 'I'm the King of the Castle' by Susan Hill. Gothic fiction is a type of fiction that predominated in English literature in the last third of the 18th century and the first two decades of the 19th, the setting for which was usually a ruined gothic castle or abbey. The gothic novel emphasised mystery and horror and was filled with ghost haunted rooms, underground passages and secret stairways. The term Gothic is used to designate narrative prose or poetry of which the principal elements are violence, horror, and the supernatural. Jane Eyre, written in 1846, isn't a typical gothic novel, it is more subtle, which attracts the reader to Jane, she is mystifying, with deep feelings and emotions. Jane Eyre became the inspiration to many authors, including H. G. Wells and Susan Hill. After a difficult childhood as a 'precocious' and rebellious orphan, forced to accept and cope with the ill treatment and disgust of her aunt and cousins, Jane becomes an assertive, independent woman, who pursues her passions and finds her true love, Mr Rochester. As a child, she was eager to learn and explore the world, but her intelligence was frowned upon by her relatives in Gateshead Hall and she was locked away in the 'Red Room' as if she were a prisoner in her own house. ...read more.


This is closely linked to Jane's discrimination by her cousins as a child, John treated her with such brutality and hatred it was almost unbelievable a child's innocence could be so lacking. Hill had obviously studied children's behaviour and recognised the hidden potential of such evil conduct, like Bront? I'm the King of the Castle uses the contrast of the natural environment of fields, woods and the weather with the artificial presence of Warings to provide atmosphere and mystery. The setting affects and reflects the characters. The gloom of Warings acts as a physical parallel for the lives of the Hoopers, the yew trees, with their suggestion of death deepen the morbid atmosphere in Warings. The Red Room with dark wooden panelling and staircases, the attic full of dead and rotting things are all aspects of the setting which have such a disastrous affect on Kingshaw. The extensive use of the natural environment in the hang wood episode, provides a chance for Hill to reveal new aspects of both boys, create tension and add uncertainty to the plot. Like Bront? and Wells, one of Hills main cause for fear comes from the setting, Warings is a isolated and desolate 'ugly' house, a 'rather tall and badly angled' house 'built of dark red brick' separated from the village of Derne. The Red Room, like in Jane Eyre, has associations with death, this time of the dead and decaying moths in glass cabinets kept by Hooper's grandfather who is now also dead. ...read more.


He resents his fathers frequent absence and he becomes lonely in Warings, isolated from the outside world in a huge, unfamiliar, ominous house in the middle of nowhere without a mother or any true friends. In conclusion, Gothic fiction, past and present has influenced many authors including those I have studied, the more modern authors like Susan Hill, interpreted the gothic elements in her own way and has made them more relevant to the modern world. She has focused her story on the tale of two children, their upbringing and how events affect them and how they deal with mistreatment and isolation from their parents. Jane Eyre includes, in the first few chapters, a potent tale of the appalling nurture for a child and how she deals with it throughout her life. Both these authors simply use gothic elements to support their story and give interest and mystery to the reader. It is extremely effective, Susan Hill shocks the reader with Kingshaws death and gives food for thought, and enlightenment to how some people are forced to live. Bront? also shocks the reader with the abuse Jane receives as a child, which also is intolerable and moving. Wells is different however, The Red Room is a short story meant as a simple tale of the fright of one man, and Wells for a brief reading, allows the reader to follow his venture into the red room with the famous gothic elements which are so widely recognised. It isn't moving, it is effective but with no real poignancy, unlike Jane Eyre and I'm the King of the Castle. By Lauren Simpson ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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