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Discuss how the following stories from the gothic tradition create suspense and which is the more successful?

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Introduction

The short story is an ideal form for writers who want to create a sense of terror or horror. Discuss how the following stories from the gothic tradition create suspense and which is the more successful? The first gothic Novel was written by Horace Walpole and was called 'The Castle of Otrando.' It was written in 1764 and after this gothic literacy exploded and became very popular. The imaginative stories often lacked any real worth but were published world wide to satisfy the public. They were bought by a lot of young women. The excitement and fantasy of the stories added interest to the otherwise boring lives of these Victorian women. The main features of Gothic stories are ruined buildings and graveyards, a foreign setting, a solitary character, a persecuted heroine, mysterious disappearances and supernatural occurrences, insanity, sexuality, pathetic fallacy, exaggerating language, multiple narrators and a use of horror or horror. Stories usually contain quite a few of these but not all of them. These ideas were wild and exotic to the Victorian people. Many had never travelled abroad and insanity was a major fear during these times. Gothic short stories use horror or horror to frighten the audience and keep them reading. ...read more.

Middle

The man is also cunning as when she awakes and begins to scream he hides his insanity and instead lets the house believe it is she who is mad. The horror increases in the story as the mans insanity increases and he goes 'into the open fields... and laughed till the air resounded with my shouts.' The girl dies the next day and he pretends to mourn his loss even though he had killed her. The man becomes restless and he 'felt that before long my secret must be known.' The horror of what he will do next returns. This is increased as he describes his struggle as, 'I ground my teeth, and struck my feet upon the floor, and drove my nails into my hands. I kept it down.' When the man's brother-in-law visits him and he kills him, his secret is found out and the man is locked up in an asylum. The description of the 'grey cell where the sunlight seldom comes,' adds to the horror of the story as the place is described as a prison and many people would fear turning mad like this man and ending up in this horrible place. ...read more.

Conclusion

The final part of the story is set years ahead of the rest of the story and we are given the sense that Schalken never forgot Rose. Schalken has a vision about Rose and her husband and it again we feel there is something supernatural about the story. There are no explanations given for the disappearance or his vision and it lets you imagine what you think has happened. Both stories create tension and suspense. 'The Madman's manuscript,' creates horror and is more visual than 'Strange events in the life of Schalken the Painter,' but it is not successful in maintaining suspense. The story is very extravagant and it is difficult to sympathise with the characters. The suspense is built up in 'Strange events in the life of Schalken the Painter,' as it is mysterious with strange characters and Schalken, the hero with whom we can easily sympathise. The sense of something supernatural makes the story seem even more exotic and unrealistic and the use of terror makes the story more enjoyable, in my opinion, as you use your imagination to think about what has happened to the characters. For these reasons, I feel 'Strange events in the life of Schalken the Painter,' uses terror better than 'The Madman's manuscript.' ?? ?? ?? ?? Laura Abernethy 12U ...read more.

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