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Discuss the Influence of Gothic Fiction on two Works - Emphasise the Features which you take to be Characteristic of the Genre, and say how these Features are used.

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Hannah Froy 10th July 2001 Discuss the Influence of Gothic Fiction on two Works. Emphasise the Features which you take to be Characteristic of the Genre, and say how these Features are used. Before defining Gothic Fiction through the chosen texts, it is interesting to see how 'Gothic Fiction' is described by different sources: In The Collins English Dictionary the subject is interpreted as: 'Of or relating to a literary style characterized by gloom, the grotesque, and the supernatural...' The Cambridge Guide To literature In English explains: 'The word 'Gothic' has come to mean 'wild', 'barbarous' and 'crude'...' The Penguin Dictionary of literary Terms states: 'The... 18th century and... 19th century are marked by quite important changes in the ways people thought and felt about the metaphysical and the preternatural...' There is no doubt that the Gothic obsession has had a huge influence on English literature since it arose in the late 18th century. In this essay I am going to look at two pieces of literature that show characteristics of the genre and have obviously been affected by the Gothic period. H G Wells, an English novelist, short story writer and popular historian wrote The Red Room in 1896. This short story was written for a magazine and was therefore aimed at the average reader; designed to be popular with the general public. ...read more.


The real drama in the story begins when the candles go out, leaving him in the dark, alone. After his nightmarish experiences, the character comes back to reality: 'I opened my eyes in daylight.' It is like the light has saved him. He is safe now he is no longer in the dark on his own. In the last paragraph Wells begins to break the mould of Gothic fiction. The fear moves beyond the dark and ghosts so that even the daytime is no longer a safe haven: ~...even in the daytime... [there is'] black fear...' In trying to break the mould, it could be said that Wells almost overuses the macabre. There is a certain amount of death in the short story, however this element does not dominate. The man's 'predecessor', the 'young duke' died In The Room. The event is described as a 'vigil'. This has connotations with death and night-time. The atmosphere throughout is sombre. The man carries a gun that also makes the reader think of danger and death. Contrasting in style to The Red Room is I'm The King of The Castle. It is almost entirely based in desolate landscapes and sinister settings. Warings is described as an 'ugly' building: intimidating and imposing. ...read more.


He doesn't appear to have any friends near his house, but speaks about having lots at his school. He is trying to make himself less solitary. At Warings, Kingshaw becomes more isolated. He used to be content at school but at Warings he has no friends. As soon as he makes a friend, in Fielding, he is much happier. The two works achieve different results. This is because they were written in different periods of history and for different purposes. The Red Room was ,designed to scare people, which at the time I think it would have done. However, in modern times, it does not seem very frightening. Neither of the stories cover all of the Gothic elements but both use five or six ?? enough to make them appear Gothic. Personally I find I'm The King Of The Castle a more psychologically disturbing story. It is much more subtle and effective than The Red Room in its technical use of the Gothic elements. In The Red Room the Gothic features are used to scare, especially the supernatural. They may have been effective one hundred years ago when people were afraid of ghosts and ghouls, but in the modern day, it could be said that the power of human evil is more feared. The Gothic elements are used, more effectively in I'm The King of The Castle, to intensify the reader's emotions. ...read more.

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