• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Explore how both Susan Hill and H.G. Wells exploit the Gothic Horror genre for effect in The Woman In Black and The Red Room.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Explore how both Susan Hill and H.G. Wells exploit the Gothic Horror genre for effect in The Woman In Black and The Red Room As with all things, the gothic horror genre of literature did not begin at one definable point, but evolved gradually. Gothic horror evolved out of gothic fiction (as opposed to classical fiction, for example the novels of Jane Austen), before establishing itself as a genre in its own right. However, many literary scholars and critics would point to "The Castle of Otranto", written by Horace Walpole and first published in 1764, as the first true gothic horror novel, containing as it does many of the clich�s prevalent throughout the genre. Gothic horror novels are typified by their dark, lachrymose atmosphere of dread and fear. In fact, the key to gothic horror can be summed up in one word: tension. This is created by many devices, as well as having an evil force present working against the hero/heroine. The characters, locations and atmospheres created are designed to be threatening, even when nothing sinister is actually happening. Although the gothic horror genre didn't die out altogether, it certainly lost popularity. However, it has had a minor resurgence over the last decade. Susan Hill is one of the authors who has turned her hand to the gothic horror format, her short novel "The Woman In Black" being released in the late eighties. Susan Hill says she wrote The Woman In Black because she "had the urge... ...read more.

Middle

Both these stories have stereotypical narrators, probably because the writers aren't usually associated with the genre and were playing up to genre stereotypes. In The Woman In Black, Arthur Kipps explains that "I had the Londoner's sense of superiority in those days, the half-formed belief that countrymen... were more superstitious, more gullible, more slow-witted, unsophisticated and primitive than us cosmopolitans." In the Red Room, the narrator expresses shocking arrogance when he says "Eight-and-twenty years... I have lived, and never a ghost have I seen as yet." In fact, the narrator of this story seems to have a particular problem with old people, opining, "There is to my mind something inhuman in senility, something crouching and atavistic." The tendency for narrators in gothic horror stories to fit this stereotype is not a coincidence: there is a carefully calculated effect behind this casting. The arrogance and naivety compounds the alienation the character feels from the other people in the story, and discourages the narrator from taking their advice: another common aspect in gothic horror fiction is having older people in the story who are wiser and more experienced in matters of the supernatural. Naturally the narrator takes no notice of these potential allies, until later in the course of the plot. The other, even more important, effect of the personality traits prevalent in the narrator is how the character evolves. The character starts off in a state of sheltered security, but the events in the tale break these securities, leaving the character exposed and psychologically damaged. ...read more.

Conclusion

The narrator then dismisses these supposedly unfounded stories as idle superstitions, such as in The Woman In Black, when Arthur Kipps says he "dismissed the notion, putting his remarks down to some local tales and silliness which had grown out of all proportion, as such things will do in small, out-of-the-way communities." These hints and half-answers serve the purpose of building up the tension. Although not as palpable as, say, a moonlit graveyard, they do add to the background tension, and start to become more tangible when these rumours start to become reality. These stories may differ in many ways, but are so similar in others, that claims of plagiarism couldn't be too lightly dismissed. These two stories are particularly interesting because they were both written by authors who aren't normally associated with the genre, so they have explored the clich�s more than a seasoned horror writer might. But despite being so blatantly "influenced" by genre standards such as Henry James' The Turn Of The Screw and work of M.R. James, they remain gripping. This is because they appeal to our wish for escapism and a decent scare, a need that is pandered to by almost every work of fiction. This is the basis of horror writing - that the reader wants to be scared; if the reader approaches the story with the attitude of not wanting or expecting to be scared, he or she will not be affected by the story so much. However, gothic horror is still one of the most effective mediums for provoking fear, ensuring its enduring popularity. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Bram Stoker section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Bram Stoker essays

  1. Gothic Horror Stories

    'The Tell Tale Heart' is located in a house that is probably old as a lantern is used by the narrator, this creates a scary atmosphere like the 'Judges House' because you cant see in the dark and you don't know what is in the darkness so the reader imagines

  2. Dracula: a novel of fin de siècle fear?

    novel, despite her easy acquiescence to the suggestion that she should stay in bed whilst the men sought out the Count, and her latter role as wife and mother, and thus to some extent conforms to the stereotype of the New Woman as an independent, intellectual career seeker, although she herself scorns the more extreme examples of New Womanhood.

  1. What boudaries does the vampire threaten? Discuss possible answers to this question with ...

    inversion of natural order" (Craft, pp. 120-121). Clemens believes that the female vampires thirst for the blood of children indicates that they are connected with lower life forms. Arguing that such treatment of infants would not be seen in higher mammals, whom engage in an extended period of infant nurturing.

  2. 'No reader of 'The Woman in Black', can be left in doubt about its ...

    Other key Gothic novelists of this period that would also have contributed to this influence are Mary Shelly, the author of Frankenstein, which has had many film adaptations within the last century produced from it. And also Bram Stoker who wrote Dracula, which I think has an influence in 'The

  1. The Vampire is one of the most enduring figures in horror cinema.

    When Mina is infected, she attempts to use John's love for her to get him to work for her, to remove Van Helsing's crucifix.

  2. Gothic Subculture - Sinister or Harmless?

    style of clothing does not stand for their attraction to Satan but expresses a sense of despair, ascetic isolation and is the symbolization of inevitable death. The same meaning is vital for hair dyed black, specific make-up with black eye-shadow, lipstick and nail polish, and a chalky white face.

  1. 'Simple horror stories' How far is this true where the 'Woman In Black' and ...

    Supernatural elements in the novel, such as an eerie atmosphere; 'the world went dark around me', or the surreal idea of her 'presence' as the deaths occur are used to lead us to conclude that she goes as far as to kill his wife and son too.

  2. How Effective is the Tomb of Sarah as a piece of Gothic Horror?

    Harry's intelligence is also shown in his precautions taken in acquiring the Rector's help. He predicted that the Rector, obviously being a religious man, would not accept the idea of a Vampire and so took measures to break it to him in a way that would ensure his belief, "I

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work