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How does Bram Stoker use Gothic conventions to create an atmosphere of suspense and fear for the reader?

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Introduction

How does Bram Stoker use Gothic conventions to create an atmosphere of suspense and fear for the reader? Dracula is one of the most well-know novels, it was written by Abraham Stoker. At the time Dracula was released in 1897, people regarded it as being a romantic horror, with some elements of fantasy and also it was especially famous for it's gothic conventions. In modern times the term 'gothic' can be regarded as being barbarous, offensive and uncouth. Although many people may not regard it as being scary it is still associated with the 'unknown'. In the late 18th and early 19th century, gothic ways of living were very common in the Eastern part of Europe, especially in the medieval times. A convention can be described as a standard feature or an ingredient of a particular sort of writing and in Dracula Bram stoker uses many Gothic conventions to excite the reader. Bram Stoker uses many Gothic conventions throughout his novel in forms of journeys and quests, the use of diaries, letters and journals, sinister buildings and most importantly strange creatures. Stoker also relies heavily on the conventions of Gothic fiction, a genre that was extremely popular in the early nineteenth century. Gothic fiction traditionally includes elements such as gloomy castles, sublime landscapes, and innocent maidens threatened by indescribable evil. ...read more.

Middle

Gothic novels tend to feature strong supernatural elements juxtaposed with familiar backdrops: dark and stormy nights and ruined castles riddled with secret passages. Stoker echoes these conventions in this chapter, 'the cold and desolate mountain pass', and Harker's disorienting and threatening ride to Dracula's castle combine to create a mood of doom and dread. The description of the castle is where the gothic conventions are introduced; the writer uses adjectives such as 'hugeness' and 'cruelty' to describe the landscape as being almost human. The valley, the mountains and the castle are all 'great'; the crags are, 'jagged; slopes are 'sheer' and 'studded' these are classic descriptions used to describe the gothic element in the castle and surroundings. The writer creates a sort of a cold and neglected image in the reader's mind, when he describes the castle. 'The castle is grim and dark with frowning walls' This quote suggests that the atmosphere in the surrounding of the castle seem enclosed and very unfriendly, this is a prime example of personification used to create gothic conventions. When he describes these dark places, he creates dramatic situations, which make the reader feel insecure. Taken from the end of Chapter II, this passage exemplifies the dark and gloomy tone Stoker creates in the novel. ...read more.

Conclusion

became greenish-yellow by the contrast of his burning eyes' and 'the red scar on his forehead showed on his pallid skin like a palpitating wound'. These quotes are very effective, the writer has gone in to a lot of detail to describe his features, his burning eyes suggest that there is a great deal of evil inside him and also the simile to describe his wound creates a very vivid image in the readers mind. In conclusion, Bram Stoker's Dracula turned out to be a very exciting and fascinating novel. The plot was well structured and was very suspenseful. So basically we find out that Bram stoker uses gothic conventions at the right times to create a certain level of fear as well as suspense. One may argue that when Bram Stoker shows Gothic conventions throughout the novel, it determines the changes in familial and social structures taking place throughout the early eighteenth century. In his descriptions of the castle we find out that he uses many similes and personification to describe the atmosphere he generates. The book probed deeply into people's superstitions, fears, and beliefs of the supernatural, and how others are sceptic of them are sometimes proved wrong. In all, Dracula is a clever, exciting, and suspenseful novel that uses a ruthless villain to terrify you but forces you to read more. 1 Fahad Syed English GCSE Coursework 11.07 ...read more.

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