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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? Gothic conventions consist of writing that would scare and excite the reader. Gothic writing was popular during the late 18th, early 19th century. Gothic features include supernatural forces, medieval castles, dungeons and darkness. The type of language is very melodramatic in its style of stereotyped characters. Gothic characters typically include spectres, monsters, demons, corpses, skeletons, evil aristocrats, vampires and Dracula. A Goth is one of a German tribe who invaded Eastern and Western Europe. They are normally barbarous, foul and uncouth. Gothic conventions usually involve journeys, quests, strange creatures and sinister buildings. Gothic novels are created to frighten their readers. In Gothic productions imagination and emotional effects exceed reason. Dracula was first published in 1897, other versions have adapted from the original. The main characters in Dracula include Jonathan Harker, Mina and Van Helsing. Throughout the story, Bram Stoker uses Dracula's abilities, actions and appearance to create suspense for the reader. ...read more.

Middle

A very descriptive view of the Slovaks, gives the reader a clear understanding of what Harker saw during the journey. When Jonathan Harker arrives at his destination he is greeted curiously by the innkeeper, 'He and his wife, the old lady who received me, looked at each other in a frightened sort of way'. Harker discovers the innkeeper has an odd relationship with Dracula, 'When I asked him if he knew Count Dracula, and could tell me anything of his castle, both he and his wife crossed themselves, and, saying that they knew nothing at all, simply refused to speak further. This creates suspense for the reader by implying the innkeeper knew Dracula but was frightened to admit it as he may not be allowed to or may know something secreted. Later in the novel, Bram Stoker describes Dracula's abilities to create suspense as they are beyond nature. 'This vampire which is amongst us is of himself so strong in person as twenty men', this specifies how strong and threatening Dracula can be. ...read more.

Conclusion

Bram Stoker sets the scene for Dracula's crypt by using 'dark' language to explain the atmosphere, 'the whole place was thick with dust' gives the sense that the place is old and has been isolated for a long time. 'The floor seemed inches deep' explains the extent of how long the place has been remote. 'The walls were fluffy and heavy dust, and in the corners were masses of spiders' webs, whereon the dust had gathered till they looked like old tattered rags as the weight had torn them partly down', Bram Stoker uses very descriptive language to illustrate the atmosphere, Stoker uses similes to make the image more clear to the reader consequently creating a more mysterious understanding. Bram Stoker creates tense situations which cause the reader to feel to feel insecure. He creates tense situations by using descriptive language to express the atmosphere. The language he uses involves elements of mysterious and creepy surroundings, 'through these frowning walls and dark window openings it was not likely that my voice could penetrate'. The reader shares a sense of fear with Jonathan because Stoker uses the first person narration to make the reader feel involved. DINESH PATEL ENGLISH COURSEWORK ...read more.

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