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

How does the writer create an atmosphere of fear and horror in the opening chapter of Dracula?

Extracts from this document...


How does the writer create an atmosphere of fear and horror in the opening chapter of Dracula? The novel of Dracula is written by Bram Stoker It was written in the early 19th century and at this time there was much mystery and suspicion surrounding such places as Transylvania where the book is set. The book's form is that it's written as a journal by the main character, Jonathon Harker. The fact that it's written as a journal makes the whole book seem more believable, and it's as though he's actually writing his experiences as they're happening, and his thoughts and feelings make it seem more personal and seem more realistic. The opening chapter begins with a na�ve traveller, not knowing a lot about where he is and where he is heading. This is shown in the book when Harker comments, " I was not able to light on any map or work giving the exact locality of the Castle of Dracula". This creates an atmosphere of fear as Harker knew as little about what was happening/going to happen as the reader, creating suspense and making the reader want to read on, as they want to know what will happen. Jonathon Harker seems uneasy very early on in the book. This is depicted in the book when he writes, "I did not sleep well, though my bed was comfortable enough, for I had all sorts of queer dreams". ...read more.


However, as they travel, Harker is beginning to describe the scenery differently and the writer is obviously beginning to describe some gothic horror landscapes. Examples of this are "great masses of greyness", "gloom of the trees". Words such as "gloom" and "great masses" emphasize the murkiness of the place. The writer uses simile's such as "ghost-like clouds" which gives the reader an image of a spooky looking skyline behind the hills, and as they are heading towards a castle, the whole book is increasingly becoming a typical gothic horror story; which keeps the reader in suspense. Stoker uses the image of Harker driving through forestry as it is a stereotypically scary and mysterious place where anything could happen. By setting the novel around an old castle images of horror can be created in a readers mind before he even reaches it, as it is generally a terrifying place to be, whether it be occupied or unoccupied. The mystery of a castle is a definite factor in this novel as we later find out that it has several secret passages and hidden staircases. As they are travelling steadily closer to the castle, the writer describes how the mountain range had "separated into two atmospheres, and that now we had got into the thunderous one" this creates terror for the reader as it seems as though they are heading towards danger. ...read more.


He continues to describe his reactions as "afraid to speak or move" which causes the reader to feel an atmosphere of fear as Harker feels unable to physically move or make a sound due to his apprehension. Here Stoker has exaggerated Harker's terror as his fear as grown throughout the chapter and now he has now become irrational; he has now lost his sensible manner which he had previously had in the chapter. When Harker finally reaches the castle the chapter has reached its highest point of suspense as they reach their destination. Its gothic horror as the castle turns out to be a "vast ruined castle" with "tall black windows came no ray of light, and whose broken battlements showed a jagged line against the moonlit sky". Stoker describes the vast ruined castle as rundown, and gives the reader anticipation as it obviously has a history, as it is battered and run down. By describing the windows as "tall black windows with no ray of light" Stoker has created an atmosphere of darkness, this is mirrored with Jonathon's darkening outlook as he realises what he has gotten himself into. This ends the chapter with a creepy picture in the readers mind. It creates an atmosphere of suspense and scariness, and the reader is urged to keep on. The build up of tension throughout the chapter gives the reader feelings of terror and horror. A typical gothic setting with good description of reactions, thoughts and feelings are well written and believable, and Bram Stoker successfully achieves to create an atmosphere of fear and horror. ...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. What boudaries does the vampire threaten? Discuss possible answers to this question with ...

    other vampires in the novel are female apart from the Count, because Dracula systematically creates "female surrogates who will enact his will and desire" (Craft, p. 109). This can be linked back to the boundary between the homoerotic and the heterosexual, as Dracula wants to vamp males, but it is disguised through a heterosexual lens.

  2. "The Gothic is concerned primarily with representing transgression and taboo, there is nothing more ...

    Freud discusses the literary double/doppelganger in his essay "The Uncanny" (Sage, 78). By extrapolating his ideas we can see that Romantic Gothic texts benefit amazingly from a psychoanalytic reading. It seems that the writers encapsulated in fiction what took science (viz.

  1. Look closely at Jonathan Harker’s journey to Dracula’s Castle. How does the director give ...

    He is wearing a cape with a large collar. His coat overlaps like armour or scales giving the audience the impression that the driver may not be human. A hand reaches out for Jonathan and the camera moves and focuses in on Jonathan.

  2. How does Bram Stoker use Gothic conventions to create an atmosphere of suspense and ...

    " He eat not as others. Even friend Jonathan, who lived with him for weeks, did never see him to eat, never!" This is very weird, as we all know because every living thing needs to consume something in order for its body to keep functioning and to stay alive.

  1. Dracula. How Does Bram Stoker Create an Atmosphere of Fear and Horror?

    Harker tells us that the mountains "Frown down upon us". He also adds that "There were dark, rolling clouds overhead" and "In the air, the leafy, oppressive sense of thunder", this is known as the pathetic fallacy. When "Dracula" started to get closer, "The horses began to heigh and snort

  2. Gothic Horror Stories

    I think Stoker did this well because his usual style is horror. This is a typical gothic horror plot because the good is killed by the evil. 'The Tell Tale Heart' is about a crazy man who kills an old man because he didn't like the old man's eye.

  1. How does Bram Stoker use Gothic conventions to create an atmosphere of suspense and ...

    As the first character writes about his personal experiences we find that proves to be very effective, in the way the writer is able to portray the gothic theme to the reader. The first example would be Jonathan's journey to Eastern Europe, 'The impression I had that we were leaving the West and entering the East'.

  2. Sexuality in Bram Stocker's Dracula Most critics agree that Dracula is, as much as ...

    owned at the time of their union.14 Marriage therefore began to seems less a relationship of patriarchal dominance and female dependence and more of involving reciprocal rights and duties between husband and wife. As a sign of the intensity of the fear of 'the New Woman', traditionalists frequently represented women in contradictory ways.

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