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

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Introduction

How does the writer create an atmosphere of fear and horror in the opening chapters of Dracula? One of the ways in which Stoker creates an atmosphere of fear and horror is through character. A young na�ve inexperienced traveller is going to meet a man known as the Count. He is travelling in the "horseshoe of the Carpathians" where every known superstition is gathered in "some sort of imaginative whirlpool". There is an irony in the fact that Jonathan is calm at the beginning of the novel yet he has no idea what is in store for him. As Jonathan gets closer to the Borgo Pass and the Count's castle, the more his nerves start to shake. He is also unsettled by the fact that his host from the hotel that he is staying at begs him not to leave. This reveals that the night that he is leaving is the night when "all the evil things in the world will have full sway" and leads Jonathan to feel very uneasy. The night before he had "had all sorts of queer dreams" of a dog howling. ...read more.

Middle

Stoker also personifies the wind as it "whistled" and "moaned". This hints that the wind is in distress or depressed. This thickens and brings down the mood and atmosphere of the night. This is also emphasised by the fact that it starts to snow and covers the land in "a white blanket". At the same time that the wind is described as carrying "the howling of the dogs" and this adds to a sense of eeriness. As Jonathan checks his watch it's a "few minutes before midnight". At midnight we often associate this time with evil and unseen happenings as it is pitch black at this time. In many ghost stories novelists try to create a terrifying suspense by saying "when the clock strikes twelve". All throughout the novel Stoker has created a gothic text- a text with supernatural or horrifying events-in a dark and demonic setting. It begins in a "vast ruined castle" which has all the right elemental features for it to be a gothic setting. Later on in the novel we find that the castle has "locked and bolted" rooms which imply secret rooms. ...read more.

Conclusion

If this isn't enough, the characters that love her the most have to see this vision of beauty turn into the most horrific monstrous vampire in which later they have to kill by cutting off her head. The ancient prophecy is connected to the castle and its inhabitants of how a Dracula had "beat the Turk on his own ground" and that they the "Dracula" bloods were amongst the leaders who won the "warlike days" All of these elemental factors help to generate an atmospheric concoction of fear and horror and is unquestionably a fine example of a gothic text. The metaphors and similes that Stoker uses conjure up powerful images. "grip of steel" is just one of the ways in which Stoker depicts the strength of Dracula. Another simile "as cold as ice", in the context of the novel makes you want to shiver. Generally Stoker uses gothic descriptive words "portent", "grief", "ominous", "melancholy" and "astonished" to describe many feelings and objects like when Mina is astonished when Miss Lucy Westenra has gone sleep walking. These small words have the effect of drawing the reader into his creation of an atmospheric gothic world of fear and horror. Yzzy Hill ...read more.

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