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In what ways could “The Red Room” and “The Old Nurses Story” be described as typical of the gothic tradition?

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In what ways could "The Red Room" and "The Old Nurses Story" be described as typical of the gothic tradition? You may refer to background reading To support your answer During the nineteenth century short stories written in the gothic tradition became extremely popular. The stories of vengeance, trickery, imprisonment and fear were conceived during the gothic era and are still read today with the power to enthral and chill their audience one hundred years on. All gothic stories are recognisable for they all incorporate numerous elements that are unique to the gothic tradition. Gothic novels rely on the atmosphere and setting to convey to the reader the tension between characters like in "The Old Nurses Story". The people were forbidden to talk about the organ and the being that played the disturbing melodies at night and during storms. The setting and the isolation of Furnivall manor enhanced the atmosphere and was created by Elizabeth Gaskell to make clear to her reader how defenceless and vulnerable the characters were if something were to go wrong. This is a brief description of how the atmosphere and setting is used in gothic novels and I will emphasise later on how Elizabeth Gaskell and H.G. ...read more.


Again Elizabeth Gaskell described the nurse's journey thoroughly describing every aspect. "We had left all signs of a town, or even a village, and were then inside the gates of a large wildlife park- with rocks, and the noise of running water, gnarled thorn-trees, old oaks all white and peeled with age." In the stories I have read I have noticed that the action usually takes place in and around an old castle or building, sometimes seemingly abandoned, sometimes occupied. The building is usually of large scale and contains secret passages, trap doors, secret rooms, dark or hidden staircases and possibly ruined sections. The castle may be near or connected to mountains, hills or caves, which lend their own haunting flavour with their vastness, claustrophobia and the unknown such as the mystery of the moors and hills in "The Old Nurses Story". The atmosphere of mystery and suspense is usually present in a gothic story; often the plot itself is based around mystery like "The Old Nurses Story" when the east wing is strictly out of bounds and when the picture of Miss Grace was mysteriously turned around as if to hide it. ...read more.


Edgar Allan Poe writes a lot like Bram Stoker, he may even have influenced Stoker's work. Stoker uses gothic imagery and bizarre characters in his various journals to add to the feeling of horror naturally inherent in a story about blood sucking vampires. The use of dark imagery, and brutal language adds to the gothic scenery. It is easy to see why Bram stoker's novel is the most widely read and most well known gothic novel of all time. Stoker's language is not as gothic as Edgar Allan Poe's because I found it easier to understand, and more straightforward. "The Old Nurses Story" also contains a sense of brutal imagery with the spectre child's gruesome end. The last pages were critical they drew together the deep and complex storyline making everything understandable. The "broad and mysterious light" was the phantom organ player, who murdered Miss Graces child, resulting in her leaving the manor all those years ago and trekking up the snowy fells to the holly bush which would be her final resting place. I personally thought the last pages of "The Old Nurses Story" were very good and provided a gruesome ending to a brilliant gothic novel. ...read more.

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