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In which ways are the conventions of Gothic fiction shown in Mary Shelley 'Frankenstein' and Fredrick Cowles 'The Vampire Of Kaldenstein'?

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Introduction

Rebecca Aitchison In which ways are the conventions of Gothic fiction shown in Mary Shelley 'Frankenstein' and Fredrick Cowles 'The Vampire Of Kaldenstein'? Gothic fiction is just one of many genres in literacy. For a piece of writing to be classified as gothic fiction it must incorporate some of the conventions and styles that build up particular emotions and ambience for the reader. These conventions can be rendered into two very different opinions; the prevailing atmosphere consisting of night time adventures with full moons in rainy skies carrying flocks of bats, exaggerated psychopaths and pseudo-gothic-settings can be interpreted as cathartic and a light release to the tension created by the intricate plots. Conversely when this style of writing was first introduced in the Victorian era, it was a popular form of evening entertainment. To tell stories with the intention to frighten and shock was a new concept that evolved into a whole new approach on writing. The fear was drawn from the authors' descriptions of far away places where civilisation was scarce and withering characters venture into the unknown and supernatural. These feelings are portrayed using setting, characters and the paranormal of which Mary Shelley and Fredrick Cowles develop in their own way. The characters present in gothic fiction texts play a vital role in the effect on the reader. They put reality in the surreal setting, to find a content young man in the middle of a castle in a remote village of Germany with a vampire is not a everyday experience and so the thought that you could be that ordinary man, is frightful. ...read more.

Middle

This convention can also be seen in The Vampire Of Kaldenstein where the persistence of the narrator to meet the Count after constant warnings from local villagers is beyond adventurous and he begins to crave to know the truth 'there is a streak of obstinacy in my make-up' (part3). The most horrifying and shocking part of a Gothic fiction novel is often the appearance of the monster or super-natural being in the story. The descriptions of the monster can be quite upsetting, 'his yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath' (chap 5). From watching the film entitled 'Frankenstein' although the imagination is not allowed to run so freely the horror of reality is specifically emphasised. How they are repelled from society because of their hideousness makes you wonder if you would actually act that way if in the same situation. The vampire is excluded from the village with only the servant as company, and Frankenstein's monster runs away to the peace of the countryside to escape being confronted by the masses in the towns. In the Vampire of Kaldenstein the narrator is on holiday, a normal activity but when he gets lost and stumbles upon a strange village his personality starts to change from the shy, unsociable man that refused to go on a cruise ship alone to a intrepid explorer determine to know the truth the hard way. ...read more.

Conclusion

happens then it is more likely that you would dismiss it as a dream and perhaps a small token would be left as evidence it was real, however if a lot of people all witness a paranormal experience then it would be thought a convincing trick or illusion, and all the people would come up with their own theory as to what they just saw. When Gothic fiction was most popular; in the Victorian era, religion and superstition were also much more popular, consequently the supernatural element of texts like these were more believable and therefore more formidable. 'With greater speed than the flight of an eagle' (Chap 17) The Vampire of Kaldenstein not only uses supernatural but sudden aberration to create an unnatural atmosphere, 'in a moment he was bending over the blood on the table and licking it up with obvious relish', this often proves more frightful in modern day as it is the persons idiosyncrasy that is abnormal not the natural laws that have been broken. The conventions of Gothic fiction are very distinctive compared to those of other genres, it is clear that a story containing vampires and adventure is likely to be aimed at scaring the reader. Both of the texts we have studied show features on the characters, scenery and mysterious tribulations, which can be interpreted in different ways. Even when watching the film version of 'Frankenstein' imagination is used to put oneself in the same position in an attempt to understand. ...read more.

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