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Key features of the Gothic tradition.

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Term Assignment This passage entails many key features of the Gothic tradition where Gothic conventions, with the usage of archetypal symbols, dominate much of the text. Other than effectively evoking horror, suspense and unease in the reader, the Gothic uses these conventions to challenge and destabilize certain concepts and perceptions of the world. Boundaries of binary oppositions are also blurred in the process. The Gothic conventions that prevalent in the passage are the setting and atmosphere, the role double, the supernatural visitation, extreme interior mental states of the narrator and the apparitions and the fragmented mental states of the narrator. The setting of the passage is dark and obscure, typical of the Gothic. The visitation by the apparitions occurs at an "untimely" hour, about "four or five o'clock", a time when most people are asleep and that anything that may happen would be left unnoticed. By taking into consideration the fact that most of the time people are unfamiliar with the surroundings and activities of the wee-hours of the morning, a foreign, strange, Unheimlich sensation is created. Although it is presumably in the comforts of the speaker's own room, the fact that it is "dark" lends to the sinister tone of the atmosphere evoking further unease. As seen in the other gothic narratives, most visitations by the otherworldly occur in such setting. ...read more.


Although the apparitions are fantastic creatures, their presence also makes up the reality of the narrator. This blurs the boundaries of the real and fantastic. The extreme feelings or passion of characters is constantly envisaged in Gothic narratives like the way Jane Eyre as a child suffer from crazed emotions in the red room her aunt has imprisoned her in. The three apparitions have expressions that of utmost despair and desire for revenge. One of them had a face that was "fixed into such an expression of dreadful despair" as the feeling of grief can never be rid off. Their eyes so full of rage that they "watched the (narrator) pitilessly, steadfastly and disdainfully", like "witch-fires". The effect was so full of wrath that it made the narrator "(c)onvulsed and almost frantic with the strain on (his) nerves." The author uses italics and "!" to emphasize the cry of "Misery!" On top of that, this cry has been repeated thrice in the passage, reflecting the extremities of these emotions. The first cry came from "a Voice, low and thrilling with intense aguish" brings to further relief overwhelming pain experienced. This extremity is further portrayed as the sigh that was let out by the figures was compared to something as inexorable as death - "deep sigh that was more like a deathgroan". ...read more.


He is being forced to transgress the boundary of being in power of his motions to being powerless. Hence, the Gothic is challenging the idea of humans of being almighty for when being placed in the situation where they need to protect themselves the most, they are not even able to manipulate their own body. At the same time, both the narrator and the reader are not sure whether the occurrence the narrator experience is the making of his subconscious or reality. According to scientist, it is "about four or five o'clock" in the morning when most people have lapsed into deepest sleep and the most highly likely time for them to dream, the time when the subconscious precedes over the conscious mind. Even the narrator himself questions "if this were a dream or some hideous optical illusion" and "doubting the evidence of his own sense. The only way for him to escape from the situation is to be "mercifully unconscious". If it is he consciousness that has brought him to come in contact with the apparitions and the unconscious is the only way he escapes from them, the Gothic subverts the conscious as a medium for reality. To conclude, the passage fascination with extreme interior mental states of its characters, dark and sinister setting, the otherworldly creatures and the supernatural, which are conventions that found in most Gothic narratives. With the use of Gothic conventions, the author has effectively evokes terror, fear and disdain the readers simultaneously. Tio Meng Samantha 03A07 ...read more.

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