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What do you think are the crucial elements of gothic horror?

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What do you think are the crucial elements of gothic horror? Gothic horror first started to appear in the early C19th. Gothic was applied later on by renaissance and enlightenment negatively to mean medieval critics because it was considered barbaric. As the centuries went past the term gothic was no longer the meaning of a negative connotation so it was used to refer an ancient past in a nostalgic way. At the end of the C18th the gothic movement had changed from enlightenment rationalism to horror, darkness and elements from the dark realm. The gothic movement is still but mostly horror. Common motifs used in gothic horror stories are murder, suicide, torture, madness, lycanthropy, ghosts, vampires, demons, poltergeists, demonic pacts, diabolic possession/ exorcism, witchcraft and voodoo. I'm going to analyse 'Napoleon and the spectre', 'The goblins who stole a sexton' and 'The signalman'. Napoleon and the spectre is written by Charlotte Bronte, the goblins who stole a sexton and the signalman are both written by Charles Dickens. At the starting point of the 'Napoleon and the Spectre' story Bronte already mentions that there's something or someone in Napoleons room; she writes: "....in a few minutes the emperor felt his pillow becoming hard, and he got up to shake it. ...read more.


Bronte is describing ghostly effects. When the candlelight is obscured by a black opaque shadow another gothic element (darkness) is brought in. Darkness is another crucial gothic element because some of the common motifs used in gothic horror are associated with darkness such as vampires: they come out at night, witchcraft: witches wear black clothes etc. Bronte also describes a demon. When Napoleon is told to follow something through a wall, this involves hidden passageways, which is a gothic element. This is a crucial element because usually demons/ ghosts come out of hidden passageways or people disappear when they go through hidden passageways. The passageway from his gloomy lit room leads him to the streets of Paris that are also gloomy lit. This is a crucial gothic element because some of the common motifs used in gothic horror are associated with gloomy lit places such as voodoo: some one doing voodoo is in a gloomy lit place. 'The Goblins and the Sexton' is a similar story to Christmas carol. This story attempts to moralise; it's a warning to the people to avoid unpleasant, grumpy killjoys. ...read more.


It is about a signalman who works at an isolated junction at the bottom of a long and deep railway cutting. A passing stranger calls in one afternoon and a kind of friendship is struck up. We learn that the signalman has been troubled by sightings of a shadowy figure at the tunnel mouth, gesticulating wildly. Whenever it is seen a dreadful accident always follows. The tunnel mouth is dark and big; this is a crucial gothic setting because the dark is associated with some of the common gothic motifs. Also the signalman sees a ghost and afterwards a bad thing always happens. His sightings of a ghost also prove that he maybe mad and madness is one of the common motifs used in gothic horror. The first two sightings of the ghost result in two accidents and many people dying but the third sighting kills him; he sees his own death because when he sees the ghost he goes to investigate what it is and so he turns his back on the tunnel and the train runs him over. The ghost is a crucial gothic element because it is a strange creature. Gurdeep Singh Malhi 11GK ...read more.

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