Conventions of Gothic Genre

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  • Created on: 27-12-15 14:22
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    • Conventions of Gothic Genre
      • Villian-Hero (satanic, promethean, Byronic hero)
        • The villain of a story who either 1) poses as a hero at the beginning of the story or 2) simply possesses enough heroic characteristics (charisma, sympathetic past, etc) so that either the reader or the other characters see the villain-hero as more than a simple charlatan or bad guy.
      • Dreams
        • Dreams in Gothic literature express the dark, unconscious depths of the psyche that are repressed by reason—truths that are too terrible to be comprehended by the conscious mind.
          • Terrible truths are often revealed to characters through dreams or visions. The hidden knowledge of the universe and of human nature emerges through dreams because, when the person sleeps, reason sleeps, and the supernatural, unreasonable world can break through.
      • Sense of Mystery and Dread
        • They may also be seen acting upon the protagonists in texts, influencing them by exciting their curiosity or fear.
          • These serve to captivate the reader and encourage further reading.
      • Unreliable Narrator
        • A narrator tells a story and determines the story's point of view. An unreliable narrator, however, does not understand the importance of a particular situation or makes an incorrect conclusion or assumption about an event that he/she witnesses
      • Revenge
        • Revenge may be enacted upon a loved one, a family member, a friend, an object or even an area. Within Gothic Literature, revenge is notably prominent and can be enacted by or upon mortals as well as spirits. Revenge can take many forms, such as harm to body, harm to loved ones, and harm to family.
      • Justice
        • The Gothic often shows that that "the sins of the fathers are visited on their children to the third and forth [sic] generation". What this form of resolution implies is that the power of social stability is stronger than any individual's attempt to transgress it.
      • Ambiguity and Ambivalence
        • These are found in characters, their motivations and lives. Duality and antithesis are also found.
      • Darkness as Intrinsic to Humanity
        • gothic literature delves into the macabre nature of humanity in its quest to satiate mankind's intrinsic desire to plumb the depths of terror.
      • The Supernatural
        • in the form of some kind of supernatural being or object, such as a vampire or ghost, which is frightening due to its refusal to adhere to the laws of nature, God or man.
      • The Sublime
        • an overpowering sense of the greatness and power of nature, which can be uplifting, awe-inspiring and terrifying, caused by experience of beauty, vastness or grandeur. Sublime moments lead us to consider the place of humanity in the universe, and the power exhibited in the world.
      • The Pursued Protagonist
        • Refers to the idea of a pursuing force that relentlessly acts in a severely negative manner on a character.
          • This persecution often implies the notion of some sort of a curse or other form of terminal and utterly unavoidable damnation, a notion that usually suggests a return to ,or "hangover" of, traditional religious ideology to chastise the character for some real or imagined wrong against the moral order.
      • The Outsider
        • The outsider, like Cain, moves along the edges of society, in caves, on lonely seacoasts, or in monasteries and convents. While the society at large always appears bourgeois in its culture and morality, the Gothic outsider is a counterforce driven by strange longings and destructive needs.
          • While everyone else appears sane, he is insane; while everyone else appears bound by legalities, he is trying to snap the pitiless constrictions of the law; while everyone else seems to lack any peculiarities of taste or behaviour, he feels only estrangement, sick longings, terrible surges of power and devastation. He is truly countercultural, an alternate force, almost mythical in his embodiment of the burdens and sins of society.
      • The Distressed Heroine
        • As an appeal to the pathos and sympathy of the reader, the female characters often face events that leave them fainting, terrified, screaming, and/or sobbing.
          • A lonely, pensive, and oppressed heroine is often the central figure of the novel, so her sufferings are even more pronounced and the focus of attention. The women suffer all the more because they are often abandoned, left alone (either on purpose or by accident), and have no protector at times.
      • Marriage as Resolution
        • The importance of marriage in this schema cannot be overstated. Not only does movement toward matrimony in the Gothic's present trigger the appearance of the buried past, but that buried past itself always contains information tied to the institutions of matrimony or family interest.
    • Mist
      • used to obscure objects (this can be related to the sublime) by reducing visibility or to prelude the insertion of a terrifying person or thing
    • Storms
      • These frequently accompany important events. Flashes of lightening accompany revelation; thunder and downpours prefigure the appearance of a character or the beginning of a significant event
    • Sunlight
      • represents goodness and pleasure; it also has the power to bestow these upon characters.


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