Gothic Lit

This is a rather brief outline of how to recognise a gothic literature text. I've also made some notes on Frankenstein, The Changeling and The Bloody Chamber and made links to the genre. Hope you guys find this helpful. If you need me to clarify anything don't hesitate to ask.

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  • Created by: victoria
  • Created on: 27-04-13 09:13
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  • Gothic Literature
    • Definitions
      • Incorporates horror and romance.
      • Became popular during the late 18th century and early 19th century
      • Usually takes place in a 'gothic' area, this is meant to evoke emotions within the reader such as horror and despair.
      • Always a protagonist, a villain and normally a wanderer who wanders within the places in the story or is in exile.
      • There are usually supernatural occurences and rebellion.
      • Elements
        • High or even melodramatic emotion. Characters overcome by angers, sorrow, surprise and terror. Also suffer from impending doom. Crying and emotional speeches are frequent. Breathlessness and panic are common.
        • Women in distress 'damsel in distress'
          • Women are usually portrayed as helpless. The women are usually read crying, fainting and screaming.
          • Women threatened by a powerful, impulsive, tyrannical male
            • One of the male characters in power , whether he is king, lord, father or husband bosses the female figue 'inplace' and is forced into things.
        • Pathetic Fallacy use for gloom and horror. Weather is used to create this: Wing, rain, moans, howls, eerie sounds, characters trapped in a room, sound of wolves, thunder, crazed laughter.
        • Vocab
          • Mystery: afflicted,agony, anguish, dreaded, wretched, unhappy, tears, terrified
          • Fear/death/sorrow: Despair, horrid, horror, wretched,melancholy, mournful, hopeless
          • Surprise: alarm, amazement, astonished, surprised
          • Haste: anxious, impatient, sudden
          • Anger: angrily, enraged, furious
    • What I'm studying:
      • The Changeling
        • Women are presented as victims of male oppression; Beatrice becomes corrupt in order to be with Alsemero but her father is against it, Diaphanta is unable to marry because she is poor which is why she does a favour for Beatrice, Isabella is put into an asylum whilst her husband goes away; he cannot trust her.
        • Main setting in the castle and the subplot in the asylum.
        • Social classes clashing; Beatrice with De flores underlines how there will be a foreshadowingof an impending doom.
      • Bloody Chamber (collection of stories)
        • Subverts women's roles in fairy tales. Still carry many gothic aspects
        • Setting confirms gothic literature elements. Carter plays around with them.
      • Frankenstein
        • Setting not in castles but elements are shown throughout.
        • Women are always in distress and are threatened/controlled by men.
        • References to Paradise lost; religion. Playing with God.
        • Victor is isolated from everything due to his ambition for discovery just like Walton. Though reliability of the story is undermined as it is told through Walton.
        • Impending doom ' I will be there on your wedding night', 'my fate' , 'misfortune'
        • Creature seen as the supernatural, creates tension and fear.
    • Setting
      • Castles is a popular setting in the gothic as this is where the corruption of the aristocracies are hidden. Even though it's beautiful on the outside it's filled with terror and murder inside.
        • The castles often consist of secret passages, trap doors, secret rooms and hidden staircases.
      • Lakes and nature settings are very remeniscent of the Romanticism era, and are sometimes used in texts for example Frankenstein.


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