Evolution of a Haunted House: The use of setting in early and modern gothic novels
The setting for a novel plays a big part in how the story and its characters relate to the reader. This paper will examine how setting in gothic literature, plays an important role in the telling of a story by using Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto and Shirley Jackson’s The House on Haunted Hill as examples.
During the eighteenth century, the Romantic period of literature emerged. The works of this time were often filled with imagination, strong emotional contexts, and freedom from the classical notions of art and social conventions (wordiq.com). The Castle of Otranto, while considered by many to be a Romantic drama, had a style that was distinctively different (Mulvey-Roberts, 226). Elements, not previously seen in works of literature were added to the story, much in the way embellishments were added to buildings of the time. Horace Walpole, used elements of the macabre, mysterious, and violent incidents; along with desolate and remote settings to create the first true English-language gothic novel (Merriam-Webster.com).
The ruins of castles and other ancient settlements, set amongst the gloominess of the surrounding landscape provided the perfect backdrop for the early English gothic novel (Goldstein, Grider, Thomas 145-146). It was at once mysterious, foreboding, and could create a sense of fear and dread in the reader. Horace Walpole took advantage of setting in The Castle of Otranto. The castle evokes feelings of darkness, solitude, loneliness, and claustrophobia (Mulvey-Roberts, 174). There are secret passages, trap doors, secret rooms, and areas of ruin. The aim is to produce the classic emotion of fear of the unknown. Add in a...
... middle of paper ...
..., a moaning sound is heard prior (Walpole, 34). In The Haunting of Hill House, it is the female protagonist who hears a hammering against the upper edge of a bedroom door that sounded like “something children do”. She also hears "little mad rising laugh" outside the door (Jackson, 95,97).
For more than two centuries, the setting of the haunted castle or house has played with our emotions and psyches. They create tension and fear, while we wait for the ghost or bogeyman to jump out. Author H.P. Lovecraft, known for creating these emotions with his own works, states “the oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown” (Lovecraft, 12). This fear of the unknown continues to make gothic novels as popular today, as when Horace Walpole took a romantic drama, added a few shiny bits, and called it gothic.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The Earth as a whole is not comprised of individual civilizations cut off from one another. This being said, influence can be seen all over the world, through many different cultures. As trade and natural movement of people brought artistic or architectural influences to other places, one can recognize an evolution of ideas and adaptation to the tools available in the area. Architectural styles and remnants of these can be seen trickling down from the more modern era of Gothic work all the way back to the Egyptian halls dating back as far as the 1400s BCE.... [tags: Gothic architecture, Stained glass]
1314 words (3.8 pages)
- The genre of gothic text tends to emerge in times of great social stress or anxiety. For many years, authors have described vampires as wealthy, culturally sophisticated, aristocrats who live decadent lifestyles. Today however, average Americans are faced with hard economic times, and are struggling to provide basic necessities for their families. When watching the movie Twilight by Stephanie Meyers, several details in the story seems to enhance these harsh cultural anxieties of today’s social world, such as, the excessive lengths people will go to achieve financial stability, the lavish life style of the modern vampire, and how themes of the economic issues society is facing, impacts and st... [tags: Gothic, Fantasy, Twilight]
733 words (2.1 pages)
- Frankenstein Term Paper Romanticism was a rebellion, in a sense, from the intellectualism and formality of the Enlightenment. This movement began in Europe in the mid-eighteenth century and eventually spread through Europe and North America over the course of the next century. During this time, a novel written by a young English woman would come to define the science fiction genre and is read by students even today. Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, first published in 1818 when the author was just 20 years old, has had far-reaching influence in culture and literature over the last 200 years.... [tags: Frankenstein, Mary Shelley, Gothic fiction]
981 words (2.8 pages)
- Imagine sweeping columns and soaring arches. Beautiful towers reach hundreds of meters into the sky after many years of laborious toil. Each feature differs and has its own unique qualities. Such descriptions encompass the scope of Gothic and Romanesque Architecture around the medieval period Europe. Each was designed for a different feel; as civility and people evolved, Romanesque style gradually became Gothic. Gothic and Romanesque architectures vastly impact society in their own unique ways but still have the same overall goal in their physical characteristics, complex meanings, art-history values, and modern roles.... [tags: Gothic architecture, Romanesque architecture]
855 words (2.4 pages)
- The Haunted Palace “The Haunted Palace” is one of Edgar Allen Poe’s mysterious and phantasmagoric poems. Written in the same year as “The Devil in the Belfry,” and included in his short story “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Haunted Palace” is another tale of innocence and happiness now corroded with sorrow and madness. It is fairly easy to say that “The Haunted Palace” is a metaphor for Poe’s own ghostly troubled mind, more than it is about a decaying palace. For in 1839, it was found in a book that the main character in “The Fall of the House of Usher” comes across.... [tags: Poe Haunted Palace Essays]
864 words (2.5 pages)
- Carl Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World as Social Commentary Carl Sagan sums up his view of the basic flaw of man in one phrase: "history reveals that we humans have a sad tendency to make the same mistakes again and again" (Sagan 424). Humans today have an understanding of the world around them that is vastly superior to that of their ancestors. In spite of this, a growing number of people perpetually fail to scrutinize to the degree necessary for the evolution of the self. According to Sagan, failure to think scientifically seems to be the reason why most people get caught up in investing all their faith in as-yet-unproved phenomena such as UFOs and even religion.... [tags: Carl Sagan Demon-Haunted World]
738 words (2.1 pages)
- The Gothic elements expressed in Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto were so new and controversial during the Romantic period that it caused an extreme rise in reputation amongst Romantic writers and readers, creating a ground-breaking genre that would remain popular within entertainment today. These literary elements, alongside the turning of a literary age and the unofficial fight for recognition between the Romantic and Gothic writers, were the key turning points that would maintain the Gothic’s literary form within history.... [tags: Gothic, Romantic, secrecy]
947 words (2.7 pages)
- All houses are haunted; all persons are haunted; throngs of spirits follow us everywhere, we are never alone. Every county has they own haunted places some more known than others. I know this very personally because I live less than 100 yards from one of those haunted places, Marsh Road. I will take you on an adventure though Wisconsin’s past and present gulls and goblins that will sure give you a new look on Wisconsin. The haunted places in Wisconsin are worth learning about. Do you know what the closet haunted places to you are.... [tags: spirits, haunted roads, paranormal activities]
2052 words (5.9 pages)
- “A Haunted House” by Virginia Woolf is a short story about a ghostly couple that are wandering around the home they lived in before they died, searching for something they lost. They move round the house as quietly as they can without waking the new owners. The owner does not awaken, but subconsciously begins to wander and get confused along with the ghost. they enter the drawing room the word “safe” is chanted multiple times, allowing the couple to feel at ease and know that their search was not in vain and what they yearn for is safe.... [tags: Ghost, Paranormal, Haunted house, Ghosts]
829 words (2.4 pages)
- Using the Gothic Genre in Frankenstein and A Modern Prometheus In the novel of Frankenstein - The Modern Prometheus, Mary Shelley chooses to use the gothic genre as it reflects many of her past experiences, and in some cases, flaws in her upbringing. The plot of Frankenstein reflects Mary Shelley's past experiences as many essential elements can be extracted from the storyline such as ; Mary Shelley herself was a motherless child, as her mother, feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraft died 9 days after Mary's Birth from Puerperal fever.... [tags: Mary Shelley Gothic Literature Essays]
2285 words (6.5 pages)