Horror Versus Terror in Gothic Literature Essay

Horror Versus Terror in Gothic Literature Essay

Length: 1406 words (4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Horror Versus Terror in Gothic Literature  


Gothic literature can be described as literature that is used to terrify people by portraying situations that border between reality and unreality. The purpose of Gothic literature is to terrify people, not to horrify them. The definition of horror and terror is often misunderstood, many people think they have the same meaning. Devendra Varma, in the Gothic Flame described the difference between these words as "an awful apprehension and sickening realization." A situation that is horrifying is usually described very distinctly. It usually deals with something that is grotesque and may be so appalling that is it unrealistic. It gives an exact portrayal of what is being described, usually by physical characteristics. Its intention is to appall and scare the reader. A situation that is terrifying is also used to frighten the reader, but it instead suggests something that will happen instead of describing it exactly. It allows the readers imagination to determine the story so that there is a sense of uncertainty. It seems to give a feeling of dread instead of an alarming feeling as with horror. William Faulkner, in "That Evening Sun", uses the distinction between the words terror and horror to portray Jason's, the child, feelings of terror concerning racial differences by creating a situation that would be terrifying to the reader.

The feeling of terror, similar to the terror that Jason feels about race, is exemplified several times throughout the story. Faulkner wants the reader to understand the meaning of terror so that they understand Jason's terror. He especially utilizes sound to terrify the reader.

"One night we waked up, hearing the sound. It was not singing and it was...


... middle of paper ...


... the possibility of being put in their position.

The difference between the words terror and horror is essential to the understanding of "That Evening Sun" as Gothic literature. Varma further explains this distinction by saying, "Terror thus creates an intangible atmosphere of spiritual psychic dread, a certain superstitious shudder at the other world. Horror resorts to a cruder presentation of the macabre: by an exact portrayal of the physically horrible and revolting, against a far more terrible background of spiritual gloom and despair." Faulkner uses the definitions of these words to communicate that people who are prejudice are not scared of people from other backgrounds because of what they look or act like. They are instead terrified of being treated like they are treated. They are also terrified because they are uncertain of what makes them so different.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Gothic Literature is Just Terrible Essay

- Well, I suppose we should get right to it. Gothic Literature (or more specifically, the gothic romance) was first introduced to the world in the year 1764. At that time a man by the name of Horace Walpole wrote a little "ditty" he titled The Castle of Otranto which most literary experts seem to agree is the Gothic pioneer. At the time, there were mixed reactions, to say the least. To quote one pundit: "...it presented, at first, a topic for argument and inflammatory rhetoric (Alfred Potter, from Gothic Horror p128 - Clive Bloom)." Despite (or maybe because of) its imperfect beginnings, however, Gothic literature came to be a venerable, albeit controversial genre with a mysteri...   [tags: Gothic Literature]

Powerful Essays
775 words (2.2 pages)

Essay on Horror And Terror : The Tell Tale Heart

- Terror vs. Horror Horror and terror are interrelated words in the English language that have similar meanings. Horror is an emotional experience that has more to do with what is happening around one rather than what is happening to one. In addition, horror is a feeling of disgust that is more disturbing and psychological in nature. On the other hand, terror is the intense fear that one feels in anticipation of something happening. Moreover, terror is an emotion felt when one is in great and immediate fear....   [tags: Edgar Allan Poe, The Tell-Tale Heart]

Powerful Essays
710 words (2 pages)

Essay on The Popularity of Gothic Literature During the Romantic Era

- 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]

Powerful Essays
947 words (2.7 pages)

Evolution of the Haunted House in Early and Modern Gothic Novels Essay

- 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)....   [tags: Gothic Literature, Townsend, Jackson]

Powerful Essays
968 words (2.8 pages)

Essay on Frankenstein As A Gothic Novel

- Mary Ellen Neely English 4 Honors Mrs. Schroder 4 December 2017 Frankenstein As a Gothic Novel Originating in 1754, Gothic novels shaped works of literature for hundreds of years to come. Mary Shelley, author of the well known novel Frankenstein, brought light to the gothic style of literature. Defined as a type of writing characterized by fear and horror, but includes romantic elements such as nature and individuality, gothic literature embodies gloom as well as beauty. Frankenstein captures the aspect of horror through the constantly changing and frightening settings, and the theme of death....   [tags: Frankenstein, Mary Shelley, Gothic fiction]

Powerful Essays
878 words (2.5 pages)

Atmosphere of Terror and Suspense in Gothic Literature Essay

- 1764 saw the birth of Gothic literature with the novel 'The Castle of Otranto', written by Horace Walpole. Although, this novel was based on some much earlier literature it set the standard for all the gothic novels that followed. The 18th century was a time when political power was in the hands of a few rich men. Women did not have the vote, let alone any legal rights. The majority of the population lived in poverty. However things were changing . the Church was no longer as powerful and the social structure was being questioned....   [tags: essays research papers]

Powerful Essays
4331 words (12.4 pages)

Essay about Terror in Irish Gothic Fiction

- Terror is certainly perhaps the most important aspect of any Gothic work, let alone that of the Irish fiction. However, it does appear that the more terrifying a text is, usually, the more obscure it also tends to be. Though in suggesting this, we may also have to question what actually is meant by the term `obscure', and especially what may be deemed `obscure' in each text's context. Clearly what may have frightened or terrified readers of the nineteenth-century may no longer have the same effect on modern readers....   [tags: European Literature]

Powerful Essays
2004 words (5.7 pages)

Gothic Literature by Poe Essay

- Gothic literature was a popular writing tradition of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and is still used today. Gothic literature explores the wicked, perverse and dark desires. Gothic conventions can include burial alive, ghosts, hysteria, ruined bodies, tales within tales, undead characters, underground spaces, and more. Gothic themes are guilt, sex, violence, death, and cosmic struggle. Gothic stories or poems should inspire terror or horror. Edgar Allen Poe was one of the many well-known Gothic writers....   [tags: American Literature]

Powerful Essays
481 words (1.4 pages)

A Sense of Gothic Expressed in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Essay

- A Sense of Gothic Expressed in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein The term ‘Gothic’ has many forms. Its origins go back to the medieval period and can be seen in architecture such as Westminster Abbey in London and the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. It can also be applied to art in the works of Hieronymus Bosch who’s grotesque and haunting imagery depicted ugly distorted humans who are morally degenerate and depraved, and to William Blake who visualised Dante’s Divine Comedy. In literature, the Gothic novel is credited as starting with Horace Walpole’s Castle of Otranto, (1764) which characterised most of what would become the essential ingredients in the Gothic genre....   [tags: Frankenstein Gothic Literature Essays]

Powerful Essays
942 words (2.7 pages)

Essay about Gothic Literature

- The term gothic was originally used to describe both type of Art and Architecture. Gothic novels were given a genre of their own primarily because of their emotional extremes and their dark themes. Gothic Literature ================= The gothic novel is a literary genre which is said to have been created in 1764 when Horace Walpole wrote his novel ‘The Castle of Otranto’. The main features of gothic novels included terror, mystery, the supernatural, doom, death, curses and madness. The term ‘gothic’ was originally used to describe both type of Art and Architecture....   [tags: Free Essay Writer]

Free Essays
329 words (0.9 pages)