Gothic Horror in Susan Hill's The Woman in Black and H.G. Wells' The Red Room

Gothic Horror in Susan Hill's The Woman in Black and H.G. Wells' The Red Room

Length: 1983 words (5.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Gothic Horror in Susan Hill's The Woman in Black and H.G. Wells' The Red Room

As with all things, the gothic horror genre of literature did not
begin at one definable point, but evolved gradually. Gothic horror
evolved out of gothic fiction (as opposed to classical fiction, for
example the novels of Jane Austen), before establishing itself as a
genre in its own right. However, many literary scholars and critics
would point to "The Castle of Otranto", written by Horace Walpole and
first published in 1764, as the first true gothic horror novel,
containing as it does many of the clichs prevalent throughout the

Gothic horror novels are typified by their dark, lachrymose atmosphere
of dread and fear. In fact, the key to gothic horror can be summed up
in one word: tension. This is created by many devices, as well as
having an evil force present working against the hero/heroine. The
characters, locations and atmospheres created are designed to be
threatening, even when nothing sinister is actually happening.

Although the gothic horror genre didn't die out altogether, it
certainly lost popularity. However, it has had a minor resurgence over
the last decade. Susan Hill is one of the authors who has turned her
hand to the gothic horror format, her short novel "The Woman In Black"
being released in the late eighties. Susan Hill says she wrote The
Woman In Black because she "had the urge to write a story in the old
fashioned sense," perhaps because of a dissatisfaction with modern
horror writing and its reliance upon gore and physical danger. HG
Wells, although primarily a science-fiction author, also wrote a
gothic horror story, "The Red Room". I will be comparing these two
stories, to see how these ...

... middle of paper ...

...t be too lightly dismissed. These two
stories are particularly interesting because they were both written by
authors who aren't normally associated with the genre, so they have
explored the clichés more than a seasoned horror writer might. But
despite being so blatantly "influenced" by genre standards such as
Henry James' The Turn Of The Screw and work of M.R. James, they remain
gripping. This is because they appeal to our wish for escapism and a
decent scare, a need that is pandered to by almost every work of
fiction. This is the basis of horror writing - that the reader wants
to be scared; if the reader approaches the story with the attitude of
not wanting or expecting to be scared, he or she will not be affected
by the story so much. However, gothic horror is still one of the most
effective mediums for provoking fear, ensuring its enduring

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Essay on The Woman in Black vs The Evil Dead

- Driven by filmgoers’ fascination for thrills and chills, the horror genre has continued to scare, entertain and induce nightmares into all that succumb to the genre. Taking influence from the Victorian gothic novel, Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein (1819), horror is one of the most recognisable film genres thanks, in part, to the codes and conventions practiced during the production process of horror filmmaking. Film codes and conventions refer to ‘the rules by the which narrative is governed’ (Hayward, p 68), how film techniques are implemented to distinguish a films genre....   [tags: horror film genre, gothic]

Powerful Essays
1854 words (5.3 pages)

Essay on Gothic Elements Of Bram Stoker 's Dracula

- C. Thesis Statement: Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula, is filled to the brim with gothic elements which gives the reader an atmosphere of mystery and horror. II. BP1/Topic Sentence: Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula, contains many elements of gothic literature pertaining to the setting. A. According to the report written by David De Vore, Anne Domenic, Alexandra Kwan, and Nicole Reidy at UC Davis, “The setting is greatly influential in Gothic novels. It not only evokes the atmosphere of horror and dread, but also portrays the deterioration of its world” (Vore, Domenic, Kwan, and Reidy)....   [tags: Dracula, Gothic fiction, Bram Stoker, Dracula]

Powerful Essays
1177 words (3.4 pages)

Essay on Threatre Review of Woman in Black

- Threatre Review of Woman in Black The play I will be reviewing is called the Woman in Black, adapted by Stephen Mallatratt from the novel by Susan Hill. I viewed it on September the 17th at the Fortune Theatre in London. The Woman in Black is a Gothic ghost/horror story set around the Victorian period in which Eel Marsh House surveys the windswept reaches of the salt marshes beyond Nine Lives Causeway. Arthur Kipps (Brian Miller), a junior solicitor, is summoned to attend the funeral of Mrs Alice Drablow, the house's sole inhabitant, unaware of the tragic secrets that lie hidden behind the shuttered windows....   [tags: Papers]

Powerful Essays
816 words (2.3 pages)

No reader of The Woman in Black, can be left in doubt about its conscious

- No reader of The Woman in Black, can be left in doubt about its conscious evocation of the Gothic ‘No reader of ‘The Woman in Black’, can be left in doubt about its conscious evocation of the Gothic. It is full of motifs and effects associated with that genre.’ How far would you agree with this statement of the novel. There is absolutely no doubt that Susan Hill consciously evocates the Gothic in ‘The Woman in Black’. There are many obvious conventions she uses that create a great Gothic effect throughout the novel....   [tags: Free Essay Writer]

Free Essays
1370 words (3.9 pages)

The Minister’s Black Veil by Nathaniel Hawthorne Essay

- Witchcraft and a Black Veil The setting of “The Minister’s Black Veil” by Nathaniel Hawthorne occurs in Milford, Massachusetts which is less than 60 miles from Salem, a small town famous for putting hundreds of people on trial and sentencing several to death as a result of accusing them of witchcraft. The thematic historical similarities between the Salem Witch Trials and Hawthorne’s “The Minister’s Black Veil” is apparent through the use of gothic imagery, supernatural effects on the funeral and wedding, and hysterical emotion elicit on the townspeople by Mr....   [tags: witchcraft, black veil]

Powerful Essays
1480 words (4.2 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 about Theme of Horror in the Sleepy Hollow

- Theme of Horror in the Sleepy Hollow The film Sleepy Hollow is a fantasy/gothic horror film; the rating 15 tells us it probably has some gore in it. As we watch the film, some parts could also be described as thriller. The director Tim Burton is known for his love of Hammer horror films and before starting work on this film he encouraged his team to watch Hammer horror films like "Black Sunday" and "The Fearless Vampire Killers", as this was the effect he wanted to put across in Sleepy Hollow....   [tags: Papers]

Powerful Essays
2182 words (6.2 pages)

Gothic Literature: A Rose For Emily, The Tell Tale Heart, and Daddy Essay

- In William Faulkner’s, “A Rose for Emily, Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell Tale Heart,” and Sylvia Plath’s “Daddy”, are endowed with many features that contribute to their gothic form and success. Faulkner’s,” A Rose for Emily” is characterized by a powerful imagery, plot and setting which are interwoven to create a gothic feeling. The story unfolds in Jefferson, the living fragments of a land that is plagued with civil war. Among the remains of Jefferson is Emily’s house which appears to be the summary of what has become of the wealthy and noble in Jefferson....   [tags: Edgar Allan Poe, William Faulkner, Sylvia Plath]

Powerful Essays
970 words (2.8 pages)

Essay about Typical Horror Story in Lamb to the Slaughter and The Speckled Band

- Typical Horror Story in Lamb to the Slaughter and The Speckled Band There are many different types of horror e.g. comic horror, gothic horror, and mystical horror. In a murder mystery, there is usually a mystery, victim, villain, weapons, secrets, cliff-hanger endings and a detective. These create the typical mood of uncertainty which is present in a typical horror story. The facts in the case are not revealed until the last minute creating a mystical atmosphere. The Speckled Band is set in the Victorian era and includes a cold-blooded killer which fits the genre of the time where there were many such incidents such as with Jack the Ripper, suicidal, disgusting a...   [tags: Papers]

Powerful Essays
2542 words (7.3 pages)

Essay on The Dark Side Of The Color Black

- One murky, miserable night imagine walking through a foggy midnight dark forest where the leaves of tall trees would clash together as if in anger and the wind gushing across like a lions roar, the hair on the back of my neck rises. You feel death creeping in the shadows, how are you feeling right now. Depressed, scared, and maybe feeling the shivers running through your body because of the suspense. All these descriptive words are conditions of the word or color black. When something is black the first thing you would think about is something dark, gothic or even horror and there is nothing comforting about it, because the color black is most often associated with horror movies or loss of l...   [tags: Short story, The Lottery, Shirley Jackson]

Powerful Essays
1091 words (3.1 pages)