A darkened room and a secret passage, a beautiful heroine in a flowing nightgown, candles that go out and doors that mysteriously open are all trademarks of the gothic literature tradition. Dark and stormy nights where a young woman is trapped in an unfamiliar place with individuals who have nefarious purposes are the norm and unfortunately for a heroine in a gothic novel, it is unlikely that she will make it out of the story unscathed. So ingrained are the icons and stereotypes of the gothic tradition that they are still found in horror or suspense to this day, as well as those which parody the style. In works of gothic literature, there are characteristics which clearly classify the novels into the genre and without these trademark criterion, the novel cannot be claimed to be part of the gothic branch of literary works. Both Ann Radcliffe's The Italian…… [Read More]
Relationship of "The Old English Baron" and "Vathek" to 18th Century English Gothic Fiction
The rise of Gothic fiction in English literature coincided with the advent of the Romantic Era at the end of the 18th century and beginning of the 19th century. Gothic masterpieces such as Shelley's Frankenstein, Lewis's The Monk, and Stoker's Dracula would capture the imagination by fueling it with the flames of horror, suspense, other-worldliness and mystery. These elements are significant because the Age of Enlightenment had been characterized by a cold, objective, analytical focus on nature and humankind. It had been based on the concept that reason was sufficient to explain all events in the world and in fact all creation. Yet as Shakespeare's Hamlet reminded readers, "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, / Than are dreamt of in your philosophy" (Shakespeare 1.5.167-168). Part of this interest in the Gothic was inspired…… [Read More]
The lack of rights within marriage that makes women basically "property" to the man is obviously central to this story, as indicated by the way in which Maria is imprisoned. There are a variety of ways in which this most disturbing of issues is addressed in the book. Women who are married loose control over their own bodies, and are required to submit to caresses to which their soul does not consent. One woman in the madhouse is, in fact, there specifically because she could not tolerate her husband's caresses. "she had been married, against her inclination, to a rich old man,... In consequence of his treatment... she had... lost her senses." (1.39) Not only is a woman prone to institutionalized rape, but she also has no right to require the man to remain as he was before they wed. Maria declaims bitterly of how her husband deteriorates into a…… [Read More]
The very description of the dog conjures up an image of a massive dog, wearing a studded and dangerous collar, salivating in wait for any evil attempt at entering the castle.
The mastiff old did not awake,
Yet she an angry moan did make!
And what can ail the mastiff *****?
Never till now she uttered yell
Beneath the eye of Christabel" (Coleridge)
Christabel fails to heed the warning of the mastiff, and so, her fate is sealed. The image of the mastiff is cruel and powerful, and yet, Geraldine's power is even stronger, for she can keep the mastiff still and keep the warning from registering with Christabel. Thus, her evil is powerful indeed, more powerful than the other gothic motifs in the poem.
8. The dead mother is yet another important motif in the poem. She adds to the tragedy of Christabel's life, and Coleridge makes it quite…… [Read More]
Gothic Cathedrals and Light
From the end of the 12th century for at least two centuries architecture underwent a revolution known as Gothic. Much like classical architecture, changes in building paralleled changes in culture. Gothic works tended to be tall, inspiring, and meant to withstand the ravages of time. Structural improvements were massive, and even though this era only lasted 200 years, it would have a profound effect on any building style from then on. The epitome of the style was, of course, the cathedral, which was meant to convey humanity's communication with God. The technological improvements that allowed arches, high ceilings, and massive glass works were specific to the larger than life view of the Church, and to inspire the peasantry when attending special services (Frankl, 2001).
Gothic art and architecture is a Medieval movement that evolved out of omanesque art, in the mid-12th century, in Europe. It spread…… [Read More]
This type of fluidization announces the Renaissance and is probably an expression of the new opening that the society goes through as it comes out of the Middle Ages. A greater creative expression in literature or painting, for example, had to be matched by a similar trend in architecture.
Another interesting comparison with the previous Gothic styles is the fact that, in the past, the Gothic style was used almost exclusively for religious constructions, notably churches. With the Flamboyant Gothic, numerous secular buildings, either town halls, castles or individual houses are built in this style, more appropriate for the expression of an individual home.
Ornament seems to be the common denominator for most of the constructions that were created in a Flamboyant Gothic style starting with the middle of the 14th century and all the way into the 16th century. The preference for ornament over the simple construction elements has…… [Read More]
William of Occam formulated the principle of Occam's Razor, which held that the simplest theory that matched all the known facts was the correct one. At the University of Paris, Jean Buridan questioned the physics of Aristotle and presaged the modern scientific ideas of Isaac Newton and Galileo concerning gravity, inertia and momentum when he wrote:
...after leaving the arm of the thrower, the projectile would be moved by an impetus given to it by the thrower and would continue to be moved as long as the impetus remained stronger than the resistance, and would be of infinite duration were it not diminished and corrupted by a contrary force resisting it or by something inclining it to a contrary motion (Glick, Livesay and Wallis 107)
Thomas Bradwardine and his colleagues at Oxford University also anticipated Newton and Galileo when they found that a body moving with constant velocity travels distance…… [Read More]
Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monstrosity by Judith Halberstam
The Gothic Tradition
Judith Halberstam discusses many different facets of the Gothic tradition in the first chapter of her book entitled Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monstrosity. For the most part, this chapter is extremely dense and fragmented. The author spends the bulk of it discussing several different aspects of the Gothic, and telling the reader about things that she "will" discuss. As such, she covers a range of topic, yet none of them are done so in an amount of depth that will help the reader to understand the significance of these points.
Still, there are some basic points which she manages to make clear. She pinpoints the Gothic tradition as stemming from 18th century literature, and believes that this tradition has gone on to change media and reproduce itself within the medium of…… [Read More]
Portrayal of Gothic Femininities in "The Monk"
Written by Matthew Gregory Lewis in 1796, "The Monk" is a classic novel that is from Gothic literature. Female figures are used as symbols in many parts of the story, and the idea "gothic femininity" can be seen several times throughout the story. The setting fits with the Gothic theme as the story's beginning takes place in a mysterious church in Madrid, and the two main characters are both women. Leonella and her niece Antonia have come to the church to hear a great priest named Ambrosio speak, and what follows becomes both a romance and a tragedy. While waiting for Ambrosio to speak the two women tell their stories to a pair of men, Don Lorenzo and Don Christoval, and this conversation starts a chain of reactions that changes many lives. Lorenzo falls in love with Antonia, but she desires the priest…… [Read More]
It is interesting, however, that Coleridge chose to describe two women in a homoerotic situation since lesbianism was practically unheard of at the time whereas male homosexuality, though illegal, was at least recognized. It's even more interesting in the face of Coleridge's history of unease with women (Grossberg 152).
The two main characters in this piece are Christabel and Geraldine. Geraldine's appearance coincides with a mysterious sound that is never identified, and is but one indication of her supernatural origins. It has been suggested that Geraldine is the first appearance of a vampire in literature, though she is referred to as a witch in the text itself. She has a strongly homoerotic connection to Christabel, one of Sir Leoline's, the baron who owns the castle where the poem takes place, daughters. Christabel is enchanted by Geraldine, whether literally or figuratively, though she is terrified as well. Essentially Christabel and Geraldine…… [Read More]
Music, Art, Literature Trends
From impressionism to pop art, jazz to hip hop, science fiction to beat poetry, artistic, musical, and literary expressions have varied considerably between 1870 and 2005. The period between the end of the nineteenth century to the current day can be generally described as the modern and postmodern eras. The beginning of the modern era, during the final decades of the nineteenth century, coincided with the Industrial evolution. Along with fascination with modern technology and optimism for the future came simultaneous disillusionment. However, modern technological advancements have made such widespread creativity possible. Social and political trends have also influenced creative endeavors, and vice-versa. Art, music, and literature are more accessible and more possible to create than they ever were in the past. The modern era has been characterized by an overall flourishing of the expressive arts, but some trends have a more lasting significance than others.…… [Read More]
role of religion in the history of European society is a tumultuous one. Christianity, from its obscure beginnings in the classical age, eventually took the reins as the centerpiece of philosophical, literary, and scientific thought. It is true that religion, often, tends to justify actions that might objectively be perceived as incongruous to the established faith. It has historically been the case that when traditional forms of worship become threatened, morally questionable methods are undertaken to strengthen the order. This is certainly the case with Christianity. Since the birth of the Catholic Church in the Roman Empire, Church officials have actively attempted to make their privileged positions in society impervious to assault -- this process has progressed for centuries and, indeed, tens of centuries. For many years this single faith dominated nearly every aspect of European society and was a strong force in maintaining the status quo. However, the many…… [Read More]
The unusual event of resurrection is a theme particularly apparent within the stories "The Fall of the House of Usher" and "Ligeia." In the latter story resurrection occurs after the Lady Rowena's corpse finally resurrects itself into the form of Lady Ligeia. In the former story "resurrection" actually occurs when the Lady Madeline, after recovering from her cataleptic state, manages to escape from her tomb. In two of Poe's stories certain unusual and grotesque events occur that are unique to those tales. The story "illiam ilson" contains a doppelganger theme, which is unique to it. In the story "The Masque of the Red Death" the uniquely violent and unusual event is the characters unknowingly making an unfortunate encounter with the personification of the Red Death disease while they are busily engaged in their festivities.
Bizarre forms of death are a pervasive feature in Poe's short stories. Nowhere is it more…… [Read More]
The most salient motif connecting Basho's "Oku no Hosomichi" with Kyoka's "The Holy Man of Mount Koya" is the journey. A journey provides the pivotal experience for the hero, who is personally transformed by the journey. The hero's journey is more than one of self-discovery, for through the journey, they hero touches upon deeper metaphysical issues. The heroes on their respective journeys in these two stories undergo similar emotional experiences and transformations. For example, both struggle to face and overcome their own fears. Both Basho and the narrator of "The Holy Man of Mount Koya" need to go through extreme weariness during the process of the journey, for from their point of exhaustion a new type of energy may arise. Sexuality and erotic imagery is present, albeit in subtle and symbolic ways, in these two journeys. Thus, issues related to temptation become important lessons for the heroes. Finally,…… [Read More]
Dracula is a far more traditional Gothic novel in the classic sense than the four books of the Twilight series, in which Bella Swan and her vampire lover Edward Cullen never even fully consummate their relationship until they are married in the third book Eclipse, and Bella does not finally get her wish to become a vampire until the fourth and final book Breaking Dawn. Far from being Edward's victim, or used as a pawn and discarded, she is eager to leave her dull, empty middle class life behind and become part of the Cullen vampire family. When she nearly dies giving birth to their half-vampire daughter, Edward finally does 'turn' her to save her life, and to paraphrase the title of the old song, we can only hope that she is satisfied. Bella in fact is a very traditional and conservative character, including her religion and even…… [Read More]
Gothic and Edgar Allan Poe's Tamerlane And Other Poems
The writing of Edgar Allan Poe will always be connected to the gothic style of literature because Poe used death, mourning and sadness as major themes, and his first published work actually shows some of the style that would make him famous later in life. Published in 1827 when Poe was just a young man of 18-years old, the book Tamerlane and Other Poems contained several poems written when Poe was just a teenager. Because the poetry was the work of such a young man, Poe made sure to tell readers in the Preface that "they were of course not intended for publication; why they are now published concerns no one but himself. Of the smaller pieces very little need be said: they perhaps savour too much of egotism; but they were written by one too young to have any knowledge…… [Read More]
American and European Literature
Suggesting that there is a fundamental difference between American and European literature means much more than acknowledging that the culture produced by geographically distinct regions is similarly distinct, because it suggests that there are much deeper underlying symbols and tropes which mark these cultural productions as distinctly American or European regardless of the wide variety of genres and themes present in the literature of either region. hile the claim of an identifiable distinction between American and European literature feels accurate due to the clear differences between American and European culture, this claim requires critical examination because of the potential for stereotype and condescension inherent in it. Examining some of the more important factors which might produce a recognizable difference between these two canons, as well as the processes responsible for the formation of literary canons in the first place, reveals that the differences between American and…… [Read More]
evil" paradigm. However, unlike in earlier gothic works, there is no allusion to priests or monks as players on the side of "evil." In fact, the absence of religion and religious restraints appears to be an element of Stevenson's theme: Jekyll, acting on the doctrine of Rousseau, which is to follow one's "nature," unmoors himself from the restraints traditionally made available by religious conviction. Jekyll, being a man of science, rather than of theology, puts to test the doctrine that divorced the old world from the new, and what he finds is that the doctrine is not good. hile the earlier works of gothic horror (like The Monk) pointed out corruption within the clergy, Stevenson's gothic work appears to do the opposite: it points out the corruption in Naturalism: "I not only recognised my natural body from the mere aura and effulgence of certain of the powers that made up…… [Read More]
Parasites and Perverts: An Introduction to Gothic Monstrosity, by Judith Halberstam. Specifically, it will relate the essay to the movie Candyman, directed by Bernard ose.
In "Parasites and Perverts," Halberstam discusses the Gothic novel, and how it relates to horror writing and horror films today. According to Halberstam, classic Gothic writing embodies monstrosity, fear, sexuality, and horror. As the author notes, "Horror, I have suggested, exercises power even as it incites pleasure and/or disgust" (Halberstam 17). The film Candyman, by director Bernard ose, has much in common with Halberstam's definition of Gothic horror and monstrosity. The Candyman is a mythic urban legend that haunts the housing project Cabrini Green, located in a poor area of Chicago. The film begins just as many Gothic novels begin, with complete normalcy. The city from a distance looks normal, as does the life of Helen, a grad student studying urban legends. As Helen…… [Read More]
Sleepy Hollow: American Anxiety Via American Gothic
The early Americans lived in an America that many are unfamiliar with in this day. Early America was a fierce wilderness rife with uncharted territories and much uncertainty. Thus, there was no doubt that early Americans felt a great deal of anxiety: anxiety about their futures and anxiety about their decision to leave England. Published in 1820, the story, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" by ashington Irving is a classic example of American gothic fiction and is a strong representation of the anxiety of the early colonists. Many of the supernatural elements of the short story "Sleepy Hollow" demonstrate a sense of fear about what is, and a fear about the environment, along with an aggravated apprehension about what was to come.
The sense of grimness and gloom is present throughout Irving's story and are tools which he uses to set the tone…… [Read More]
French literature? (Pick as many as you think are correct)
Songs sung by traveling minstrels (troubadours) and entertainers and jesters (jongleurs)
Oral histories evoking the exploits of saints and kings
Long verse poems telling the stories of heroes like Charlemagne, knights and ladies and their confrontations with giants, monsters, and the supernatural world
The Renaissance - pick out which of the following elements characterize the changes and innovations of the Renaissance era in France - the late 15th century to the early 17th century.
An interest and celebration of the arts and thinking of ancient Greece and Rome
An attraction to humanism - a view of the world where individual choices direct one's actions more so than religious conviction
Royal support for music, architecture, and art
The bubonic plague
The Hundred Years War
Which of the following were important Renaissance writers?…… [Read More]
hits the bestseller list with Stephen King's name on it, Pet Sematary is a book full of horrors, the kind of book designed to make you draw up your feet and tuck them firmly underneath you while you are reading it just in case anything truly vile should find its way into your home and begin creeping across your floor in search of a tender bit of young, uncooked meat for a snack. King intends to scare us, and it's hard to imagine that anyone could read this book without at least a few episodes of goosebumps. And yet, while the book is certainly a model of competent writing and the effect is certainly spooky, it could have been a much stronger story had it been told from a different perspective. This paper examines the character of Victor Pascow as a way of delving into the important themes in the…… [Read More]
Aristotelian influence predominated together with the wisdom and learning of other ancient writers, while the former was often used as a framework for intellectual debates which readily expanded both philosophy and other areas of knowledge (Grant 127-131). The European university system was established alongside monasteries as centres for the propagation of knowledge. Scholars like Robert Grosseteste, Albertus Magnus, and Roger Bacon wrote about natural science to a growing audience. While Christianity did not recede as a dogmatic cultural system, it was not entirely determinative. Scholars could explore natural phenomena with an openness to past views, although often the learning acquired was purely rational rather than experimental, and was fused with a biblical worldview. In other words, the renaissance of the twelfth century played an integral part in transmitting scientific methodology within a predominantly religious environment that required thinkers to harmonise science with religion.
Other significant achievements took place in less…… [Read More]
Neo-French Gothic evival: The Fletcher-Sinclair Mansion
Over a century old, the Fletcher-Sinclair mansion in New York is a good example of late 19th century Gothic revival and today, the building is registered as a National Historic Landmark. The mansion was named for Isaac D. Fletcher, a prominent New York City investor and banker, and Harry F. Sinclair, an oil tycoon who was subsequently caught up in the scandal-ridden administration of President Warren G. Harding. Currently, the mansion serves as the long-time home for the Ukrainian Institute of America and remains a popular destination for students, architects and others who are interested in neo-Gothic evival architecture in the United States. This paper reviews the relevant literature to describe the building in informal and historical terms, relating it to larger trends in the 19th century architecture and society and to provide an analysis concerning how this building reflects the forms ideas and…… [Read More]
She writes, "Here the slippage between animal and human invokes the Hegelian horror of slavery, a dialectic which finally reduces the master to 'brute' or a 'monster'" (Ginsberg 116). This is more than an analysis of the short story; it is an analysis of slavery and its effect on gothic literature at the time.
The significance of this article is clear. It shows that Poe was not writing simply horror fiction to shock and confuse, he was writing social commentary significant to the time. It illuminates this particular work and makes it more effective, but it is also a deep looking into other slave narratives and experiences, and how they relate to Poe's writing. The author proves her point by consistently citing other works, from texts on slavery to narratives, so the overall article is extremely effective.
Ginsberg, Lesley. "Slavery and the Gothic Horror of Poe's 'The Black Cat'."…… [Read More]
Poe's The Fall Of The House Of Usher
Of all the authors to employ use of the Gothic style in their poetry or prose, none mastered the craft more than Edgar Allen Poe. The classic American fiction writer specialized in fostering a unique sense of dread and terror for his readers by successfully using elements of the Gothic genre such as the grotesque, or distorted imagery and setting, mysterious circumstances and a slowly building and suspenseful pace. The short story which best displays Poe's use of Gothic literary themes is believed by many to be The Fall of the House of Usher, his hauntingly disturbing depiction of a man's descent into madness and the consequences that unbridled fear can ultimately have. Considered to be a masterpiece of Gothic prose, Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher touches on all of the centerpieces of the genre, including perfectly chosen diction…… [Read More]
First, evil in Sleepy Hollow is more equating with a satirical view that, in this case, evil is a more benign humor, bumbling, caustic in disrupting the town, and, as it was in Ancient Greek and oman drama, simply more of an irritant than planned destruction. Focusing again on the time period, our first introduction to this theme is one of Dutch New York against Urban New England. The Dutch community is sylvan, nostalgically conceived, changeless, and an Eden for its inhabitants. Ichabod arrives as a Yankee whose spoiling of this Eden simply cannot be tolerated -- and even more, by marrying the daughter of a wealthy and high-ranking community member, becoming part of Eden himself. This simply could not happen to a community that is so "European in nature."
Sleepy Hollow, as a town is clearly Dutch, with Dutch values, culture, and mores, or for riving, "population, manners, and…… [Read More]
"O Sylvan ye! thou wanderer thro' the woods, / How often has my spirit turned to thee!" (http://www.uoregon.edu/~rbear/ballads.html) Now, the poet wishes to "transfer" the healing powers of nature that he himself has experienced to his sister. By stating."..Nature never did betray / the heart that loved her" (http://www.uoregon.edu/~rbear/ballads.html) ordsworth assures his sister that she will also find peace in the middle of nature if she believes in the communion with nature. This prediction is an artifice of the poem and is not simple. "ordsworth's ability to look to the future to predict memories of events that are happening in the present is ingenious and complicated. But ordsworth beautifully clarifies this concept by using nature as the ideal link between recollection, foresight, and his relationship with another."(Eilenberg, Susan. Strange power of Speech: ordsworth, Coleridge, and Literary Possession. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992).
Moreover, by imagining the future of his…… [Read More]
In the beginning, the narrator describes that the house has not yet fallen, but that the decay of the building is so extreme, it is unlikely to remain upright for long. The same is true of the people inside. They live in a kind of living death, waiting for the end to claim them.
The idea of dual life and death culminates in Roderick's sister, whose image in perceived death is one of smiling peace, almost as if still alive. The narrator's comparison of her similarity to her brother can be interpreted both literally and more supernaturally. As Roderick explains, they are twins. It is only however when he believes her to have died that the narrator makes this comparison, indicating a rather more morbid interpretation: she is dead, and he is close to it.
In terms of life and death, reality and the supernatural appear to merge when the…… [Read More]
Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers is a tale involving five main characters that struggle against the isolation and despair brought on by circumstances in their lives. The story takes place during the late 1930's in an unnamed deep Southern town. McCullers begins the story by introducing the deaf-mute John Singer; he used to live with his friend Spiros Antonapoulos who was also a deaf-mute. Singer doted on his friend a great deal even though it was apparent that Antonapoulos never showed any appreciation towards it. Later Antonapoulos became mentally ill and was taken away to an insane asylum despite Singer's protestations. Due to this, Singer had to move out of the home he once shared with his friend and become a boarder at the house of the Kelly's.
Biff Brannon and Jake Blount are next introduced in the story. Biff runs a popular local restaurant named the…… [Read More]
Magic in "The Castle of Otranto" and "The Monk"
The 18th century had created one of the most popular genres in Western Literature, which is referred to as Gothic Literature. The Gothic literature genre began with the publication of Horace Walpole's novel entitled, "The Castle of Otranto" in 1765 (Gothic Experience 2003). The term "Gothic" connotes the "medieval style" that Walpole uses in his novel (Guran 1999). Elements of Gothic literature that is evident in Walpole's novel includes the elements of terror or horror, fear, strong emotions, and the pursuit of the protagonist for or against evil. "The Castle of Otranto" is a novel that focuses around the life of Manfred, Prince of Otranto, and his obsession in prolonging his power in his kingdom through his sons. Manfred's eternal pursuit for power and dominance is evident in the conflict that happens between him and the people in his castle, wherein…… [Read More]
Role of omen in the Dead
To be sure, James Joyce's The Dead is one of the best examples of the short story in English Literature. Indeed, the artistry, depth of feeling, and acute insights into the human psyche are all on striking display in the piece. However, although many note the remarkable internal angst of Gabriel, and the role of the obvious theme of death and "the dead" throughout the story, there remains a strong theme of women, and their role as "catalyst touchstones" grounding Gabriel as well as the reader in the realization of the inevitability of suffering and death.
One of the interesting aspects of interpreting any of the works of Joyce as feminist in nature, is the common criticism of Joyce's actual life. One typical example of this problem is touched on in the article "Banking on Joyce," in which he is described as despising intellectual…… [Read More]
The novels "Catch-22" and "Something Happened" demonstrates the inevitable presence of black humor, irrationality and immorality that prevails in times of war or conflict in human society, as humans pursue power and superiority -- that is, survival (of the fittest).
Outlining of the three major themes discussed in the paper, namely: black humor, irrationality, and immorality in Catch-22, mainly centering on the characters in the novel. Comparison of "Catch-22" against another Heller novel, "Something Happened."
Illustrations of lack Humor in "Catch-22" vis-a-vis "Something Happened"
Demonstrations of irrationality in "Catch-22" vis-a-vis "Something Happened"
Presence of immorality in "Catch-22" vis-a-vis "Something Happened"
Heller's consistent portrayal of humanity as ultimately irrational and immoral portrays humans' innate need to survive regardless of the means by which they achieve it (survival).
Conclusion: Reiteration of the thesis statement
lack Humor, Irrationality and Immorality of Human Society as Portrayed in Joseph Heller's novels (Catch-22…… [Read More]
shades of colorful descriptions, the prevalent mood, characters of Jane and Rochester as portrayed by the author as well as the use of language and image patterns in the novel Jane Eyre penned down by the popular author of the Victorian and the contemporary age, Charlotte Bronte. The orks Cited appends one source in MLA format.
Jane Eyre, the masterpiece by Charlotte Bronte conveniently made it to the victory stand and tops the list of some of the world's best literary works because of the skillful blending of various themes and several thought-provoking issues enveloped in the novel. It follows the rules of the Gothic literature and the intense mythic quality of Jane Eyre differentiates it from the modern literary text. Jane Eyre is no doubt a Victorian Novel, addressing the norms of the Victorian society, the societal pressures compelling women to remain suppressive and inducing chauvinistic attitude in men…… [Read More]
Old Nurse's Story
Elizabeth Gaskell's "The Old Nurse's Story" uses gothic imagery and Victorian themes to elucidate the role and status of women. Online critics claim the story is filled with themes of "male domination, females' sense of powerlessness due to this dominance, and the ambiguous results of women's struggle against males in the Victorian era," ("The Damning Effects of a Patriarchal Society in "The Old Nurse's Story" and "The Yellow allpaper"). Indeed, these three core elements are absolutely evident in this haunting tale about rediscovering personal identity via encounters with the past. The motif of haunting allows the past to return to the present in eerie ways. Relying on ghosts allows the author to present the suggestion that the past haunts the lives of all individuals, and that women have trouble extricating themselves from negative situations because of the constraints of dead social institutions and norms.
However, Hughes and…… [Read More]
Faced with a social system that has no place for him, Tom does not rebel or repress himself, but merely creates a place for himself by dissolving into the background, becoming part of the hidden (and criminal) world that is a de facto product of any inequitable social system.
As mentioned above, Highsmith wrote for a number of comic books in the 1940s, and almost all of them were concerned with white male superheroes who had been given extraordinary powers or technology. There is a subtle joke about this fact early on, when Tom notes that his most recent victim "was a comic-book artist. He probably didn't know whether he was coming or going" (Highsmith 14). Thus, almost from the beginning Highsmith has made a connection between Tom and the world of comic books, a connection that helps explain Tom's eventual narrative journey.
hen looking at Tom's story in broad…… [Read More]
What is Horror?
According to Sigmund Freud, das unheimliche -- or the uncanny -- can be defined as something that is familiar and unfamiliar at the same time. In horror films, the uncanny can be achieved through the depiction of a series of events that will lead a character into a dangerous situation without the implicit description or portrayal of what the danger is. Horror is much more effective if danger and violence is left to the viewer's imagination because it is then influenced by an individual's personal fears. If a director explicitly shows danger or violence, the individual is then forced to accept the director's depiction without psychologically engaging in the suspense as much as they could have done if danger or violence was only implied.
In terms of horror as a genre, the true masters of horror are the writers of Gothic literature who helped to define…… [Read More]
If one goes back to Plato and examines what the Greek philosopher had to say about beauty and truth, one discovers the foundation of the transcendental spirit in the est. The Greek philosophers -- Socrates, Plato, Aristotle -- more or less constructed the philosophical lens for how to portray ideals such as unum, bonum, verum -- the one, the good and the true. Beauty was viewed from within this framework, as another aspect of the transcendental quality of goodness and truth. Plato, through his Socratic discourse, sought a way to examine and define the sense of beauty and truth from a universal and transcendent perspective, a theme that Keats would echo centuries later when he stated that "Beauty is truth, truth beauty" in his "Ode on a Grecian Urn," a Romantic Era poem. Thus, for centuries, this has been a topic that philosophers and artists have explored: How are…… [Read More]
" However, when Mary moves with William to the country, it shows another aspect of English life that is not as lavish as the court. The author writes, "She taught me how to churn butter and how to make cheese. She taught me how to bake bread and to pluck a chicken, a dove, or a game bird. It should have been easy and delightful to learn such important skills. I was absolutely exhausted by it" (Gregory 507). This shows how hard the people work every day just to survive, while the royal court really has very little to do but amuse themselves.
This was not a time of great industrialization and invention. England was more medieval than adventuresome during this time, and there were still knights and jousting tournaments. While England was becoming a European force, it was through wars and political maneuvering rather than in industrialization and exploration.…… [Read More]
The Gothic and Renaissance were tumultuous periods in terms of art and architecture. These were times of wild creativity and rapid development when it came to style and subject matter. Artists and architects used not only their own minds and current cultural milieu to create their works, but gained significant depth of expression by acknowledging the traditions of the past. These were used to mold new ideas and new ways of art in a way that was unprecedented at the time. Two examples of this kind of development are Nicola Pisano's marble pulpit of the Pisa Cathedral and Hieronymus osch's "The Last Judgment."
Description of Artifacts
Nicola Pisano's marble pulpit in the Pisa Cathedral is a remarkable work indeed. Supported by nine columns, the pulpit is shaped like an octagon and placed on semi-circular arches. Three of the columns are supported by marble lions. The main octagon contains…… [Read More]
Most individuals fail to appreciate life to the fullest because they concentrate on being remembered as some of the greatest humans who ever lives. This makes it difficult for them to enjoy the simple pleasures in life, considering that they waste most of their time trying to put across ideas that are appealing to the masses. While many did not manage to produce ideas that survived more than them, others succeeded and actually produced thinking that remained in society for a long period of time consequent to their death.
Creativity is generally regarded as one of the most important concepts in society, considering that it generally induces intense feelings in individuals. It is responsible for progress and for the fact that humanity managed to produce a series of ideas that dominated society's thinking through time. In order for someone to create a concept that will live longer than him or…… [Read More]
The medieval period in English history spans across some 800 years. The Anglo-Saxon period consisted of literature that was retained in memory. The major influence of the literature up until the Norman Conquest was mainly of the religious kind. "Distinguished, highly literate churchmen (Abrams 4) the Ecclesiastical History of England remains our "most important source of knowledge about the Anglo-Saxon period" (4).
The Anglo-Saxons were primarily known for their contribution to poetry. Their alliterative form was, of course, how poetry survived. Sine they wrote nothing down until they were "Christianized," Abrams suggest that that Christian ideals influenced how things were recorded and it would also explain why some non-Christian literature did not survive. Beowulf is what Abrams refers to as the "greatest" German epic, even though it appears to many pre-Christian ideas. (4) Another example of the Anglo-Saxon writing movement would be Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Chaucer brilliantly weaves…… [Read More]
The Vampire Chronicles, Anne Rice's series of contemporary novels, contained fascinating tales of love and death using the gory and overtly sexual vampire mythology as a literary backdrop. The vampire aesthetic of immortality, bloodlust and gothic art provide a romantic backdrop to Rice's thrilling work and character development. Throughout these novels, the vampire character, Lestat de Lioncourt, was often the focus of the violently romantic stories of these superhuman creatures that prey upon humans and drink blood to survive. Lestat, or "The Brat Prince" as he is often named, is a bisexual, immortal being, known as a fan of art and music provided the context of these stories. The purpose of this essay is to compare and contrast the Lestat character, and his varying levels of authority and power described in the two novels Interview with a Vampire, and Queen of the Damned.
Interview With A Vampire, Rice's first…… [Read More]
Poe, Fall of the House of Usher
Edgar Allan Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher" is perhaps the best-known American entry into the genre of Romantic and Gothic tale, yet it is worth asking what elements actually identify it as such. Spitzer describes the level of Gothic excess here:
Roderick and Madeline, twins chained to each other by incestuous love, suffering separately but dying together, represent the male and the female principle in that decaying family whose members, by the law of sterility and destruction which rules them, must exterminate each other; Roderick has buried his sister alive, but the revived Madeline will bury Roderick under her falling body. The "fall" of the House of Usher involves not only the physical fall of the mansion, but the physical and moral fall of the two protagonists. (Spitzer 352).
To a certain degree, this marks Poe's story out for particular…… [Read More]
A description of the entrance of Elmer Stark, father of Eddy and Tony, into the world of the story makes both the masculine and the feminine exotic, other, and unknowable, while at the same time igniting tensions and passions -- outright lust, in fact -- between them in a fetishization of the other. Nettie, the Stark matriarch, is described watching this stranger wash, "his naked shoulders, the gleam of his skin, and the lines of charred bronze where the sun had burned his neck and wrists, the faint red-gold of the hairs that edged from under his belt at his waist" (Lane, p. 144). This description makes it clear that Elmer is not being viewed as a human, but as an other, just as Nettie is creating her own distance and just as distances were created with the native peoples through such objectification. ith such beginnings as these, it is…… [Read More]
All without distinction were branded as fanatics and phantasts; not only those, whose wild and exorbitant imaginations had actually engendered only extravagant and grotesque phantasms, and whose productions were, for the most part, poor copies and gross caricatures of genuine inspiration; but the truly inspired likewise, the originals themselves. And this for no other reason, but because they were the unlearned, men of humble and obscure occupations. (Coleridge iographia IX)
To a certain extent, Coleridge's polemical point here is consistent with his early radical politics, and his emergence from the lively intellectual community of London's "dissenting academies" at a time when religious non-conformists (like the Unitarian Coleridge) were not permitted to attend Oxford or Cambridge: he is correct that science and philosophy were more active among "humble and obscure" persons, like Joseph Priestley or Anna Letitia arbauld, who had emerged from the dissenting academies because barred (by religion or gender)…… [Read More]
The Subjective over the Objective
Modernism was a reaction against Realism and its focus on objective depiction of life as it was actually lived. Modernist writers derived little artistic pleasure from describing the concrete details of the material world and the various human doings in it. They derived only a little more pleasure from describing the thoughts of those humans inhabiting the material world. Their greatest pleasure, however, was in expressing the angst, confusion, and frustration of the individual who has to live in that world. (Merriam-Webster, p. 1236).
Modernist writers used novel means for expressing these newly intense emotions. They did not always express the individual's confusion and frustration by relating the inner discourse of the individual. Instead, they manipulated the structure, style, and content of their works to cultivate a certain effect on the reader. (aym, Vol. D, p. 17). They wanted to convey the experience…… [Read More]
"My gracious Lord," said Hippolita, "let us submit ourselves to heaven. Think not thy ever-obedient wife rebels against thy authority. I have no will but that of my Lord and the Church." (alpole, Chapter 4) Despite Manfred's attempt to control the world, the forces of heaven cannot be thwarted in their determination to right the wrongs committed by Manfred's grandfather, Ricardo, and prevent Manfred from committing further mischief. The characters experience helplessness and terror in the face of the forces of beyond, rather than any sense of empowerment that they can control them with science. Morality, rather than reason enables them to survive.
The realism that alpole perceives in his narrative is the morality that the characters struggle with, in attempting to do the 'correct' thing. Finally, at the end of the novel, Manfred realizes his ancestor's crimes and repents: "Thou guiltless but unhappy woman! Unhappy by my crimes!" Manfred…… [Read More]
Mary Shelley & Ellen Moers
Creation and Abortion: The Creator's Dilemma in Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" as analyzed by Ellen Moers
In the essay, "Female Gothic: the Monster's Mother," author Ellen Moers provided a new perspective in interpreting Mary Shelley's Gothic cum science fiction novel, "Frankenstein." In the essay, she discussed the parallelisms between the Mary Shelley and the character of Victor Frankenstein, which she both considered as "creators." One parallelism that stands out in the lives of Shelley and Frankenstein is their being both creators and destructors of human life. The 'creator's dilemma' is when Shelley and Frankenstein experienced giving "birth" to life while also being responsible for its death upon its birth.
This argument presented by Moers is given central focus in this paper. Using her argument that the novel "Frankenstein" presented the "creator's dilemma," where creators Shelley and Frankenstein both became creators and destructors of human life. This…… [Read More]
Plato's Phaedo and STC's "Christabel"
In Phaedo 80ff, Socrates outlines Plato's theory of Forms, particularly attempting to prove that the eternal Forms are of divine origin. Through analogy with the living body and the dead body, Socrates in dialogue with Cebes forces his interlocutor to admit that the body-soul dualism admits to a qualitative difference between the two, and then Socrates begins to describe the separation of body and soul, such as we would describe as a ghost:
"And, my friend, we must believe that the corporeal is burdensome and heavy and earthly and visible. And such a soul is weighed down by this and is dragged back into the visible world, through fear of the invisible and of the other world, and so, as they say, it flits about the monuments and the tombs, where shadowy shapes of souls have been seen, figures of those souls which were not…… [Read More]
e see the creative mind at work in "The Fall of the House of Usher" as Poe creates a parallel between the house and Roderick. The suspense with this thriller is heightened with the fact that the narrator is inches from the same fate as Roderick. There is undeniable connection between the two that is never fully disclosed. The narrator looks for logical ways to explain what occurs in the home and he also wishes to find out the reason behind Roderick's agitation. Interestingly, Roderick believes the house is the source of all of his tension, yet he rarely leaves the house. The image of the house sinking dramatizes Roderick's sinking state of mind. In essence, both are experiencing a type of split. The house is sitting upon an unstable foundation and Roderick does not attempt to fool anyone by denying he suffers from a mental disorder that shakes his…… [Read More]
Yet, we also see that he still does not understand the true origin of the beast -- the human within. The fact that he dies before he is successful, yet the monster obviously goes off to end his own fate, indicates that the evil both originated, and eventually died with him -- the true source from which it sprang.
Victor Hugo's Hunchback: An Illustrative Device
In Victor Hugo's Hunchback of Notre Dame, there exists a strikingly similar theme -- if different in form. Although it is definitely true that Hugo's famous Quasimodo is a bit more innocuous than the Frankenstein monster, he nonetheless evokes a certain horror if only in appearance. Yet, much like in Shelley's work, Hugo brings out the monster that is human nature within the other character's interactions, motivations, and actions in the story.
There is little question that Hugo fully intended Quasimodo to evoke horror in…… [Read More]
Edgar Allen Poe is one of the most famous American authors, but many of his works are not explicitly about the American experience. His "gothic" fiction is filled with suspense, the macabre, the grotesque, and the dark side of human nature. However, a deeper analysis of Poe's works can reveal parallels between his fiction and the American experience. One of Poe's works that can particularly symbolize and exemplify the American experience is his short story "The Fall of the House of Usher." While Poe may not have intended the symbolism and motifs in "The Fall of the House of Usher" to represent the American experience, there are several elements in the story that show that the author was at least on some level aware of the connection. In several ways, Edgar Allen Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher" is a parable of the American experience because the author…… [Read More]
SYMBOLIC THEMES OF MYSTERY AND THE SUPERNATURAL IN SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDE'S
RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER
In Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner," considered by many scholars as the quintessential masterpiece of English Romantic poetry, the symbolic themes of mystery and the supernatural play a very crucial role in the poem's overall effect which John Hill Spencer sees as Coleridge's "attempt to understand the mystery surrounding the human soul in a universe moved by forces and powers... immanent and transcendent" (157). Yet the Mariner himself appears to be trapped in this supernatural world as a result of ghostly manifestations which emanate from the realms of the unknown.
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" was first published in Lyrical Ballads in 1798, a collection of poetry written and published jointly by Coleridge and his good friend William Wordsworth. Yet the text of the poem generally in use today appeared…… [Read More]
Giaour is cursed to be a vampire as punishment, while Ruthven seems to revel in the power and the role this gives him. He also describes women as adulteresses and worse and treats them as fodder for his needs on every level. Aubrey notes this and does not like it, but he also does not manage to escape from the man or his way of life. In the end, his own sister is destroyed by this man, just as was Ianthe and countless others.
Of course, Giaour also indulges in illicit sex with Leila, certainly illicit in the Muslim social order, though it would be in Europe as well. Leila's relationship with Hassan would also be seen as illicit in Europe, though, which is why Byron makes the point of noting that this sort of arrangement was more common in the past than it is in his own time. In…… [Read More]
Fall of the House of Usher
Although Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher" is a work of gothic horror, it is worth noting that the story's meaning is constructed in part by the use of puns. I do not use the word "pun" to refer to a joking play on words, but rather on the conscious use of a word that plays upon two potential meanings: the effect is rhetorical rather than humorous. The first of these puns is obvious and is contained in the title: E. Arthur Robinson notes the double meaning whereby "the House of the title refers both to Usher's lineage and to his ancestral home" (Robinson 69). In other words, Roderick Usher's death is the end of the "House of Usher" -- his family bloodline -- but it is also marked, terrifyingly, by the literal collapse of an edifice. But I would like to…… [Read More]
One cannot build the right sort of house -- the houses are not really adequate, "Blinds, shutter, curtains, awnings, were all closed and drawn to keep out the star. Grant it but a chink or keyhole, and it shot in like a white-hot arrow." The stare here is the metonymic device -- we assume it is stranger, the outside vs. The inside, but for some reason, it is also the authority involved, and one that is able to ensure adequacy. In a similar vein, the "churches were freest from it," but they offer only an homage' to safety, and use their power to shut people out from the light that "made the eyes ache" and had been inhumanly oppressive. The prison, though, is "so repulsive a place that even the obtrusive star blinked at it and left it to such refuse of reflected light as could find." The stare is…… [Read More]
This is why wars are fought with bloodletting, why torture takes place, and why neither violence nor war is limited to the physical carnage of the battlefield.
The early death of Clifton's mother, as a result of having to powerlessly rely on a liar and a letch who could not provide for his family, is the ultimate example of self-inflicted violence, as is Gillman's character resorting to an expression of madness to resist her powerlessness. It was only slightly more "appropriate" for a women to realize madness as it was for her to throw herself from a three story window.
Clifton, Lucille "forgiving my father" in Schilb, John & Clifford, John. Making Literature Matter 3rd Edition. New York: Bedford, St. Martin's, 2005, 314.
Gelfant, Blanche H., and Lawrence Graver, eds. The Columbia Companion to the Twentieth-Century American Short Story. New York: Columbia University Press, 2000.
Gillman,…… [Read More]
age and several thousand miles separated Russian Alexander Pushkin and American Flannery O'Connor. This essay seeks to illustrate why they deserve to be considered as icons of world literature. Pushkin's body of works spans poetry -- romantic and political, essays, and novels. Influential music composers like Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Rimsky Korsakov and Tchaikovsky adapted the lyrical and dramatic elements of Pushkin's works. Flannery O'Connor's work, on the other hand, was largely restricted to short stories. The profundity of her work lies in its uniqueness -- not volume. Her stories hide gruesomeness, truth and religious thought that is not immediately obvious at a superficial level.
The short-story "The Queen of Spades," while not necessarily representative of all of Pushkin's work gives us an idea of the narrative skills that keep the reader on edge. (Pushkin, 1834) The twists in the story combine elements of fantasy. ut at heart this is a story…… [Read More]
And yet, the clockwork puppet, certainly but a shadow of a living woman, can only try to sing, try to move out from the shadows, out from the stereotype crushing her. The horrible marionette, in contrast, rather than singing, smoked its cigarette and tried to pretend it was alive. Finally, the utter hopelessness of the dark side of Victorian society comes out with the phrase, "The dead are dancing with the dead, the dust is whirling with the dust," evoking the funeral speak of "ashes to ashes, dust to dust," and the dead -- the underside of society, those with whom the proper Victorian had little use, pass from love to lust, from light to dark, tire of the game as they do the synthetic waltz, their shadows morphing into nothing as they continue to wheel and whirl, finally weary of it all.
The literary images of this poem, coupled…… [Read More]