Horror Genre

This poem has the effect of making the reader feel edgy. The Raven’s tapping seems endless to link the idea of madness. “While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of someone gently rapping – rapping at my chamber door.” The assonance in the words “napping”, “rapping” and “tapping” gives the relentless noise, which is intended to drive the reader crazy and emphasises that fact the there is no peace or rest from the tapping.

Poe used many effects in his stories. Near the end of “The Fall of the House of Usher”, he comments on the “radiance of the blood of the red moon.” This example of pathetic fallacy could be taken to signify the end of the world. His work, like many other Gothic writers, has underlying messages entwined in his storylines. In Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”, there are several lines that include pathetic fallacy to emphasise the mood, “…bathed in sot yellow moonlight, till it was almost as light as day. In thesoft light the distant hills became melted, and the shadows in the valleys and gorges of velvety blackness” Theses lines give the impression that the mood and the weather ere slightly unusual that day, and the use of the colours yellow and black, the colours of danger, show that although the scene was described as thought it is harmless, this is possibly not the case.

Many of the underlying messages were apparent as when Poe was describing “The House of Usher,” he said that there had been so many evil deeds done in the house, that the house itself becomes evil, and the idea that even when you die you are not at peace; one fresh death can not undo centuries of evil. The effect of using harmless objects such as animals, and changing them so that they become frightening, was commonly found in Gothic horror, In Dracula, Stoker included elements of animal behaviour through his writing when describing the count. “… begin to crawl down the castle wall over that dreadful abyss, face down, with his cloak spread around him like great wings.” “I saw the fingers and toe grasp the corners of the stones” “… move downwards with considerable speed, just as a lizard moves along a wall.” Mary Shelly, like Poe had underlying “morals” in her “Frankenstein”.

The most obvious was to think carefully before experimenting with life: a highly relevant lesson for that era, when there were many new developments in science and people in England were questioning ideas o God. This tale of Frankenstein, a student of the occult, and the subhuman monster he assembles from parts of human corpses added a new word to the English Language: A “Frankenstein” is any creation that ultimately destroys its creator. Her novel became popular because it was different. She too, like Poe, had experienced early death in her family. Another similarity between the two was that in their novels, the characters have an urgency to tell other people their stories, perhaps a direct link to some of the character in Poe’s novels

The modern “thriller” or detective novel may be regarded as a remote descendant of the Gothic Romance. These thrillers include motion picture works by Sir Alfred Hitchcock. His works could be said to contain elements of Gothic Horror. Hitchcock was noted for his psychologically complex thrillers. He used, for example, a continually clanging shop bell to convey the heroine’s feelings of guilt. This is reminiscent of the effects conveyed in “The Raven”. Revolving around the wildest improbabilities, the plots of these pictures have been likened to dreams or nightmares that take place in daylight. For example, a small town appears placid on the surface but reveals dark tensions underneath. An innocent man finds himself suddenly the object of guilt and suspicion. A wholesome- looking motel clerk is actually a psychotic killer who impersonates his dead mother, and chases culminate at such familiar landmarks as the Statue of Liberty and Mount Rushmore. These devises of taking ordinary occurrences and objects and twisting them are characteristic of the Gothic period.

“Mystery” novels may resemble Gothic romances, but the main difference is that unlike Gothic’s, mysteries reveal earthly, rather than super-natural, horrors although the element of suspense that marks Gothic’s is still present. Mystery fiction grew out of Gothic fiction as Victorians became increasingly accustomed to explanations of the unknown and unexpected that were based on reason, science and objective inquiry, Edgar Allen Poe’s stories such as “The Murder in the Rue Morgue” and “The Purloined Letter”, can be said to have had the central elements of a later developed “detective formula”, which nowadays is popular.

Many works of the late 20th century American Novelists, Stephen King and Anne Rice demonstrate the continued influence and popularity of the Gothic Form. Stephen King is an author whose horror and fantasy tales enjoy tremendous popular success. His thrilling plots and productive output helped re-establish horror fiction as a vital literary genre in the late 20th century. His works are known for turning ordinary situations- such as peer pressure, marital stress and infidelity- in to terrifying ones. These ideas originate directly from the Gothic era. His first novel, “Carrie”, was about a woman who exacts deadly revenge on her high-school classmates by using her powers of telekinesis, the ability to move objects without touching them.

On the young Adult section in a library, you will find over half the books are horror novels. Titles such as “Nightmares”, “Fear Street”, “Goosebumps” and most famous of all “Point Horror” are common, and all contain elements of Gothic Horror. The ideas of premature burial, life and death and Frankenstein/Dracula type horrors are some of the ideas for story lines and they all originate from the gothic Horror Genre.

The Gothic style has shown to be successful and popular with all ages and generations of readers. Even today, poets, writers and film directors are taking their inspiration from Gothic Literature. The Genre has evolved and developed into a new style adapted for the modern age. The Gothic Genre today has remained an elusive minor literary upheaval that has had immense influence on genres today. The literary motifs produced by Horace Warpole can be found scattered through all forms of Literature, yet the Gothic novel has been left and has all but vanished from the main body of western culture.

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