In the Vampire of Kaldenstein the narrator is on holiday, a normal activity but when he gets lost and stumbles upon a strange village his personality starts to change from the shy, unsociable man that refused to go on a cruise ship alone to a intrepid explorer determine to know the truth the hard way. It is clear that different surroundings can put people in different moods, if it didn’t personalities could hardly exist. However Gothic fiction takes these mood swings to extremes, so much so that it often changes the personality of the character perpetually. This is most prominent in Victor as the torment continues over time Victor’s mind can only dream of what life was like before.
Conventional scenery of Gothic fiction can be divided into three sections, buildings, weather, and situations or positioning of the scene. Buildings are often large stately family homes. The fact that the buildings are old means they have a lot of history and sometimes parts of this history are inexplicable, giving a mysterious atmosphere, ‘the castle stood out against a cloudless sky like some magic castle in a fairy tale’ (part 1).
Pathetic fallacy can be used to accentuate emotions of the characters; the high energy of a thunderstorm can make an argument seem more passionate and intense. ‘ The air was cold, and the rain again began to descend; we entered the hut, the fiend with an air of exultation.’ (Chap 10). The moon being the only natural light at night time is often used in Gothic fiction to cut through obscurity as a contrast to the dark ‘In the bright moonlight’ (part 4).
Small children are often afraid of the dark as there is a fearsome amount of secrecy and unknowing about it, things can happen that wouldn’t usually happen in the day and one can be completely oblivious to it if asleep. The way the safety of the narrators’ bedroom is disturbed by the count of Kaldenstein in the middle of the night with the moon shining brightly. The contrast between light and dark is a well-used feature of Gothic fiction. Whether it’s flicking candles or a flashlight, when darkness is dominant uncanny happenings often begin.
The settings in which these sinister actions take place are mostly described as isolated. A small village not marked on the map to a desolate mountain uninhabited therefore deserted. If other people were present then the supernatural elements would probably not happen as if you are on your own and something truly unbelievable happens then it is more likely that you would dismiss it as a dream and perhaps a small token would be left as evidence it was real, however if a lot of people all witness a paranormal experience then it would be thought a convincing trick or illusion, and all the people would come up with their own theory as to what they just saw.
When Gothic fiction was most popular; in the Victorian era, religion and superstition were also much more popular, consequently the supernatural element of texts like these were more believable and therefore more formidable. ‘With greater speed than the flight of an eagle’ (Chap 17) The Vampire of Kaldenstein not only uses supernatural but sudden aberration to create an unnatural atmosphere, ‘in a moment he was bending over the blood on the table and licking it up with obvious relish’, this often proves more frightful in modern day as it is the persons idiosyncrasy that is abnormal not the natural laws that have been broken.
The conventions of Gothic fiction are very distinctive compared to those of other genres, it is clear that a story containing vampires and adventure is likely to be aimed at scaring the reader. Both of the texts we have studied show features on the characters, scenery and mysterious tribulations, which can be interpreted in different ways. Even when watching the film version of ‘Frankenstein’ imagination is used to put oneself in the same position in an attempt to understand.