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Gothic Essay: Dracula vs. the Lady in the House of Love

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Gothic Essay: Dracula vs. the Lady in the House of Love

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Gothic literature originated in the late 19th century and was a branch of the larger Romantic Movement. Like the Romantics, Gothic writers also endeavoured to provoke deep emotions in their readers, however their motive was to access the darker side of humanity and create an atmosphere of mystery, apprehension and extreme fear through the use of the genre’s conventions. Authors employ secluded and grotesque settings, supernatural beings and events, combines horror and romance as well as highlighting overwrought emotions. The ability to enthral reader’s emotions through the exploration of human weakness has allowed the Gothic genre to continue into the twenty-first century, modifying to reflect present societal concerns. The works of Bram Stroker’s in his novel Dracula and Angela Carter’s modern short story The Lady In The House of Love explore the concepts of Gothic setting and characterization through the use of description, symbolism, imagery, simile, sibilance and emotive language.

Dracula, first published by Bram Stroker in 1897, is considered to be one of the most famous texts in the Gothic genre. It is an epistolary novel, that tells the story about a powerful vampire’s attempt to move to England, which is unsuccessful as he seduces the beloved wife of one of the heroes of the tale and is then wanted dead by the hero and his friends. The account is set in England and Eastern Europe near the end of the 19th century. Stroker explores the crucial gothic themes of isolation, abandonment and horror using the eerie setting of Dracula’s home in London, Carfax Abbey, that is described as being ‘thick with dust’ and having ‘rusting hinges (that) creaked’. The composer uses the descriptive words ‘dust’ and ‘rusting’ as symbols of death or impending death. The description of this old place creates a sense of mystery on the reader, which helps to create an effect of uncertainty and fear.

The Lady in the House of Love is written by Angela Carter, one of...