Red Room and Monkeys Paw

Topics: Short story, Gothic fiction, Joyce Carol Oates Pages: 2 (906 words) Published: October 31, 2010
Gothic Fiction
In Victorian times there was a lot of controversy between the theories of superstition and science. There was a very public argument between the two, both enforcing different ideas about different aspects of life. The reason for this was because Charles Darwin had come up with the theory of evolution and had gone against all beliefs in religion and in God. Many people disagreed with his theories and idea’s and still chose to believe God created the world and everything on it. Both superstition and science are both used in gothic fiction but in the fashion of religion against technology. I will be comparing two short stories and see how they explore these conventions of gothic fiction. The Monkeys Paw, W.W. Jacobs, written by and The Red Room, H.G. Wells, are two both similar stories. They both share one of the main conventions of gothic fiction, gloomy weather. The Monkey’s Paw is situated in a remote place, ‘That’s the worst of living so far out’. This adds drama because it shows that if something was to happen then nobody would be able to help the White family. It is set on a cold, wet night filled with darkness. A stormy atmosphere can also provide an eerie feeling and once again add to the idea of an evil place. The Red Room is set in an old castle. Like Jacobs, Wells uses the weather to create the feeling for the story. ‘The moonlight coming in picked out everything in vivid black shadow, or silvery illumination.’ This helps the reader to picture the scene. In this story there seems to be a lot more emphasis on the Gothic Horror idea. Long dark passages and spiral staircases are also part of this setting. It is important for both stories to have dark and dreary weather so it creates a gloomy atmosphere, which could be used as pathetic fallacy. The weather could be used to represent the feelings and thoughts of the characters. Most gothic fiction tales will have similar weather for this reason. One of the main differences between the two...
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