american Gothic introduction

Topics: Gothic fiction, Charles Brockden Brown, Short story Pages: 2 (435 words) Published: February 7, 2014
American Gothic as a distinctive American literature provides substantive insights into the history and culture of the United States. Its roots trace back to 18th century when in 1781 a highly religious farmer ritually murdered his wife and four kids after religious voices told him to. Beyond comprehension and strange story caught the attention of a lawyer Charles Brockden Brown, who later used motives of this bloody murder in his book Wieland (1798). The book is a story of conversion of mature and responsible man into a murderous monster. The horrific and irrational sins of the father haunt his son Theodore, who despite the illusions of liberty, finds himself in a tragic fate leading to repetition of the past. He drowns himself in the state of melancholy and due to father‘s strange death seeks for peace in religion. Ultimately, he begins to hear voices in his head that provokes him to do horrific things to his familiy. The role of the Gothic in this book is to metaphorically implement the horrible tendency within a generation, when son realizes his transformation to his father. Moreover, in order to highlight the picture, unnatural voices and mysterious events are added. Today, Charles Brockden Brown is generally regarded as the first American Gothic novelist, who created a work of gothic genre with explained supernatural occurences. According to Punter, American Gothic is a refraction of English. It means, that European Gothic has a connection with past, while American deals with present and the Gothic picture that Europe has created. The new writers were deeply influenced by the narrative settings, conflicts and motifs established by the writers of the other side of Atlantic. However, early American literature had peculiarities of their own which covered atmospheric gloom, the imminence of violence, mystery and classical Gothic places where the events took place (haunted hauses, tombs, castles). American writers not only based their writings on plots and...
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