Posted: June 16th, 2015

Gothic fiction

Gothic fiction

How appropriate do you find the gothic mode as a vehicle for exploring serious issues in the areas of, for example, philosophy, religion, morality? Discuss with reference to at least two of the texts listed bellow;

The Castle of Otranto
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein [orig.1818]
Edgar Allan Poe, The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Writings, ed. David Galloway (Penguin, 1986)
(The following stories for the text on Poe: ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’, ‘William Wilson’, ‘The Pit and the Pendulum, ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue’, The Gold Bug’.)
Bram Stoker, Dracula [orig.1897]
Daphne du Maurier, The Birds [ orig.1952] and Other Stories, Virago
Anne Rice, Interview with the Vampire, Time Warner 1976, reissued 2006

Discuss the view that gothic fiction may not be seen as ‘appropriate’ for the exploration of serious issues, and the reasons for this view. (E.g. g.f. as merely entertainment, not ‘first rate’.)
But look at the issues being explored in these texts alongside the ‘entertainment’ or sensationalist elements:
E.g.The Castle of Otranto – abuse of power in a male-dominated society; Frankenstein – many ethical issues, e.g. methods of creating human life, responsibility for one’s actions, consequences of not taking responsibility, the limitations of ambition; Interview with the Vampire – issues of faith, what it is to be human, what it means to kill

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