Which is an important element of gothic fiction is an essay about the major elements that make gothic fiction even more fascinating. The word “Gothic” originated in France in the 12th century. The first-ever mention of Gothic literature can be found in English writer Horace Walpole’s book called “The Castle of Otranto”. Walpole used the word Gothic to make his story appear as an antic and true story, even though it was fiction.
His story of love, death, and supernatural events fooled many to believe that they were true. His gothic novels paved way for many fictitious writers like Edgar Allan Poe and the Bronte sisters to come up with their versions of gothic literature.
What is Gothic Literature?
Before writing an essay on which is an important element of gothic fiction, we first have to define what gothic literature is. Gothic fiction is a literary genre that came about as a result of the larger Romance literature in the late 1700s. Terror, gruesomeness, narratives, supernatural elements, and dark scenery often characterize dark romanticism. As much as people are afraid of ghosts and haunted houses, they love reading about it if romance is involved.
Gothic writers write stories that thrill and fright, which is an important element of gothic fiction. Gothic novels entice and excite the readers with their dark gothic elements and gothic horror. This is because people love to be scared while reading a gothic novel.
Below are some of the important elements of gothic fiction that people love.
Elements of a Gothic Novel
When writing an essay on which is an important element of gothic fiction, you should first consider the elements individually. The main defining elements of gothic fiction incorporate similar themes and settings as those of the Middle Ages. With readers being fascinated by terror, they helped the narrative gain traction and popularize this genre.
Many aspects of gothic literature have made it interesting to audiences both in the past and in the present. Below are the various elements that make a gothic story so enticing;
A Haunting Setting
The first element of gothic literature is the gothic settings of the story. It is a key element since writers need to create a haunting setting if they are to get the expected reaction from their readers.
An example of a gothic atmosphere is a haunted house, isolated castle, desolate mansions, enchanting monasteries, and ruined buildings. These create an element of fear and terror in the characters and the reader.
A writer can sometimes use dark forests and wilderness to create a gothic atmosphere. Forests and wilderness are used in gothic horror to symbolize evil, sin, and immortality. In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, she uses haunted locations like graveyards and gloomy old castles to set the scene for Victor Frankenstein.
In the book ” Wuthering Heights” by Jane Eyre, the scene is also set in a gothic environment to emphasize supernatural events.
Fear and Mystery in the Gothic Story
Fear and mystery create a sense of suspense in the reader. An audience perceives anything beyond the understanding of science as a mystery. A lot of gothic writings include scenes, objects, and events like burials, flickering candles, evil potions, and many more frightful concepts.
Ann Radcliffe’s novel, ” The Mysteries of Udolpho” is a great example where fear and mystery are used. In the story, Emily St. Albert is an orphaned girl who is subjected to cruelty by her guardians and locked in a castle. This story is a strange case full of fearful events and a haunting atmosphere that encompasses the genre for many years to come.
Supernatural Events and Forces
Ghosts, vampires, demons, and zombies are just some of the best examples of supernatural forces that make this genre so enticing. People dying and coming to life scare people and this is what gothic literature is looking for.
Some gothic novels have supernatural events happen like the book by Mary Shelley “Frankenstein”, Victor Frankenstein uses electricity from lightening to give life to the monster. Such kinds of events are also seen in the novel “Dracula” by Sam Stocker and “The Castle of Otranto” by Horace Walpole.
Visions, Omens and Curses
Visions, family curses, and omens occur as a literary device for things to come. In gothic novels, tragedies are often preceded by bad luck, which is intended to derail the main characters from their task.
An example of such a novel is “The Black Cat” written by Edgar Allan Poe in 1843.
Gothic literature has borrowed heavily from romantic literature. A lot of gothic novels end up having characters being entangled in a romantic affair with each other. An example of a gothic poem that heavily uses romance in its literature is written by Edgar Allan Poe “Annabel Lee” in 1849.
The Anti-Hero Protagonist
The protagonist is always introduced as a male character who is also an anti-hero. He is always the key element of the story but is also portrayed as having monstrous elements to his personality.
He is mostly an outcast and isolated since he is always carrying a burden of guilt or suffers from inner torments.
Damsel in Distress
Gothic literature always has a female protagonist being in trouble and needs saving by the main hero character. They are almost always imprisoned in a castle or being chased by a supernatural entity. They most often cry, sob, scream, and swoon which creates an element of fear in the character and the reader.
High emotion in a gothic novel is used to convey a thought that the writer wants to be in the reader’s mind. It helps the reader understand the fear and distress that the characters are going through.
An example of a gothic novel that used so much emotional distress is “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Gilman. The short story is about a woman who suffers from postpartum depression.
Best Reads of Gothic Literature
Gothic literature is all about fear and terror. It conjures up a lot of ghosts and supernatural elements that make the reader engaged in the writing. Here are the best two horror books that have captured a lot of reader’s hearts with their terror and paved the way for horror literature;
The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole (1746)
This is the first-ever horror novel that paved the way for gothic stories. It is filled with locked towers, secret passages, damsel in distress, and many other elements that make up gothic horror.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley ( 1818)
This is a classic story of man’s pursuit of dangerous knowledge. It has almost all the elements of a horror story like monsters, emotional distress, and many other that makes it a classic.
Final Thoughts on Gothic Literature
An essay on which is an important element of gothic fiction tries to describe the various elements that are involved in the writing of a gothic novel. Since introducing gothic writing as a literary device in 1764, Horace Walpole opened a door for many more writers.
Gothic fiction has a wide range of stories but all of them have to include elements like ghosts, supernatural events, visions, curses, and many more. Gothic stories have become so popular because they play with the reader’s mind and make them question reality.
People like being scared, but still have the hope that good will always defeat evil. And this is what readers are looking for in a gothic story. Elements of gothic horror are what make up gothic literature interesting and enticing.
We can find some of these horror stories online on sites like YouTube and Facebook. Sites like these have come up with features like ask bubble, ask the parent, and unseen verified warning YouTube to restrict the more scary stories.
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