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Gothic Short Stories Essay

1943 words - 8 pages

Gothic Short Stories

Gothic stories are usually dark and mysterious, set mostly at night,
and frequently have the appearance of bad weather. Gothic stories hit
a peak in Victorian times, when Jack the Ripper and other famous
lawbreakers struck fear into peoples hearts.

This grim time was not helped by the very inefficient police force,
this left people wanting to hear of more heroes in their world. I have
read 3 famous gothic short stories, and in my essay I am going to
explore them in detail to decide how suspense has been created, and
how effective this is.

The three stories are:

The Body-Snatcher

The Red Room

The Adventure of the Speckled Band.

All of these titles start with "The"; this is to show it is a more
definite article. All of these titles give away as little about the
story as possible, adding mystery to the stories. The Red Room
conjures up lots of different images, for example, blood, danger, evil
and pain. But then again, it could just be about a room painted red!
This makes the reader want to continue to find out how the title
actually relates to the story. The Body-Snatcher immediately gives
images of mystery, graveyards, bodies and moonlight. This gives the
title a spooky and mysterious touch, which is vital for a gothic story
as it gets the reader interested in what the story is about so they
want to read more and more. This is a very effective gothic story
title. The Adventure of the Speckled Band's title sets up what the
story is about, although the use of "Adventure" is very uncommon in
gothic short story titles, "the Speckled Band" links in with the key
clue given to Sherlock Holmes (the main character) in the story. All
of these story titles are very effective at gaining the readers
interests, and adding to the overall gothic aspects of the stories.

All gothic short stories need to have an interesting start that makes
the reader want to look deeper into the book. In "The Body Snatcher"
by Robert Louis Stevenson the narrator starts the story off as if he
is retelling a past event. "Every night in the year, four of us sat in
the small parlour of the George at Debenham - the undertaker, the
landlord, Fettes and myself." This immediately sets the scene and
tells us that the narrator is a main character in the story. The story
quickly gets into action as the meeting between Fettes and Doctor
Macfarlane turns very sour. "I always wondered if there were a god; I
now know there is none. Be gone!" This fills the reader with
excitement, and they want to read on so they can find out what
happened in the past for the two characters to resent one another this
much. Openings like this generate a large amount of suspense, in order
to keep the reader interested, and thinking about what is going to
happen next. Gothic stories often start by...

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