In early 18th to 19th century, the gothic novel was a popular genre when it came fiction tales. This genre of writing is characterized by elements of fear, gloom, horrific events and gloom. Gothic novels can also include romantic elements which can be informed of intense emotions depicted by characters or nature and individuality. These emotions mainly depicted fear and suspense, which are features that were used to point out the decaying and dark factors in the society during this period. Dracula novel, written by Abraham Stocker in 1897 is considered to be a gothic fiction. The plot of this novel involves events and setup that depict the gothic elements, which make it be identified as a gothic fiction.
In Dracula novel, nature as the gothic element is used. Apparently, it is common for gothic writers to embed nature in their settings. The settings in gothic fictions are supposed to evoke the feelings of horror and suspense. In order to create these scenes, gothic writers usually describe remote landscapes which can be informed of ruins of ancient castles or mansions. Through these ruined mansions, the writers are able to present the vision of nature not only as obscure but also terrifying and horrific (Gonzalez 18). In the Dracula novel, there are shadowy castles, abandoned landscapes, skies which are stormy and dark interiors. In this novel, the Harker travels towards Transylvania which is described as the land beyond the forest (Stocker 344). The author might have chosen the use of this place in order to give the reader a glimpse of something that is mysterious and exotic, which helps in achieving suspense and tension in the novel. Jonathan also travels from the world that is full of light towards the land that is engulfed in darkness. The change from one place to another in this novel is enhanced by the elements of nature that describe the sceneries involved.
The descriptive language used in Dracula novel attest the use of the gothic elements. Various extreme landscapes are described in the novel. For instance, while describing a particular landscape, the author points out that To the west was a great valley, and then, rising far away, great jagged mountain fastnesses, rising peak on peak, the sheer rock studded with mountain ash and thorn. (Stocker 52). These are gothic conventions which have been used by the author to present unknown and exotic scene. This scene highlights the emptiness as well as the intimidation which is the message depicted by gothic writers. This helps in highlighting the element of loneliness and fear in the novel.
Romance as the gothic element has also been incorporated in the Dracula novel. Mina is used in the novel to depict how love requires self-sacrificing. Men in the novel pledged to destroy Mina if she ever becomes a threat to them once she is attacked by the Dracula (Gates 22). However, Morris who is love with her decides to risk his life in order to save Mina. Renfield is also subsequently killed after trying to protect Mina from the attacks of the Counts. This highlights the sacrifices that individuals in love are ready to make, which is a feature in the gothic novels. However, this redemptive force of love is sharply contrasted with destructive nature of vampires sexuality.
The Dracula novel also utilizes the gothic element of horror. The events recounted in this story are meant to create horror, terror and immense fear to the audience (Backhouse 5). The castle Dracula is considered to be a haunted mansion which has only helped in increasing intense fear and horror to the audience. This castle is characterized by entirely long and dark passageways. It has dusty rooms which are filled with old furniture that is continuing to decay. The prisoners are imprisoned in this mansion. The thought of escaping from this prison is horrific due to the hazardous nature of the surrounding landscape. "far as the eye can reach is a sea of green tree tops with occasionally a deep rift where there is a chasm" (Stocker 31). The description of the Dracula, the vampire also creates the scene of horror. It is described to be the tall creature that is wearing black clothes in his entire body, without revealing any single speck of color on him. This depicts that vampires are horrifying creatures. Gothic literature aims at evoking the emotions of horror and this feature has been predominantly used in Dracula novel.
The use of various gothic elements has been integral in contending that the Dracula novel is a gothic literature. Bram Stocker has heavily used the gothic style in the novel making the reader be horrified, tensed and reflecting on the events that are taking place in the novel. The reader is also forced to reflect on the limits of reality due to terrifying scenes in the novel. Having written this novel in late 18th century, Stocker is able to use the references that existed in the real life setting. Such features have Dracula to be considered as the popular gothic piece of literature.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Backhouse, Sarah. "Narrative and Temporality in Dracula." MA TYPO/GRAPHIC STUDIES (2003): 5-36. pdf.
GATES, DAVID. "BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA AND THE GOTHIC TRADITION." McMaster University (1976): 2-100. pdf.
Gonzalez, Ignacio. "The Concept of Nature in Gothic and Romantic Literature." (2014): 3-27. pdf.
Stoker, Bram. Dracula. London: Archibald Constable and Company (UK), 1897. pdf.
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