Social Critique in Gothic Literature

When Horace Walpole wrote the first ever Gothic novel in 1764, the world had never seen anything quite like it before. In an age we now call the enlightenment, where knowledge, science and philosophy had made huge leaps forward, this book dared to be openly absurd; to feature magic, weird curses, phantoms and prophecies. But … Read more

Aristocratic and democratic ideas’ struggle as symbolized in The House of the Seven Gables

Nathaniel Hawthorne uses symbols and characters to portray the struggle between aristocratic and democratic ideas in his novel, The House of the Seven Gables. The democratic ideas which develop throughout the novel prevail against the aristocratic greed, injustice, and pride. Hawthorne begins his novel with the reign of aristocracy by depicting Colonel Pyncheon’s acquisition of … Read more

The Evolution of the Vampire

The appearance of the Gothic in architecture of the Middle Ages was the start point and muse of Gothic Literary. The lack of simplicity, symmetry, regularity and nonconformation to nature inspired the features of Gothic Literature: horror/ terror, dark environment, paranormal, evil creatures, supernatural entities (vampires, ghosts, werewolves), haunted castles and mansions, isolated setting, violence, … Read more

The Evils of Religion and the Dark Side of Humanity Potrayed in A House of Doom

In a rather prophetic statement about a doomed family residing in an ancestral home, where the curse of the father becomes the curse of the children, Hawthorne writes in The House of the Seven Gables, “Ambition is a talisman more powerful than witchcraft” (209). For this second novel, Hawthorne shifts from the puritanical to the … Read more

The Institution of Family in Matthew Lewis’ The Monk

Matthew Lewis’ The Monk makes extensive use of the institution of family in order to underscore the implied author’s ambivalent position towards the French Revolution and its aftermath. The novel recounts the tale of two families: Antonia’s family, which consists of her mother, Elvira, her step-uncle Raymond, her aunt Leonella, and her brother, Ambrosio (although … Read more

The Representation of Gender and Gendered Roles in Lewis’ ‘The Monk’

The Monk, published in 1796 by Matthew Lewis, holds the distinction of one of the most popular and most controversial Gothic novels of all times. Set in the backdrop of the Protestant Reformation in Spain, the novel addresses and challenges many sensitive, tabooed societal norms, and elements of seduction, blasphemy, incest and lust are central … Read more

Fear and Insanity Gothic Literature: Why ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ and ‘The Little Stranger Are Not Your Typical Scary Stories

Over the past three decades, films in the genre of horror and suspense have been among the top grossing movies with relation to volume of tickets and amount of movies made. According to a 2004 paper in the Journal of Media Psychology by Dr. Glenn Walters, the three primary factors that make horror films alluring … Read more

Domestic Assault in Hawthorne’s and Melville’s story The Paradise of Bachelors

By the 19th-century, according to Hawthorne and Melville, a man’s home was no longer his castle, but an effete parlor-room, a locus of stripped and castrated masculinity that hampered the development of classically intellectual and original literature in favor of the mawkish and uniform. While Hawthorne’s and Melville’s story “The Paradise of Bachelors” both show … Read more

The Natural Order of Things Should Not Be Disturbed: Gothic Literature Perspective

The opposition between the natural and the unnatural is particularly prominent in gothic literature and the transgression of the boundaries between the two is often seen to be condemned. In Shakespeare’s play Macbeth(1606), Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein (1818) and Angela Carter’s collection of short stories titled The Bloody Chamber (1979), the “natural order” is certainly … Read more

The Effects of Sin and Guilt as Manifested Through Descendants of a New England family,

Ostensibly a tale of the effects of sin and guilt as manifested through successive generations of a New England family, Hawthorne’s The House of the Seven Gables is a richly detailed novel with multiple levels of meaning and ambiguities that have prompted a wide array of critical interpretations. Though frequently faulted for its narrative structure … Read more

The Ideas of Horror, Gloom and Mystery as Potrayed in The House of Seven Gables

To be a paradigm of a Gothic novel, The House of Seven Gables needs to include many elements, all which center on the ideas of gloom, horror, and mystery. The action of a Gothic novel takes place in a “run-down, abandoned or occupied, mansion or castle,” which often include secret passages, doors, and compartments (Encarta). … Read more