Profile essay on gothic literature

Subject: Literature
Type: Profile Essay
Pages: 5
Word count: 1280
Topics: Book, Edgar Allan Poe, Gothic Literature, The Raven

Gothic literature is the reason behind low atmosphere, ghosts and vampires in the movies, terror in theaters and new bizarre romance found in the novels in the contemporary world. Gothic literature has lived for many years and it may not leave the contemporary society anytime soon. It may be argued that Gothic is more popular than ever thought because of its popular elements witnessed today. Apparently, Gothic literature has continued to gain popularity in the contemporary society. Gothic literature commands a great following as a genre and continues to influence the contemporary society by finding itself in the works of the modern poets, novelists, film producers, video game architects and musicians.

The Raven

The Raven is a movie that was inspired by Edgar Allan’s Poe’s work and was directed by James McTeigue. The film which is set in the mid-1800s is about a serial killer who is on the spree of murdering people but Poe and teams of detective try to catch the killer who is way ahead of them (McTeigue, 2012).

Mystery and supernatural are some of the elements Gothic can be identified with and those are the conspicuous elements evident in The Raven movie. The movie dreadfully begins in a midnight dreary which shows that things will certainly not be good-a stage of fear and bleak mood is set.  The Raven possesses a lot of Gothic characteristics. It has an atmosphere of mystery and suspense as well as some unexplainable occurrences such as the death of the main character’s loved one (McTeigue, 2012). It is also worth noting that omens play a huge role in the mysterious air such as the bird that pecks at the door which can as well be interpreted as a supernatural event.

Other Gothic characteristics that are evident in the movie are highly charged emotional states such as when the narrator expresses anger at the bird which cannot give him the answers he is looking for. The Raven is full of terror, mystery, and darkness that are evident in the words spoken which give hopelessness and image of gloom and doom to the characters (McTeigue, 2012). Another important aspect of the Gothic is the evident romantic theme especially after the speaker dips himself into grief when he loses his loved one. It is undeniable that the theme of romance and horror run through the adrenaline of the movie as somber imagery is witnessed on the face of Poe. It is evident that the main character cannot escape the sorrow of his former love, Lenore whom for sure, he knows can never come back but he tortures himself through the questions he asks himself.

House of Usher Film

House of usher is a 2008 thriller movie that was directed by David DeCoteau who derives his work from Edgar Allan Poe’s literary classic “The Fall of the House of Usher” (DeCoteau, 2008). The movie reveals the horrifying secret that keeps the Ushers alive when Victor Reynolds visits the Ushers who are his old acquaintances. Reynolds realizes that there has been mysterious vanishing of guests in the Usher’s house and he feels that he is in a risky place. Usher’s creepy servants and the house that crumbles both inside and outside disturb Reynolds’s mind prompting him to carry out an investigation.

Gothic style in the movie is palpable when the director uses dark, gloom and depiction of the Usher’s crumbling household.   A more obvious gothic element in the movie is the use of eerie and ghostly atmosphere such as the use of caverns, vaults and tombs. There is a low atmosphere in the House of Usher that establishes a mood and foreshadows future events through its windows, bricks, decayed trees, and dungeon (DeCoteau, 2008). The ghostly, gloomy and melancholic present in the movie represent the gothic horror which creates tense mood to the audience. The movie shows the complexity of terror that encompasses human relation such as when Madeline rises from the dead and returns to the house. There is also a supersensitive hero who cannot function in the real world and a strange physic communication between a living character and a living dead. This can be seen in the spiritual relationship between Roderick and Madeleine when she breaks free and goes into Roderick’s room before they die together.

Gothic Today

Traditionally, in the 18th century, gothic literature was characterized by horror, gloom and supernatural atmosphere (Olson, 2011). This has developed into much more complex style. Relating the current gothic work with the classical one may not be very easy. This however may be attributed to the change in the society in the way they view some issues. Traditional gothic may be argued to have birthed the current horror, science fiction, fantasy, romance and mystery in the current gothic artworks (Hogle, 2014). It may be argued that gothic literature has maintained its meaning but has greatly advanced to a much better new level to fit the society’s understanding. There is a resurgence of gothic feel in the contemporary artwork such as films, novels and video games. Horror and detective fiction that characterized the older gothic have gained appeal in the modern work and can therefore be described as the inspiration behind other genre of mystery.

Gothic tradition has progressed transversely living a symbol on the current genres of science fiction and through contemporary music, art, film and television with highly developed ingredients. Although gothic tradition can be traced in the mid-1800s, it still lives in different forms such as highly developed sense of atmosphere (Olson, 2011).  In the modern times, there has been fascination with haunts, spirits and creepy creatures especially in the blockbuster movies and books that are inspired by gothic traditions. Popular culture has used gothic literature in many innovative ways such as coming up with graphic novels (Hogle, 2014). It cannot be died that the idea of ghoulish clowns has lately emerged especially in the social media. This is a sign of advancement in the gothic literature. Some of the haunted and ghoulish clowns remind audiences that monsters could be real. This is an interesting thing that has been derived from the gothic tradition.

Gothic literature is currently driving the entertainment industry. Modern horror movies derived from gothic literature currently top the box office and best sellers in the market. New masters of gothic literature rip a lot of money through their work which is currently adored by many worldwide (Hogle, 2014). Also, contemporary vampire novels are not left behind in their ability to creep down the current fiction. Graphic horror novel has been on the rise in the recent past. Sales of novels have literally gone high. It is therefore apparent that gothic literature has inspired the development of the current horror media. This is a great height that has been achieved by a literature that dates back in the 18th and 19th century (Olson, 2011).

Breaking dungeons and wind-blasted heaths no longer determine what gothic literature is because gothic dread is now expressed through daily perversities of contemporary life. Traditional gothic literature had forgotten attics and lonely houses that aroused the taste for ruins Traditional artists and authors set their fiction in places where the past somehow resides. However, the current atmosphere has greatly changed in the modern gothic. Although similar sort of psychological atmosphere still exists, terror and fear are portrayed in a completely different environment. The houses used in the contemporary gothic literature such as films are corporate office parks that reflect the level of advancement gothic literature has undergone. The effect of the old gothic has been maintained in a very different environment where inner city projects are used instead of crumbling manor houses.

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  1. Colichman, P. (Producer), & DeCoteau, D. (Director). (2008). House of Usher [Motion picture). United States: Rapid Heart Pictures.
  2. Evans, M. D. (Producer), & McTeigue, J. (Director). (2012). The Raven [Motion picture]. United States: FilmNation Entertainment.
  3. Hogle, J. E. (2014). The Cambridge companion to the modern gothic.
  4. Olson, D. (2011). 21st-century Gothic: Great Gothic novels since 2000. Lanham, Md: Scarecrow Press.
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