The American Gothic Novel of the 19th Century

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TheAmerican Gothic Novel of the 19thCentury

TheAmerican Gothic Novel is a literature work written by Horace Walpoleand employs the elements of horror and romance throughout the story(Hughes 35). The book pleases some terror and it is linked to theGothic Revival architecture. Besides, the story entails theadmiration of excitements of fearfulness, the happiness that comeswhen a person is incredibly aroused, and a quest for atmosphere(Monnet 41). Much emotion is expressed in the novel when thebuildings belonging to the medieval people were destroyed as a signof the way human beings had morally decomposed. The main featuresthat the story tries to unfold are curses that are inheritable, moralcorruption, ghosts, both physical and psychological terror,occurrences that are not understandable, insanity, and death (Hughes38). The types of characters that were used to portray the abovefeatures were the mistreated house-helps, witch doctors, vampires,gangster, Byronic heroes, monsters, and perambulating skeletons(Sandín 63).

Therefore,the American Gothic is a novel in which fear is shared by thecharacters in the story and the individuals who read the book. Thisliterature work tries to examine the factors that cause anxiety inboth the mind and body. Besides, the novel seeks to explore theimpacts of fear on an individual`s body as well as the mind of aperson in an epistemological inquiry and quest sequential manner(Hughes 35). The narrative in the novel is different from thetraditional tales since the story reveals a darkened world in whichinsanity, oppression, and fear are only means that individuals couldhave made use of to enhance knowledge in the world (Monnet 41).

Thenovel is believed to be a demonic literary work since it ends in anumbing unease by devastating the image of characters regarding theirsocial or sexual roles (Hughes 35). The story brings about gloomyfeelings through the threats of terrible events that occur as thestory unfolds and sensations through incest and diabolism (Monnet41). According to this work of fiction, the world of gothic isenfolded and full of supernatural happenings such as the doors thatopened themselves. Terror was manifested through the tales that werebeing told in the book. However, the novel had some incidences ofromance like unreturned love and some instances where a parentdisapproved true love (Sandín 63).

Responseto the Novel

Ifeel that the American Gothic Novel tried to reveal the beauty thatcan be found in events that are unpleasing and, at the same time,horrifying. It can be argued that the literary work implied that bothfear and happenings that are terrible could be used to enlightenpeople and make them think differently. The book had some powerfulforces on the human senses that had already decayed due toneoclassicism. Besides, the narrative was like a voice for women who,in most cases, were oppressed in society. The picture that theliterary work depicted was that women should be sympathized withbecause for an extended period they had been mistreated, as well asbattered, by the dominant and arrogant men in the community.Moreover, women were not given the freedom to choose a person whothey wished to marry. In this regard, the narrative plays an advocacyrole to ensure that gender oppression becomes eliminated in thecommunity.


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Hughes,William. HistoricalDictionary of Gothic Literature.Lanham, Maryland: The Scarecrow Press, 2013. Print.

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Monnet,Agnieszka S. ThePoetics and Politics of the American Gothic: Gender and Slavery inNineteenth-Century American Literature.Farnham, Surrey, England: Ashgate, 2011. Print.

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Sandín,Lyn D. I, and Richard Perez. Momentsof Magical Realism in U.S. Ethnic Literatures.New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. Print.

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