The late 1700s birthed the gothic genre; it brought out the dark minds of horror, the reality, the eyes who saw the darkness, and the sensual desires one has. It created sub-categories of the most terrifying horror stories in time with the help of authors such as Stephen King or Tim Burton. A gothic sense has come into this present time as reality to the human race, bringing up terrible matters in this world like a bloody, gruesome war. In the stories of ‘ Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,’ by Robert Louis Stevenson and ‘ The Fall of the House of Usher’ by Edgar Allen Poe, they show how dark reality can be in stories and the dark consequences that can come to the characters.
In a fairytale, there’s beautiful scenery with talking animals and how a princess meets a prince. A Gothic tale is opposite to a fairytale, it’s dark and gloomy, and gives you the chills. Robert Louis Stevenson makes the audience have a spark of interest in the first chapter of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde on page 4, remarking from the character Mr.Enfield,’ …about Three o’clock of a black winter morning, and my way lay through a part of town where there was literally nothing to be seen but lamps. Street after street and all the folks asleep-street after street, all lighted up as if for a procession and all as empty as a church-till, at last, I got into that state of mind when a man listens and listens and begins to long for the sight of a policeman. All at once, I saw two figures: one a little man who was stumping along eastward at a good walk, and the other a girl of maybe eight or ten who was running as hard as she was able down a cross street. Well, sir, the two ran into one another naturally enough at the corner; and then came the horrible part of the thing; for the man trampled calmly over the child’s body and left her screaming on the ground. It sounds nothing to hear, but it was hellish to see. It wasn’t like a man; it was like some damned Juggernaut.’ describes the murderous witching hour as a creepy and dangerous place. Edgar Allen Poe showed gothic imagery similar to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in the first paragraph of the fall of the house of usher speaking,’ DURING the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country; and at length found myself, as the shades of the evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher. I know not how it was – but, with the first glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit. I say insufferable; for the feeling was unrelieved by any of that half-pleasurable, because of poetic, sentiment, with which the mind usually receives even the sternest natural images of the desolate or terrible.’ It brings a sense of chills that no one could stand, but brings the sense of curiosity killing the cat.
With gothic imagery in a story, there always have to be characters to keep the story rolling. There is a realistic comparison with disorders and drug addiction in a gothic story; perhaps to show the world it’s not all rainbows and butterflies and that people would rather ignore this cruel world.’ I felt younger, lighter, happier in body; within I was conscious of a heady recklessness, a current of disordered sensual images running like a millrace in my fancy, a solution of the bonds of obligation, an unknown but not an innocent freedom of the soul. I knew myself, at the first breath of this new life, to be more wicked, tenfold more wicked, sold a slave to my original evil; and the thought, at that moment, braced and delighted me like wine.’ on page 82 of Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde proclaimed what it was first like to take the chemical drug and how he became addicted to it. In paragraph 2 of The Fall of the House in Usher, the narrator claims the friend has an identity crisis.’The writer spoke of acute bodily illness –of a mental disorder which oppressed him –and of an earnest desire to see me, as his best, and indeed his only personal friend, with a view of attempting, by the cheerfulness of my society, some alleviation of his malady.’ It shows the struggle with the mind of darkness between good and bad.
Something may stick with a person while watching a scary movie, such as safe heaven or running to a door with adrenaline going through the person’s veins because of fear. For some authors and scriptwriters, it’s to bring a hidden meaning within the object in a story of gothic or general English literature. In paragraph 1 of The Fall of the House of Usher, this quote,’ What was it –I paused to think –what was it that so unnerved me in the contemplation of the House of Usher? It was a mystery all insoluble; nor could I grapple with the shadowy fancies that crowded upon me as I pondered. I was forced to fall back upon the unsatisfactory conclusion, that while, beyond doubt, there are combinations of very simple natural objects which have the power of thus affecting us, still the analysis of this power lies among considerations beyond our depth.’ shows a hidden meaning about the house of usher as a scene where consequences can begin. ‘The stick with which the deed had been done, although it was of some rare and very tough and heavy wood, had broken in the middle under the stress of this insensate cruelty; and one splintered half had rolled in the neighbouring gutter-the other, without doubt, had been carried away by the murderer.’ on page 27 of Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde, it explains that the cane Mr.Hyde had broke in half after murdering a messenger shows that Edward Hyde is not civil anymore in society.
English literature, especially gothic literature, brings the feeling of the unknown. Everyone in the world feels the feeling of the unknown because they would never know what would happen to them as a main character in a story. Including a dark story in this world, does show the reality of the fear in the world and how every choice a person chooses in their path can have a consequence. The darkness will always be there, but in whatever case the darkness might be (if it’s your darkest desires or an addictive experience), it will go away. Whether if the person dies or gets help, they’ll have a better image of reality.
- Giordano, Robert. “The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe.” PoeStories.com, poestories.com/read/houseofusher.
- “JSpell Checker – Spelling & Grammar.” Free Online Spell and Grammar Checker – Checks English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, www.jspell.com/checker/.
- Stevenson, Robert Louis, and Jerome Charyn. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Bantam Books, 1981.
- “The Origins of the Gothic.” The British Library, The British Library, 26 Feb. 2014, www.bl.uk/romantics-and-victorians/articles/the-origins-of-the-gothic.