Bram Stoker and WW Jacobs are both writers of Gothic Literature. Bram Stoker wrote ‘Dracula’s Guest’, sadly it was published in 1914 two years after his death. WW Jacobs wrote the story ‘Monkey’s Paw’, which was written in 1902. Both stories use a variety of techniques that create suspense and tension. ‘Monkey’s Paw’ is a story about an innocent family who are introduced to a talisman. He holds the fate and power which leaves their family in a problem situation when they try to change their faith. ‘Dracula’s Guest’ tells the story of a man who travels out with his horses near Dracula’s house, looking for a destination at dusk. He is warned and told to be careful of the weather.
In Stoker’s story, the man’s journey is on Walpurgis night. Walpurgis night is a festival in Germany that happens on April 30 (May Eve day). On this day it is said that the witches meet on the Brocken Mountain and revel with the Devil. The man starts on a bright sunny day in Munich, but as he sets off, he can see a possible storm cloud in the far distance. Along the way, now and then the horses throw their heads and sniff the air suspiciously. The road is bleak as they are traveling along a sort of windswept plateau.
These are great descriptive words and Stoker has really described the conditions for us. The words “air suspiciously, bleak, windswept plateau’ really describe the scene. They create suspense and darkness which is what Gothic Literature does so well, making the story seem dark and scary. The Gothic elements make the short stories really interesting to read. They create fear, anxiety, curiosity, empathy and triumph good over evil. Already from the opening part of ‘Dracula’s Guest’ we feel curious and nervous about what’s going.
As the story continues on, we get more anxious and curious, especially with the sky getting dark. More descriptive words from Stoker, like “ muffled roar, drafting rapidly, clouds high overhead, mysterious cry” increase the tension. In the story now they are travelling through miles and miles of bleak country as the sky is getting darker and darker. The air is cold, and the snow is beginning to fall heavier and heavier. They hear a mysterious cry coming out from the bush.
Later, he approaches a sepulchre that is standing all alone. He walked over and read the sepulchre with writing on it in German. Written on the back of the sepulchre is a scary message: THE DEAD TRAVEL FAST”.
The story continues to use Gothic elements to keep you guessing and curious to find out what will happen. In the end, there is a message from Dracula that is the reason why a rescue party was sent out when the carriage driver and his horses returned to the inn.
Dracula’s Guest is a brilliant short story because it uses so many different Gothic literature skills. Dracula’s guest uses suspense, emotion, curiosity and empathy.
Monkeys Paw is another great example of a Gothic Short Story. Monkeys Paw is also quite dark and creates a lot of suspense and tension this draws in the reader. One of the main components with Gothic literature is that a lot of the writing is dark, and the author is trying to create tension and lead you to have a little bit of fear.
WW Jacobs writes this story really well and straight away, only a couple of lines into the story we can tell that it is already quite spooky, and this makes the reader curious. The first couple of lines are used to introduce the conditions. It tells the reader that the night is cold and wet, it also has the blinds in the villa that had been drawn down and the first was burning brightly. Straight away here Jacobs has already painted a clear picture of what the conditions are like and he keeps going into great detail to describe the rest of the surrounds. As the story continues suspense and fear sets in as the story describes the gate banging loudly and that they could hear the heavy footsteps as they came towards the door.
The story continues using great detail and creates suspense among the readers. With the readers intrigued the story ends but not a happy ending. Unfortunately, Herbert is not coming back, and Mr and Mrs White have lost both of their children.
In summary, both Monkeys paw and Dracula’s guest are great examples of Gothic literature short stories. They both create and use suspense, tension, darkness, curiosity and empathy to help tell the story in great detail. Both these stories made you want to keep reading because they do get you hooked with their different Gothic elements.