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The Feather Pillow: Is It Gothic Or Magical Realism?

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In “The Feather Pillow” there are elements that make the genre of the story Gothic Literature and Magical Realism, but the question is if it is Gothic or Magical Realism and if it’s Gothic would it be Traditional or Modern? The story has elements of the unknown, dark bleak settings, and the supernatural. Thus, the genre that “The Feather Pillow” is composed of is Traditional Gothic.

In the story, there are some elements that are composed of traditional gothic. A timid and angelic girl named Alicia marries a man called Jordan that is caring, but doesn’t show it, which makes him seem cold. They’re marriage seems that there is few love between them. The setting where Alicia and Jordan live is described as cold and tedious. They live in a big and empty house where there’s nothing but silence as Alicia spends her entire day waiting for her husband to come home from work. “The whiteness of the silent patio—friezes, columns, and marble statues—produced the wintry impression of an enchanted palace. Inside the glacial brilliance of stucco, the completely bare walls, affirmed the sensation of unpleasant coldness. As one crossed from one room to another, the echo of his steps reverberated throughout the house, as if long abandonment had sensitized its resonance”(Quiroga). The vivid description tells us that no joy comes from the house, which emphasizes that there is very little love between Alicia and Jordan in their marriage because the description talks about “the whiteness of silent”, there’s silence between Alicia and Jordan. Therefore, there is a lack of communication between the couple.

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Furthermore, Alicia and Jordan were tortured in similar, but also different ways. Jordan was tortured by an emotional state, while Alicia was tortured by physical pain. As stated before, the couple did not seem to have much love between them because of the lack of conversation. “Her entire honeymoon gave her hot and cold shivers…She loved him very much, nonetheless, although sometimes she gave a light shudder when, as they returned home through the streets together at night…He, for his part, loved her profoundly but never let it be seen”(Quiroga). Alicia loves Jordan, but she is not comfortable with him and Jordan does not show the love and affection he wants to give Alicia so he stays silent. In addition, Alicia was coming down with a sickness, but no one knew why she was sick. The doctor that was checking on her did not know what was wrong. Alicia was getting worse day by day, which was torture for her in a physical state. Jordan, on the other hand, was worried about his wife. “With tireless persistence he paced ceaselessly from one end of the room to the other. The carpet swallowed his steps. At times he entered the bedroom and continued his silent pacing back and forth alongside the bed, stopping for an instant at each end to regard his wife”(Quiroga). Jordan did not bring comfort to Alicia and kept quite, but was concerned for his wife as he was pacing around the house, and feared that she was going to die, which brought him emotional pain.

As the story comes to an end, it has some supernatural elements. Alicia got even sicker as the days went by and she died from a parasite that was later found in her pillow by her husband. “In the bottom of the pillowcase, among the feathers, slowly moving its hairy legs, was a monstrous animal, a living, viscous ball. It was so swollen one could scarcely make out its mouth” (Quiroga). The creature that was found in Alicia’s pillow case shows signs of a ferocious, blood sucking, monster, for instance, a vampire. The description of the tiny ball like creature indicates vampirism. “Alicia had taken to her bed, this abomination had stealthily applied its mouth—its proboscis one might better say—to the girl’s temples, sucking her blood…but as soon as the girl could no longer move, the suction became vertiginous. In five days, in five nights, the monster had drained Alicia’s life away” (Quiroga). The obvious definition of a vampire is a monster who takes all the blood of a victim until their death. The awful, blood sucking , parasite sucks the blood of its victim, which in this case it’s Alicia. The parasite took the blood, life, and joy away from Alicia as she came to her slow, bitter death.

“The Feather Pillow” is composed of many elements of Gothic Literature. It has a very eery and cold setting in which was the “home” of Alicia and Jordan where the horrible and weird situation happened. The death of Alicia was a pretty dramatic ending where they found a creature in her pillow, which surprised the reader because it was so unexpected. The parasite was also an a supernatural element involving vampirism. As a result, the genre of “The Feather Pillow” is Traditional Gothic.

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The Feather Pillow: Is It Gothic Or Magical Realism? (2022, Jun 16). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 5, 2023, from
“The Feather Pillow: Is It Gothic Or Magical Realism?” Edubirdie, 16 Jun. 2022,
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