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Gothic literature is the genre of literature that elements combine horror and romance. Gothic literature creates horror and by extension aims to reveal the romance elements. Southern gothic literature has similarities with the classic gothic. There are also profound differences between the classic gothic literature and the southern. The aim of this paper is to compare and contrast Classic gothic and Southern gothic literature.
Southern gothic are literature mostly written by the people from south America who besides writing the gothic for other purposes aims to reveal the social issues and character of the people from South America. The subgenre uses ironical, weird and supernatural events to explore the values of South Americans.
Traditional gothic literature is the literature that was written mostly in the late 18th century and early19th century. The subgenre uses extremes, conventions and frequent applesauce to generate its theme. (Traditional gothic stories in the assignment: The cask of amontillado and Raven).
In the story “a Good Man Is Hard to Find” by William Faulkner is William Faulkner is a great example of a southern gothic literature. The story illustrates hellish features of a southern gothic literature. The story is horrifying especially where the family of is being murdered. The story also explores the values of different characters depicted in the story. The story’s features qualify it to be southern gothic literature (other southern gothic is a Rose for Emily).
One Similarity of the classic gothic literature and southern gothic literature is that there is cruel death of the characters in the story. In the story “a Good man is Hard to find” which is a southern gothic literature the family of Bailey was murdered ruthlessly on the hands of Misfit. The grandmother experienced so much pain to see her son and his family being murdered. The grandmother begged the murderers to spare her life but none would listen to her. The murderers went ahead and killed her despite her begging and her flattery. In the story the casket of amontillado a story is told of how one man murders his friend. A murder in the gothics is used to instill fear which is a main theme in gothic literature and allegory.
William Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily is a Gothic horror story whose story commences with a funeral setting to represent a real life situation that is stereotypical of southern gothic literature. The author describes Emily’s eerie behavior that she started exhibiting soon after her father’s death. Moreover, the author talks about Emily’s lover who disappeared never to be seen again to create the circumstances that drove the Emily into abject rejection and isolation. Description of the dead people and the disappeared evokes a sense of fear in the reader thus creating anxiety that is the main characteristic of classical gothic. Assertions about Emily’s father’s death followed by the disappearance of her lover foreshadow the event when mourners get to Emily’s house and find her lover’s dead body lying on her bed. Sickness and smell are allegorically fitted together to present the theme of gothic elements in which the old woman isolated herself from the outside world by refusing to answer calls, receive visitors and letters because she felt left out by her sweetheart who deserted her two years after the death of her dear father. The theme of circumstantial isolation is used to create the gothic characteristic of the story in which even the authorities feared to face the old-woman and inform her to reform her hygiene standards because of terrible and abhorrent smell that is allegorically said to resemble that smell of a dead rat or snake; “It's probably just a snake or a rat that nigger of hers killed in the yard” ( Faulkner II: 7). The allegorical use of the a snake and a rat create two different allegorical themes, one that the compound of the protagonist was exceedingly unkempt and attracted such animals in normal setting. On the contrary, a snake is a rejected just like the old woman has been rejected by the society as though she were a snake or a destructive rat eating at the neighborhood that she is unexpected to live in and that could be the reason behind numerous complains filed by neighbors to direct Judge Stevens to initiate talks. In general, the old woman is exceedingly a gothic living being according to the perspective of the neighbors who fear and detest her because of her silence and unhygienic mode of lifestyle.
Similarly, the theme of death is evident in Edgar Allan’s Poe The Cask of Amontillado. The story opens with Montresors planning revenge on his friend Fortunato for insulting him. Montresors thirst for revenge is severally repeated within the first paragraph thus evoking fear in the reader as he anticipates the forthcoming actions that might turn out to be horrific. The theme of death is further highlighted through the setting of the story which is at the Catacombs. The Catacombs are describes as strange place with damp atmosphere, loneliness and surrounded with human bones. The horrific atmosphere as well as the objects found within the Catacombs illustrate that the place is associated with death as numerous people have died in the place. “Within the wall thus exposed by the displacing of the bones…..” (Poe 1). By walking in such a horrific place at night, the reader perceives that Montresors was up to no good and somebody had to meet his death in that place. By giving clear concise description of the Catacombs, especially the bones lying all over the walls and the ground, the reader is able to foreshadow death as it eventually turns out that Montresors successfully kills Fortunato in the catacombs.
Unlike the southern gothic literature, classical gothic characteristics as portrayed by Allan Poe in his poem The Raven that was published in 1845 take into consideration the recreation of normal scenes into gothic instances. The main theme is separation from one’s love in this case the narrator is crying for the lost Lenore whom he compares to angels. Words are used to evoke the stringent emotions that evoke fear and sorrow. Precisely, the purple silk curtains rustled gripping the narrator with improbable terrors. Equally, there is a visitor knocking at the door but Allan Poe equates the visitor to ghosts that usually visit people during the charismas season. Ghosts are predominant symbols of fear since usually unknown and undying entities that have power to peek behind people’s knowledge and cause harm create more fear than a mere smell and dying of a person like in the case of William Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily. The narrator is facing a dreadful night and whenever someone raps at his door, he opens it to only find a bleak darkness but later the narrator opens the window to find a raven wearing a sad and grave expression that represented an omen. Religious perceptions also play a part in the classical gothic as seen in the mentioning of the names like God, soul, angles, prophet and evil thing to bring about the Christianity elements adapted by Allan Poe. The dark side of the poem is represented by ghosts, evil, and devil when referring to the raven as the bird of the devil while petitioning the heavens to counter the ominous signs in favor of life of the soul. The raven represents the ghost apparitions that remain predominant ion classical gothic literature.
In conclusion, classical gothic elements use romanticism aspects of using nature, the human soul and challenges that threaten life more than mere events and circumstances about life that bring about gothic events as represented in the Southern gothic literature. Therefore while Southern gothic literature represents how life situations that comes about because of other people and interactions with other people cause anxiety. The main similarity between classical and Southern gothic literature is the fact that both use death as the main theme before substituting another theme to create the plot.