Ways of Defining Gothic Literature

Many have their own idea or definition of what Gothic literature means to them. Some may see Gothic literature as fiction that just contains frightening events. Others may see it in a completely different way. Everyone has their own meaning of Gothic literature, including me. My definition of Gothic literature is stories involving supernatural elements such as death or horror, a bit of mystery, and a moral situation.

Gothic Literature has been written for hundreds of years. It was first introduced as a joke by Horace Walpole when he wrote his book The Castle of Otranto. Following the title of the book he used the subtitle ‘A Gothic Story’. Back then, the word gothic meant barbarous and coming from the Middle Ages. Horace Walpole wrote his story in 1764 in England and it began to expand greatly. Later on, authors like Edgar Allan Poe, Mary Shelley, and Bram Stoker joined in with their own stories. Each had different elements in their work all involving the gothic genre.

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In my definition of Gothic literature, I believe that the story must contain a variety of supernatural and mythical elements, some mystery, and a character must be dealing with a moral dilemma. Without these components, I wouldn’t think that a story would be considered Gothic literature. The biggest purpose of Gothic literature is to be a tale based off of paranormal actions. Without them it would be a completely different genre. The mystery is also a very important rule in Gothic literature. The mystery is supposed to create a thriller type of vibe and make you wonder certain things about the characters and plot. Lastly, there must be some type of moral situation in the story. For example, in The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe he makes the narrator wonder whether he should continue asking the bird any more questions since it only knew one word. The man’s curiosity took over and continued to ask the raven questions but the only answer given was “Nevermore.” He w…