Gothic Conventions In Dracula Essay, Research Paper
The Gothic is a formula of stock conventions. It is interested in nightmarish mindscapes and a unique style of writing. This scene from Dracula is very much Gothic as it contains the basic Gothic conventions. It is significant to the story as it is Lucy s first encounter with Dracula. It is also important to invoke fear and uncertainty in the reader. The setting and supernatural occurrences are crucial to the scene to create a sense of uncanny and mystery. Additionally, a theme of isolation contributes to create suspense and tension. Also important is the style of writing and a sense of ambiguity. These basic Gothic elements assist in the significance of this scene to the novel.
Firstly, the setting is very important in creating a sense of terror and dread. Gothic mise-en-scene is brought across in the description of the surroundings outside with a bright full moon, with heavy, black, driving clouds . The moon is a regular Gothic motif and it has been repeated three times in this scene and its light struck so brilliantly . The clouds constantly obscured the church and conceal from Mina the event-taking place at the east cliff. There is also a feeling of desolation. Being set near the ruins of the abbey this is typical of a Gothic scenario, as it is bleak and obsolete. The setting helps create a Gothic atmosphere and aids in hiding the mystery that is going on, i.e. Dracula taking Lucy victim.
Next, supernatural occurrences are present to provide the scene with a sense of uncanny and uncertainty. The way the clouds seem to cave in constantly when Mina is looking for Lucy is rather strange and it gives the reader a sense of uneasyness about it. I feel that the clouds causing shadow to shut down on light seemed to be hiding the location of Lucy from Mina as Dracula is doing his deed. Another supernatural event is the way Mina woke up suddenly with a horrible sense of fear upon her. She seemed to have a sixth sense that something was amiss. This causes the reader to be uncertain about whether Mina is trustable as she might be connected to Dracula to know what was going on. Supernatural occurrences have contributed to the sense of uncanny and mystery in this scene.
Subsequently, a theme of isolation is present whereby Mina realises that there was not a soul in sight and the town seemed dead . This invokes fear in the reader and helps the reader to focus on the main event that is happening. Mina is also very conscious of her solitude as she had an ever-growing fear chilling in (her) heart and her knees trembled . She contently repeats her feeling of fear and terror in this scene and the reader feels it with her. This theme of isolation brings forward the main focus of the scene and invokes fear and tension in the reader.
Another important idea is that of ambiguousity. Mina looks for Lucy in hope or fear ; she did not know which. There is this sense of confusion and uncertainty that both Mina and the reader feel. Mina saw something dark behind Lucy but whether it was man or beast she could not tell. There is this blurring of boundaries between rationality and uncanny, as Mina was skeptical of whether there was something about Lucy. Referring to Dracula as something also adds to the feeling of uncanny and mystery. The idea of ambiguousity adds an effect of confusion and uncertainty and blurs the boundaries between what is rational and what is uncanny in the scene.
Lastly, the style of writing is important to present the idea of immediacy and urgency. Bram stoker s tatic of narrative time control makes the reader feel totally involved in the story and increases the suspense of the story. It invokes fear in the reader whilst giving us a sense of enthrallment at the same time. We feel the suspense with Mina as she looked in sitting room for Lucy and get agitated as well when she realises that Lucy was not there! The reader feels as if he is actually the character in the story. Along with Mina we unveil the mystery of Lucy s disappearance and find the latter. We feel the tedium and suspense with Mina as the time and distance seemed endless to her. Thus, the usage of narrative time control allows the reader to be fully involved in the story and adds terror and suspense to the story.
In conclusion, this scene is significantly Lucy s first encounter with Dracula. Gothic conventions including setting, supernatural occurances, themes of isolation and ambiguousity helps to create a sense of uncanny and mystery and invokes fear in the reader. The diary form of narrative also adds to the suspense and tension of the scene. These basic ideas are present in the scene to create a typical Gothic scenario.