Into the Unknown

Within Gothic literature the idea of the supernatural makes frequent appearances, but why is that? Because things and ideas we cannot comprehend to our fullest extent provoke feelings of fear and uncertainty. Throughout Bram Stoker’s Dracula there is constant questioning and occurrences that trigger “the unknown”. Within the first chapter when Jonathan is making his journey to the castle in the back of the carriage, he continuously notes the darkness of the night. During this journey Jonathan writes “he kept turning his head to left and right, but I could not see anything through the darkness” (19). What he writes alludes to the idea that there is more beyond that layer of darkness, however, it is not visible to him. This inability to see in the darkness represents the inability to comprehend something unexplainable thus, causing Jonathan to feel unsettled. This theme of “the unknown” continues through events such as the time Jonathan was shaving near Dracula. He writes, “I could see him over my shoulder. But there was no reflection of him in the mirror…this was startling and coming on the top of so many strange things, was beginning to increase that vague feeling of uneasiness…” (32). While he notices that there is something incorrect in the way that there is no reflection, he cannot arrive at an answer to explain the phenomenon and is overtaken with a feeling of uneasiness. This idea of being unable to “see” the truth that is hidden by the darkness of the unknown is able to trigger fear and uneasiness within the author. I believe that this novel is trying to communicate that while monsters and creatures of the supernatural are scary as is, our inability to formulate answers or having understanding of them, is what fuels the fear that we experience reading Dracula.

3 thoughts on “Into the Unknown”

  1. I like both the approach and conclusion of this blog. While large and scary objects or monsters are terrifying, there is nothing scarier than darkness and invisibility. There are several times throughout the story where Dracula is able to be dark and secretive to add to his horror, including the quote you used from p. 19 specifically. I also like the focus on the word “unknown”. Not only is it horrifying to not be able to see something, but not understanding or having an explanation of something is even scarier, as Jonathan experienced walking around the castle, and while he was shaving, not having awareness of what was going to happen.

  2. I totally agree with you. The sense of the unknown and darkness really amplify the fear that is seen throughout the novel. I also wrote about Jonathan’s time in Dracula’s castle and the fear that he went through and I think that a big part of it was the sense of the unknown that he had. I also think that a lot of the fear that Dracula gave off was due to him being so suspicious and most of his character being unknown.

  3. I really like how you connect the theme of uncertainty with the theme of fear. The essence of the dark and the scenes of mental and physical blurriness are very common throughout the novel, especially in the beginning of the book where Jonathan is being transported to the Dracula’s castle. During that scene, there are many moments of uncertainty and fear as Jonathan is travelling in the dark while also experiencing and viewing weird things during his travel along with the company of the supernaturally strong driver. Finally, I believe that your beliefs also correlate to the gothic with the idea of the darkness and the supernatural element.

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