The poem, “The Goblin Market,” alludes to the temptation of sexual desire and the consequences that follow if one were to succumb to it. The fruits that the goblins are selling represent the sexual desire and temptation that Laura eventually gives into when she consumes the fruit. The stanza “she sucked and sucked and sucked the more fruits which that unknown orchard bore… then flung the empty rinds away” (p. 4) emphasizes that Laura consumed as much fruit as she could, fully giving into the temptation until she was completely satisfied. Shortly after this stanza it is mentioned how a previous woman, Jeanie, succumbed to her temptations that later lead to her demise which is represented in the lines that say “she pined and pined away; sought them by night and day, found them no more, but dwindled and grew grey; then fell with the first snow” (p.5). This is similar to what we have noted in Dracula. Lucy is tortured by Dracula throughout with sexual temptation and when she “succumbs” to the power of Dracula and the temptations he is providing; it leads to her demise within the novel. Both pieces display a fear of sexuality and how it was viewed negatively during the time period they were written. These pieces provide the message for women that sexual desire has temporary pleasure while the consequences lead to a lifetime of pain and suffering. Sexual encounters have been mentioned in many of the pieces we have read, however, in these two recent works it has become very apparent and appears to be a strong theme throughout gothic literature. I am curious to see if this theme continues throughout other pieces we will read in the future.
Author: Campbell Breithaupt
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.
Adjectives Hinting Murder?
“Whatever he would have said died away into inarticulate gasps which seemed to choke him, and sinking into a chair, he dropped his face upon the table and wept aloud. Perhaps in all the dismal scenes of domestic misery which had been acted in those spare and dreary houses- in all the petty miseries, the burning shames, the cruel sorrows, there had never been such a scene as this.” (173)
This passage was highly intriguing to me due to the strong tone and descriptive use of language within it. The graphic descriptions such as “died away” and “gasps which seemed to choke him” intensify the emotion of fear and sadness that the character was experiencing at the time. Then the author compares this scene to other descriptive experiences. As she does this, she uses more graphic descriptions to emphasize the severity of the emotions George’s father was releasing. As well as describe the intensity of this scene that Robert was witnessing. Concepts such as shame and sorrow are negative, however they are not necessarily considered dangerous. Adding such strong descriptions like burning and cruel emphasize that these feelings could elicit a sense of danger or pain.
This may be a reach but, the emphasis of pain, danger, and death within the adjectives could be alluding to the idea that George may have been murdered. These specific words could maybe represent the emotions and pain that he had felt before he died. As the book has carried on, and the mystery grows deeper the tone becomes darker alluding to the dark secrets Robert might discover.
A House but Not a Home
Passage starting with “a house in which no one room had any sympathy with another…” ending at the end of the page (pg.8).
One thing I noticed within this passage is the repetition of the word “house”. This made me think of the differences between the word “house” and the word “home”. In my opinion the word “home” is a way to describe a place or thing that provides the feeling of comfort or safety, it does not have to be a literal house, but rather anything or location that provides someone with these feelings. The word “house” solely describes a type of building and its physical appearance rather than the feelings it can provide, thus taking away emotions and only leaving the empty structure. Diving in further into the lack of those feelings, the phrase “no one room had any sympathy with another” (p. 8) provides the sense of disconnect. Also, the descriptions of the building mention the grand size of the house and the narrow staircase. This leads to a sense that while the house is large, it is still very constricting.
I think this passage may highlight issues within romantic or familial relationships and the disconnect within them. Within the book there has been mention of some relationships that are struggling or where the partners are physically or emotionally distant from one another. The distance and disconnect among the rooms could represent the physical and emotional distance going on within these relationships. I personally think that this passage emphasizes strained relationships within a house and how that can contribute to the lack of comfort and safety one feels thus preventing the sense of a “home” and instead it remains a meaningless building, a house.