1 Intimacy and Interiority Order No. 827421 Introduction The Gothic novel has been known to appear in novel form as early as the Middle Ages. Gothic Literature is written mainly with a dark supernatural imagery. The setting itself is a vivid explanation of what the reader can expect by means of story and incidents…
This blend is what makes the narrative unpredictable and full of suspense. Sometimes, these characters which are of paranormal and unknown existence tend to make themselves more real in the readers eyes, than fictional characters of novels from various other genres because of the attractive combination of paranormal beings in bizarre settings such as dungeons, eerie forests, labyrinths, crypts and catacombs, and even sinister ruins and evil omens that erupt mysterious events. In this paper we would be discussing two stories from Gothic Literature, and attempt to shed light on the nature and intimacy within the narrative. The first is a short story titled “The Damned Things” (1898) by Ambrose Bierce and the second being ‘The Willows’ (1907) by Algernon Blackwood. The paper attempts to investigate how and why the untamed Gothic relies on intimacy to suit its needs 2 The human mind accepts only what is sees and perceives as reality whereas in the story of ‘The Damned Thing’, a paranormal existence is brought to light. Human beings are trained to shut away what they cannot see and cannot hear as it being non-existent. However, this story drives the reader to that level of terror to believe that the character Morgan is being tormented by something dreadful that he cannot see or hear, but which does exist. The story starts out with the protagonist Hugh Morgan being dead lying on a table with eight people surrounding it, conducting an inquest into the matter of his death. William Harker is a fictional writer, who is the only witness to Morgan’s death. Thus he is called in to relay his account of what he saw that night while he was with Morgan in the place with the wild oats. Hugh Morgan had been a victim of torture at the hands of something that he knows exists and feels but cannot see. He is scared and even considers himself going mad as he is torn between what his mind and senses are feeling and what is considered reality. The line between his reality and the ones of the normal world blurs into oblivion and that is when he decides to get the help of William Harker. The Gothic seems to be of a silent nature when Morgan speaks about it in his journal. He experiences its closeness in many instances but is never harmed. Initially, the Gothic is a mere shadow passing far away from the realms of Morgan’s house but still close enough for his dog to sense it. The dog barks and goes in circles when the Gothic passes and finally hides in the bushes until it leaves. The way the journal entry 3 is written suggests that this was not the first time that they encountered the Gothic. The first example of intimacy between the Gothic and the protagonist seems to take place on the previous night of Morgan’s journal entry, on Sept.2. He writes about how he stared into the night sky and was admiring the stars ‘above the crest of the ridge east of the house’ (Bierce, 1898) when his vision of them was blurred and almost blotted out by something that seemed to pass between him and the stars. He could feel it and experience it but could not see it. The next entry of the Gothic suggested that it was more tangible as the intimacy with the protagonist increased, making its presence felt by way of fresh ‘footprints.’ (Bierce, 1898) According to him, the more encounters he experienced, the more closer the Gothic drew towards the real Morgan. The next two entries in his journal suggest that he is tortured by the presence of the Gothic not ...
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