People Enjoying Fear
There are two types of people in this world, people who enjoy the sensation of being scared and the people who don’t. For those people who enjoy being scared and the adrenaline it brings through whatever form you may experience it in, being scared can transform someone into learning to do something that they’re afraid of.
Children learn by doing what they fear and it’s how adults learn too. If someone wanted to increase the stakes every time they did something that brought fear to them, only then could they understand and compare the feeling of fear before doing something scary, than to the feeling of doing it and finishing it. Adrenaline filled activities brought through fear like thriller rides, and skydiving are purposely meant to scare us, to and can be shown through transformation, but one unique way of fear being proposed is through gothic literature. Gothic Literature has a main purpose to bring fear, as well as shock, dread, or disgust in readers. In some cases, people are alluded to the fear in gothic literature and actually enjoy the sensation of being scared. Human beings do need fear, because negative emotional reactions to scary things, in this case gothic literature can warn us to flee in certain situations, or fight, or do something that can protect ourselves.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Transformation occurs throughout the book Frankenstein written by Mary Shelley. Victor Frankenstein the main protagonist in the story receives a letter from Elizabeth who is the Cousin, adopted sister, and eventually wife of Victor saying that “William is dead! That sweet child. Whose smiles delighted and warmed my heart, was so gentle, yet so gay!”(74). The cause of this poor child’s death transformed Victor Frankenstein’s personality into someone who would almost be the opposite of Victor. Mary Shelley embedded this event in the story to express what Victor was feeling through the reader. Furthermore, in the book Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein creates a monster, who ends up killing his brother. Victor realizes this, meets up with the monster and the monster demands Victor to “Create a female [monster] for [him] with whom [he] can live in the interchange of [the]sympathies necessary for [his] being. This [Victor] alone can do, and [the monster demands it] as a right which [Victor can] not refuse to coincide” (157). This transformation of the monster that Victor created demanding its own creator shows dramatic irony in the story. This part of the story can impact the reader showing them how Victor is feeling after being demanded by his own creation.
The Fall of the House of Usher
One other story that applies transformation to affect the reader is the short story “The Fall of the House of Usher” written by Edgar Allan Poe. At first, when an unknown narrator visits his old friend Usher, because it was brought to his attention that Usher was ill. The narrator describes Usher as “The now ghastly pallor of the skin, and the now miraculous luster of the eye […](17). Edgar Allan Poe is illustrating a transformation of Ushers change in appearance from the past to the present. In return of this transformation, it showed Usher’s depression and fear which gives the reader a deeper look and feel for what certain characters in the story are feeling which truly reveals what gothic literature reveals about human nature. As “The Fall of the House of Usher” progresses, the still to be unknown narrator describes Lady Usher’s Appearance prior to putting her into a a chamber. She was described by the narrator as “Lofty and enshrouded figure of the Lady Madeline of Usher. [There] was blood upon her robes, and the evidence of some bitter struggle upon every portion of [her] emaciated frame”(30). Having the narrator describe Lady Usher this way dramatically shows the reader a transformation of an innocent Lady Madeline, who Usher believed was gone, led to the horrific feeling that a reader can feel because of the use of transformation.
Irony in House Taken Over
A very interesting short story called “House Taken Over” written by Julio Cortazar includes some aspects of transformation. The story starts off in Buenos Aires, centering around a brother who is the narrator in the story and his sister named Irene. Both of them live together in a large house which had been passed down through many family generations. One night, the two start hearing noises making them believe that the house is being “taken over”, so the brother locks up the house. Near the end of the short story, the house had been taken over by the demons. The brother and his sister are forced to flee the house and the brother feels “Terrible; [He locks] the front door up tight and [tosses] the key down the sewer. It wouldn’t do to have some poor devil decide to go in and rob the house […]” (42). Poe does a wonderful job of incorporating a transformation of the house being possessed with demons creating a form of irony and suspense showing what the characters in the story can feel after losing their beloved home. Edgar Allan Poe includes this event in the story to create a sad heartbreaking moment which hopefully allures the reader into feeling what the characters feel.
Transformations in Gothic Literature
As a result, transformation creates suspense and ironic feelings in which they are meant to scare the reader and hopefully have the reader feel for what certain characters feel in stories. Transformation was expressed throughout “Frankenstein”, where the reader could relate to Victor’s depression and feeling of hatred. Also in ‘The Fall of House on Usher”, where Usher himself mistakenly thinking that Usher’s sister had passed away, creating a lot of fear for Usher being alive, as well as the demons in “House Taken Over” taking over the house leaving the lonely brother and sister to be in a stage of terror and depression. For these reasons the allure of stories meant to scare us is a way of teaching someone how to overcome their biggest fears in life.