Essay, Pages 4 (990 words)
Literature written in the late Victorian and Edwardian era often reflected on what was happening at the time, also having links to the fin de si?cle by using impressionism, symbolism and expressionism, the extract is set out in chronological order starting with the character telling you in a first person narrative about their experience. “There are few of us·wakened before dawn” going on to describe the setting and imagery by using language and symbols, with a gothic influence throughout.
Although he uses traditional tropes of the Gothic psychology within the text “vivid life lurks in all grotesques” this being a metaphor that life is not fulfilled in fact its empty. “white fingers creep·appear to tremble” which suggests the sun creeping through the window at the break of dawn. Often used within the late Victorian era was the supernatural and the uncanny within a recognisable environment. This brings a sense of plausibility to the narrative, and thereby enabling the Gothic features of the text to be all the more disturbing.
The text depicts someone who has woken from a deep sleep, looking at the world with an open mind, seeing things in a different light, while taking it all in. How the dawn is braking, and the sun is creeping in through the curtains casting a shadow over the room, giving the ominous impression that things are different and changing as the night becomes day. Like the world is changing, there were also many changes during the late Victorian period especially heading into the early Edwardian as well as characterising the moral issues of fin de si?cle many believed it was a new phase in society and modernism which founded in the sense of transformation, things are progressing not only with degeneration which was sceptical in regards to societys strictures on morality raising fears especially in regards to sexuality “the same wearisome round of stereotyped habits” could be interpreted with Oscar Wilde, as he being the author was himself convicted for his homosexuality and imprisoned.
Wilde served two years and then spent the last three years of his life in exile. He died at the age of 45 and was buried in Paris. Although The picture of Dorian Grey was published before Wilde was incarcerated it was criticised for its allusions of homosexuality this also shows an indication to the social tensions within that time. It is also apparent that within the extract that art imitates life “the wan mirrors get back their mimic life,” when put into context with the fin de si?cle Impressionism is apparent as it gives a detailed rendering of the surroundings, carefully using the setting and with the use of metaphors builds up a picture, as impressionism was originally thought of as an artist or painter, but when it is put into context within a text, it could be argued that the writer is an artist using words to build an image. “white fingers creep” the rays of sunlight beaming through a gap in the curtains by writing in this style it builds an eerie picture. Symbolism was used to explore themes by giving them meanings that are different from their literal sense, colours are often used as symbols the colour purple is used within the text, purple can be seen as just the colour, but also purple throughout the ages has been associated with royalty, nobility, mystery and power. Also, black which is often used to portray something evil, depressing, scary and even death, but can also be seen as a powerful colour that symbolizes class, elegance and wealth for example in the black. White is often associated with being frightened or sickly, but also as innocent, pure, fresh and good, as well it can also mean new beginnings a fresh start.
. In regard to the fin de si?cle which refers to it being the end of the cycle or end of the century the onset of another it also refers to the artistic movement. Expressionism is also regarded as a term for artists, which is a movement or tendency that strives to express subjective feelings and emotions rather than to depict reality or nature, objectively when put into context with the extract “especially the art of those minds have been troubled with the malady of reverie” it becomes apparent, that within the language used that the writer does this throughout the text. “Veil after veil of thin dusky gauze” could suggest lifting the veil between worlds. Which could also be seen as a symbol in regard to the Victorian era as it is coming to an end moving into the early Edwardian era, this may be considered as a colonial challenge and a fear of the other within the fin de si?cle period and the industrial age. Although putting it into perspective the text describes change, although in reality nothing has changed everything is as it once was, its just cast in shadow as the morning light gradually enters the room the shadows begin to lift revealing that the “things are restored” which shows that depending on which way you persevere it, a new dawn, a new day or same thing in a different light. It implies it’s the same, as it examines the relationship between art and reality.
In conclusion the extract is highlighting the uneasy interplay between ethics and aesthetics as well as the links between the artist and the resulting image. By using gothic tropes to set the scene it evokes a dark and gloomy atmosphere, a form of revere, a malady of dreaming that is prominent with gothic text in the 1890c, it also relates to what was happening within the time period in regard to the late Victorian early Edwardian being a time of change there were concerns about degeneration, fears of regression, equally there was political challenge, education reform, challenge to the gender spheres among others, the writers literary features within the text including Symbolism, personification metaphors and so on.