Elements of Gothic Literature

Dawson Truman

1. Nighttime Action

The general mood of the story is dark and mysterious. It may have a feeling of gloom, depression, insanity, paranoia, or whatever negative feeling you can think of. At least a few scenes take place at night or in a dark place to reflect this mood.

2. Supernatural Events

The majority of Gothic literature contains supernatural elements. The nature of these abnormalities usually fits the Gothic theme, often dealing with spirits, witchcraft, or other varieties of "dark magic".

Sometimes the protagonist is just insane, but the book portrays her hallucinations as real (because it is from her point of view), leaving the reader to question whether the things she was seeing were real or fake.

3. Intense Emotions

The emotions of the main characters are very strong, and these characters are typically very temperamental.

Very often, the character is somehow socially isolated, and is prone to irrationality or insanity due to intense loneliness and a lack of exposure to healthy strains of thought. She may be driven to attach herself, often romantically, to people she thinks she shares a bond with because she is desperate for human interaction.

4. Damsel in Distress

Many works of Gothic literature feature a young, beautiful, and very emotional woman. She usually is socially isolated due to her emotional-ness, and she usually ends up falling in love with some guy who she can relate with (meaning the guy is super emotional too).

5. Remote Location

The setting amplifies the Gothic mood. Big, lonely, dark mansions are common. Other dreary settings include graveyards, a shady part of town at night, a dark forest, etc.