Grotesque Aspects Of Gothic Literature

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Princeton University scholar, Matthew M. Reeves, claims that “…the Gothic is an allusion to or characteristic of the Middle Ages, or, more obliquely, the ‘mediæval’ or ‘romantic,’ both of which are positioned as opposites to the classical” (Reeves 233). However, in today’s modern culture, gothic fiction can be described in simpler terms as a genre in literature which emphasizes and illuminates the darkness “of terror and death and violence” (Fiedler 9). This literary movement allows authors to better portray and relate the more so real aspects of everyday lives to their readers as gothic elements such as death, isolation, and darkness are common occurrences in people’s lives. From Reeves’s claim that gothic culture tends to oppose classical …show more content…
As one reads through the graphic novel, death is something that is very apparent and happens continually throughout the story as Dream and Delirium journey to find their elder brother, Destruction. It seemed that for almost every person that could have potentially helped the two Endless in their difficult search, many were met with uncertain and sudden death. It is in these deaths that the reader is exposed to the more grotesque aspects of Brief Lives. The first person on Delirium’s list of people who last spoke with Destruction was the lawyer, Bernard Capax. At the end of chapter two and beginning of chapter three, his fifteen-thousand-year life came to a quick end as he was crushed by a building being demolished (Gaiman 2). With images of his lifeless body under large blocks of cement, the reader sees the image of Death herself as Bernard realizes his life has come to an end (Gaiman 2). These images stimulate a fear that many individuals have towards death with the fear of realizing death and the end. The second unexpected death to occur is the death of Ruby, the escort of Delirium and Dream. In chapter four, there is the haunting image of Ruby as she was found burnt to an unrecognizable state after supposedly falling asleep with a lite cigarette in her mouth (Gaiman 23). There is also the death of Ishtar, Destruction’s past lover, as she dances her final dance in chapter five. In the last moments of her life, images of nudity and grotesqueness fill the panels as the men watch her move with such beauty that some of the men feel pain as blood pours out of their ears, as some experience heart attacks, and as one man ejaculates “violently” (Gaiman 23). Each death is illustrated in a tragic way and almost unnatural way which highlights the grotesque and makes this graphic novel hard to forget due to its disturbing qualities and

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