English Lib B Unit 3 - Aspects of the gothic

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crystal_soper
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Hi,

For section A I'm really struggling to write a response for past paper questions and was wondering whether anyone else was having the same problem, especially with introductions? Was wondering if anyone would mind taking a look at the one I have written below and giving me any advice?

In an introduction to the novel, Mary Shelley stated that she wished to “curdle the blood and quicken the beatings of the heart”. To what extent do you think that she achieves this?

In Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” her intention to “curdle the blood” suggests that she wishes to still and thicken the blood of her readers, an aspect of gothic horror, while her phrase “quicken the beatings of the heart” suggest that she aimed to ignite fear and anxiety, emotions typical of gothic terror. In defining these terms, Ann Radcliffe stated that gothic horror was the outright show of shocking events, enough to freeze a person, while gothic terror was the creeping build up of a devilish event. In retrospect of this, Mary Shelley achieves her aim in numerous ways, such as in her descriptions of Victor Frankenstein’s behaviour for example, as well as her use of setting, embedded narrative and fluid, imagery-inducing language, as these shock and terrify the readers. However, in saying this, although the text is in many ways more than capable fulfilling her intentions, it also could be considered to fail in the endeavour, as the incredible detail she includes throughout the text causes events to lose significance and effect. Her use of melodramatic, somewhat effeminate protagonist, although a fixture of the gothic genre, could also be interpreted as ridiculing the gothic genre and igniting black humour in the reader, rather than curdling their blood and quickening their hearts.

ALL ADVICE WELCOME!
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(Original post by crystal_soper)
Hi,

For section A I'm really struggling to write a response for past paper questions and was wondering whether anyone else was having the same problem, especially with introductions? Was wondering if anyone would mind taking a look at the one I have written below and giving me any advice?

In an introduction to the novel, Mary Shelley stated that she wished to “curdle the blood and quicken the beatings of the heart”. To what extent do you think that she achieves this?

In Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” her intention to “curdle the blood” suggests that she wishes to still and thicken the blood of her readers, an aspect of gothic horror, while her phrase “quicken the beatings of the heart” suggest that she aimed to ignite fear and anxiety, emotions typical of gothic terror. In defining these terms, Ann Radcliffe stated that gothic horror was the outright show of shocking events, enough to freeze a person, while gothic terror was the creeping build up of a devilish event. In retrospect of this, Mary Shelley achieves her aim in numerous ways, such as in her descriptions of Victor Frankenstein’s behaviour for example, as well as her use of setting, embedded narrative and fluid, imagery-inducing language, as these shock and terrify the readers. However, in saying this, although the text is in many ways more than capable fulfilling her intentions, it also could be considered to fail in the endeavour, as the incredible detail she includes throughout the text causes events to lose significance and effect. Her use of melodramatic, somewhat effeminate protagonist, although a fixture of the gothic genre, could also be interpreted as ridiculing the gothic genre and igniting black humour in the reader, rather than curdling their blood and quickening their hearts.

ALL ADVICE WELCOME!
Hi. I have had a look through your introduction. I am not doing Frankenstein in the exam, and I am not incredibly familiar with the text, so I cannot judge what you have written (though it sounds awesome!)
However, it is a bit too long. Examiners are looking for a basic outline of your argument, which you can elaborate on further in the body of your essay. What about this instead - (and I hope you do not mind me moving things around, but it is much better to give an example!)

...Shelley’s intention to “curdle the blood” suggests that she wishes to horrify her readers through shocking events, while her phrase “quicken the beatings of the heart” suggest that she aimed to ignite terror in her readers through fear and anxiety. While successful in some instances, Shelley's use of a melodramatic protagonist arguably ridicules the gothic genre and ignites black humour in the reader, rather than curdling our blood and quickening our hearts...

The examiner can clearly pick up the basic structure of your argument and it is much more lucid: yes Shelley provokes fear and horror, but look she induces other reactions that belie her attempts to curdle the blood

I hope that helps!
Good luck.




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