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Victoria Isaac – Gothic Coffeehouse 4

Throughout the first half of this semester, we have read multiple stories with multiple gothic elements. Most of the elements displayed include but are not limited to the following: cruelty, lust, fear, violence, doing the forbidden, and acting violent beyond expectation. The Lottery and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde both display these gothic elements. Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde, Tessie, and Mr. Summers portray these gothic elements in their own ways. These elements are displayed mainly through external and internal conflicts.

“The Lottery” follows the story of Tessie Hutchinson and Mr. Summers who hold the lottery as a tradition annually. Just like how in today’s modern lottery a person draws tickets and matches the numbers to win a prize, Mr. Summers’ lottery has people draw pieces of paper to determine who gets to stay alive at the end of the process. At the end of the story, Tessie didn’t realize how blind she was until she ended up with the piece of paper with the black spot. She tries to escape her fate and by asking for help while Mr. Summers sits back and watches instead of participating in the lottery process. Does this mean that he hates Tessie in particular? Or does he just love keeping this tradition alive?

“The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” follows a murder mystery when a little girl gets trampled to death in the beginning of the story. Mr. Utterson was a witness to the murder and believes that Dr. Jekyll is the one behind the murder. However, Jekyll pins the blame on a man named Edward Hyde, whom nobody else has ever seen before. What everybody else doesn’t know is that Hyde is Jekyll’s alter ego, and Jekyll uses a potion to change back and forth between himself and Hyde. At first Jekyll was able to control the changes, but then it got to the point where Hyde was almost overpowering Jekyll. He got a thrill out of those he killed, but didn’t want to take the responsibility so he blames Jekyll. At the end, in mid-transition, Jekyll consumes a potion to try and kill Hyde, but in the process he commits suicide. In comparing these two characters to Mr. Summers and Tessie, I will be exploring the different conflicts between the two pairs: external conflict and internal conflict. Could lust, fear and violence be the cause of the conflicts? Or could they be the catalyst for something worse?

In comparing these four characters from both stories, I will be exploring the ideas of control, science, and the central gothic irony. The central gothic irony plays a huge part in both stories between all four characters. To answer these questions about conflict, I will first have to examine the conflict between Tessie and Mr. Summers and then examine the conflict between Jekyll and Hyde. Based on what I already know, Tessie and Mr. Summers have an external conflict since they are fighting with each other in terms of tradition and whether or not to keep the tradition of the lottery alive. Jekyll and Hyde have more of an internal conflict because they are ultimately the same person and they just switch back and forth between personalities depending on who they are around.

 Also with this comparison, I will be exploring the gothic elements of fear, violence, and control since both stories have these elements in common. I will explore who’s being feared and who’s controlling the violent acts in each story. I will also explore which character is being controlled if any. The biggest concept I want to explore is the idea of how central gothic irony plays in each story. After the results and the fates of all four characters, do these stories return to a sense of normalcy? Or is the sense of normalcy something that no longer exists?

1 Comment

  1. Professor Sean Scanlan

    Thanks for sharing this draft. The comparison forms a neat square–nice idea. Be care on the trampling scene…does she really die? Be wary to trying to accomplish too much; I would focus on the very interesting idea of internal/external conflicts surrounding murder/killing. Does the Lottery present the external murder as somehow better–more transparent–than Jekyl’s devious hidden murders? One seems to kill to “help” the village, the other kills for sport. So, how does the CGI differentiate the two? A fine start has helped me to offer these compelling questions.
    -Prof. Scanlan

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