Prof. Westengard | O628 | Fall 2022

Blog 2

I think by ā€œnormativeā€¦configurations of human interactionā€, Haggerty means the socially acceptable or common characteristics of human involvement. Bin the Castle of Ontranto, we see some of these instances. One of such is Manfred trying to wed his sons betrothed. In society, this is seen to be very weird and almost taboo, especially because Isabella and Manfred had a relationship reflecting that of a father and a daughter. There were many times where Isabella has referred to Manfred and Hippolita as a mother or father.

One passage in Ontranto that represents characteristics of political entrapment and gloom is in Chapter 1 when Isabella is finding her way through the subterraneous passages (pg. 43). In this passage, the subterraneous regions were described as having many different cloisters and that finding the exact door that would aid in her escape was difficult. It also described the setting as silent, dark, rusty, and windy. Due to the shape and infrastructure of tunnels, any sound made was bound to echo, which occurred several times with the wind and the rattling hinges. The physical features represented physical and sexual entrapment because she was in a place that she was unfamiliar with and had very limited ways of escape. The vault door was very hard to find, and the other way out was not a viable option because that would lead her to Manfred, or her doom. The description of the physical features also added to the feeling of terror and doom because if Isabella did not find her escape, she would have been forced to marry Manfred. The cold, dark, and rusty description of the region contributes to a scene of fear and anxiety.

Some contemporary examples of medial that include these hallmarks of gothic fiction is the Harry Potter films. Although they are not in the gothic genre, they incorporate similar scenery and descriptions to emphasize the characters fear and terror. They also frequently use the metaphors of passageways and tunnels and as the characters move frantically through them trying to find a way of escape, it represents entrapment.

2 Comments

  1. Justice Monge

    Hello Rebecca! great post. Also a great example of how you mentioned harry potter for hallmarks of gothic fiction(if it is gothic) I didn’t even think of that, probably that would’ve been the last thing on my mind. I agree that the characters fear and terror emphasizes the factors when in tunnels and secret passageways trying to escape for freedom representing their theme which is entrapment.

  2. Laura Westengard

    Great analysis, Rebecca!

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