Prof. Westengard | O628 | Fall 2022

Blog 2

What Haggerty means by “normative … configurations of human interaction?”, is that gothic literature is intended to challenge social values and/or social norms. one instance in which these configurations are challenged in Otranto is in the first chapter where they explain that Isabella was in an arranged marriage with Conrad and in chapter four where they explain that Isabella and Matilda will marry each other father, showing the negative of an arranged marriage by forcing love. another instance of the author trying to challenge social norms with the character Manfred who was the ruler of Otranto and in the story was acting tyrant and you can say was the main antagonist, this was in my opinion to show the terrible side of monarchs but this explanation more relevant for the author time. a specific passage in The Castle of Otranto that embodies one or more of the characteristics he lists is this part where it says “At those words he seized the cold hand of Isabella, who was half dead with fright and horror. She shrieked, and started from him, Manfred rose to pursue her, when the moon, which was now up and gleamed in at the opposite casement, presented to his sight the plumes of the fatal helmet, which rose to the height of the windows, waving backward and forwards in a tempestuous manner, and accompanied with a hollow and rustling sound. Isabella, who gathered courage from her situation, and who dreaded nothing so much as Manfred’s pursuit of his declaration, cried…”(THE CASTLE OF OTRANTO, pg 12) this show Isabella felt terrified of Manfred and anxious about what he was going to do to her, for Manfred this was the only way he can get his bloodline to pass on so you can say he felt entrapped to do this for political and sexual reason. physical features of a castle can represent political and sexual entrapment because a castle can represent defense but this good or bad thing like being trapped for political and sexual reasons. some media I think contemporary examples of fiction or media that create the effects of “hallmarks of gothic fiction” will be twilight books, the Dracula novel, and the game I enjoy called “The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing” this the ones I know have a lot of gothic elements.


  1. Dolma Tsering

    Hi Steven, I agree with your comment that gothic literature intends to challenge social norms. There were many instances where societal norms were challenged in the story.

  2. Erika Gissel Naranjo

    Hi Steven,

    Completely in agreement with you here. Gothic literature does challenge our norms and way of thinking, in some instances making us uncomfortable. But these are the conversations that tend to be groundbreaking, the uncomfortable ones!

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