The Role Transformation Plays In Gothic Stories
Transformation is a change that helps scary stories scare us. Alicia dying (para. 5) in “The Feather Pillow”, Roderick mentally deteriorating (para. 9) in “Fall of the House of Usher”, and the house devolving (para. 38) in “Where is Here” are three different types of transformations. There is a change in life, a change in mental stability and a physical change respectively. A transformation of any kind is what invokes fear in a scary story.
The transformation change in a person’s life invokes fear of why this happening and implements a mystery. “But she is worse again at night time tremors and hallucinations visit. The tremors get worse…she dies (para. 5).” At the beginning of “The Feather Pillow”, Alicia and Jordan were happy and Alicia dying is a major change to their life. And why she was dying was unknown building tension throughout the story. Considering, the foreshadowing about the monster throughout the dreams and hallucinations but the story not explicitly saying what was happening until the end caused readers and the characters to fear the absolute worst. Their change in life is what made the scary story scary.
A change in mental stability can also be a scary transformation. “I learned… another singular feature of his condition (para. 12).” In “The Fall of the House of Usher” Roderick’s mental condition is connected with the house’s wellness. And the narrator is spending time with Roderick and fears him unraveling. “And now death agonies bore him to the floor a corpse and victims to the terrorize had anticipated (para. 49).” Now that Roderick has died, the narrator fears, which causes the audience to fear that the house will collapse. Throughout the story, Roderick’s mental stability caused tension and every time he lashed out, the audience feared the worst. His mentally transforming for the worst is what causes tension and turn causes fear throughout the story.
Something physically changing can seem unnatural and scary. “The patterned wallpaper seemed drained of color, a shadow lay upon it shaped like a bulbous cloud or growing even the round green of the carpeting look faded (para. 38).” The father starts noticing the house changing. Something like a house changing by itself seems unnatural and seemed scary to the father. “Everywhere the father looked, a pulse beat mute with rage (para. 38).” The father was probably in a rage because he did not know what was happening. He feared the unknown because houses don’t transform within seconds by itself. The house changing is what made the story seem scary because it seemed unnatural.
The three transformations are what evoked fear in a fearful story. The argument could be made that all the transformations are found in all the stories. In “The Feather Pillow” Alica dying to a monster is also a physical change (para 5) and her hallucinations test her mental stability (para 5)i. In “The Fall of The House of Usher” The house of usher underwent a physical change (para. 49) and the narrator coming to Usher’s house is a change in the narrator’s life (para. 5). Also, In “Where is here” the house transformed so did the mother and father mentally (para. 38) and the stranger coming is a change to their life (para. 1). Transformations play a big part in the stories because without they wouldn’t be scary. This is why most scary stories include a change in life, a change in mental stability and a physical change or some other type of transformation. Considering scary stories purpose is to scare the reader and transformations scare people, Transformations play a crucial part in any scary story.