Essay on Gothic Fiction: An Analysis of Space in The Monk

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Gothic Fiction: An Analysis of Space in The Monk. Space is inseparable part of every text of literature. In the Gothic fiction space is extremely important, as the Gothic fiction is mostly based on creating images connected with human perception. During the process of reading readers often use their imagination. Therefore, depiction of old castles, ruined abbeys, monasteries, subterranean passages, vaults, or secret panels, is a standard method of creating the atmosphere. As Izdebska claims, “[t]he subject of a story is event in some space, but also the space itself” (33). A typical example is the setting in Horace Walople’s Otranto, being almost a character in the novel. The castle with its ghosts, giant helmets, giant feet, …show more content…
public space and central vs. peripheral space. Let us concentrate on the three most important kinds of space within the novel, namely: personal space, the relation between space and characteristic, and enclosed versus open spaces. The Monk is a book where several people’s personal space (freedom) is violated. The most vivid example is a story of Antonia. She is a young, innocent girl, who lives happily in India, later in Murcia, but with her arrival to Madrid, the period of innocence is soon ended. Antonia is a very religious person, we meet her in church, with her aunt Leonella. She is very bashful and not acquainted with the world of adults. In the scene in church, she is veiled, which is symbolic : “The veil stands for the traditional chastity ascribed to women, the fact that their charms are traditionally covered, the belief that sex does not and need not concern them” (Morse 52-3). The veil is also a key element concerning Bleeding Nun: “The myth of the Bleeding Nun is built around structural opposition between the fact that the nun is veiled and the fact that she is bleeding, the symbol of veil is contradicted by the symbol of blood, which is a perpetual sign of woman’s capacity to have children” (Morse 53) Morse’s comment on the nun’s veil is reminiscent of the opening scene, when Lorenzo and Christanval try to see behind Antonia’s veil, a desire for the uncovering
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