Partially Deceased Syndrome

In the Flesh is a television show which includes victims who have been infected by Partially Deceased Syndrome. The victims must go through an institution before they are aloud to enter normal human society again. This idea of an institution is very popular within the gothic genre.  These institutions are what makes a person feel like a unique individual. It could relate to their religion, social class, educational background, etc. They want to feel like they belong in society, yet they have certain aspects that make them feel proud, superior, even different to others. The victims who were infected with Partially Deceased Syndrome were forced into mainstream society because  society likes homogeneity. If the victims looked “normal” enough than that’s good enough for society. Of course society itself knows that each individual is different in their own way, but if an individual appears normal, especially after medical  experts have deemed them normal, then that’s good enough for society. In American Psycho, Patrick Bateman was well aware that he was not normal, but he knew he could blend in with the crowd if he portrayed himself as being an upperclass White and handsome male. This shows how much society relies on their specific institution within the gothic genre. As long as they appear normal, society will accept them and they can use their institution to disguise their true identity.


Gothic Definitions

Here’s a list of some gothic definitions! 

  • Sensibility — a personal attribute believing that feelings, emotion, and sympathies should be, or could be, the basis of action, for charitable behavior, for social progress. Examples include Victor’s father, Alphonse, in Franenstein, Van Helsing in Dracula and Dick Halloran in The Shining.
  • Consumption — the act of consuming whether it’s body, culture, or technology. Examples are Dracula and American Psycho.
  • Male hysteria — the male hero goes through bouts of hysterics; screaming, fainting, crying. Example is protagonists in Lovecraftian stories.
  • Landscape — structure, nature, or background mirrors the horror or terror of the characters or story lines. Examples are The Castle of OtrantoFrankenstein, and The Shining.
  • Supernatural — events unexplained by the natural world, controlled by some other entity, god, or otherwise. Examples are Overlook Hotel in The Shining and the character of Count Dracula.
  • Superstition — the belief in things otherworldly, supernatural, or things which stray from reality. Examples are the servants in The Castle of Otranto and the gypsies in Dracula.
  • Gender roles — set of social and behavioral norms that are generally considered appropriate for either a man or a woman in a social or interpersonal relationship. Examples include Dracula, Isabela in The Castle of Otranto, and Elizabeth in Frankenstein.
  • Loss/absence of soul — the idea of my person lacking a soul is also lacking a conscious. The characters of Count Dracula, Patrick Bateman, and Frankenstein’s creature are examples.
  • Religion — plays a huge part in gothic horror because it deals with the supernatural and the sublime, as well as defines moral boundaries. Examples include The Castle of Otranto and many of the stories in the Forgotten Gothic.
  • Nature — the use of nature as a landscape, the natural world, to juxtapose the supernatural or unnatural sets of the religion/superstitious side. Examples are FrankensteinThe Castle of Otranto, and Dracula.

Group members: – Elizabeth – TK – Tony – Craig

short stories

“Cool Air” is a short story that shows the drastic alteration of classic gothic novels. In classic gothic literature, it includes a lot of lightness versus darkness, old versus new, superstitions, and there is usually a hero. “Cool Air” is a very short story, where the main character demands to be surrounded by cold air constantly. He has a medical disorder that will not allow him to be in warm temperatures, or else his body will begin to decay. He is basically prolonging his inevitable death. Instead of having a hero like how there often is a hero in a typical gothic novel, the ending is more of an observation of how  there is fear of the unknown, which is related to science. It also ends with an abrupt reality, which is individuals should not prolong their death. If someone is in the process of dying, then they should let themselves die naturally. Also, a lot of gothic literature includes many symbols throughout the setting, involving the structures and architecture. “Cool Air” doesn’t really include symbols of the setting, but more of a description. The house is kind of portrayed like a castle, but the house has no ulterior meaning towards the house. For example in Castle of Otranto, the description of the castle also included lots of symbolism, while the house in “Cool Air” is just simply a house. Also a classic gothic novel will include terror, especially coming from the narrator. In “Cool Air,” the narrator includes little to no terror. He’s not necessarily  scared, but more-so experiences fear for someone else. These are just a few of the drastic differences between a traditional gothic novel compared to gothic short stories.

“The Shining” & “Frankenstein” Introductory

     Both The Shining and Frankenstein introduce much creativity within their characters and the perception of what a monster is. In The Shining, Stephen King explains how his father treated him terribly, yet he still cared and loved him. What is interesting about the main character, Jack Torrance, is that he becomes a killer for unusual reasons. One would think that a killer would commit these horrendous crimes due to an abusive childhood, such as Jack Torrance’s childhood. Instead, his main reasoning for these murders are not due to the abusive childhood, but it’s more of an addition as to why he commits these crimes. The abuse growing up is implied to have some sort of reasoning as to why he commits these crimes, but the main reason seems to be due to supernatural ghostly forces. These reasons are why The Shining is extremely creative and diverse.

      The Frankenstein introduction is very similar to The Shining due to the author’s attachment to their fathers, despite the brutality against their children. Both authors recognize their father’s did not treat them right, yet they also recognize they will always have a yearning attachment for their fathers. Frankenstein shows much uniqueness on her view on what a monster really is. The author, Mary Shelley, claimed that the poor were viewed as monstrous due to there drastic class differences; she defines the term monsters, as more of an outward appearance due to the judgmental views of society. This is an extremely creative view on what a monster could be viewed as.  She then goes on to explain how she was devastated by the death of her child, which is apparent amongst the appearance of Frankenstein. Shelley creatively made a fictional character out of her personal grief.

American Psycho and Dracula are polar opposites when it comes to the amount of media throughout the book. Although Dracula doesn’t include much media, the book is filled with journal entries, much like a blog post would be. Dracula tries to stay as far away from technology as possible, while Bateman, in American Psycho, is attached to technology. Since Bateman is a very wealthy, materialistic, and young adult during the ’80s, he has practically every new and cool gadget that comes out. Throughout the book, it mentions digital televisions, VCR systems, CD players, walkmans, video recorders, and telephones. All these forms of media he uses for his own twisted pleasure. Bateman records his gruesome murders and rapes on video, watches televison mainly to watch pornography or documentaries for sexual pleasure, and listens to music on his walkman because he prefers that over live music. It’s clear that Bateman used his wealth as an advantage by buying the cool new technological gadgets, while Dracula decided to stay away from new technology, even though he was wealthy enough to do so. Dracula chooses to buy a big house that will last a life time, while Bateman continues to buy materialistic things that will never be good enough for him. Although Bateman is a brutal serial killer, the mass media doesn’t seem to affect him much. The book insinuates the murders that are all over the news, are mostly due to Bateman. He’s so confident with his clever homicides that even broadcasted news doesn’t phase him. One would think he would use the availability of mass media to reassure himself  that he is not a suspect, but he just continues on with his days, nothing seeming to give him any sort of emotion until he is temporarily happy during the process of torturing others.

Eng. 113

My worst nightmare included myself, two older women, and a crowd of people. I was in a dim lit kitchen with a huge cauldron in front of me. The way the two women were dressed and how the room was decorated, reminded me of a picture I have seen from the 1600’s. In this nightmare, I was crying, telling the two women to stop. These two women were knitting thick, wool blankets and wrapping me in them one after the other. Since I was covered in blankets and laying right next to a stove that would eventually cook me, my hair and body were drenched in sweat and I could hardly breathe. According to these women, the more I sweated the better due to the fact that dinner would be more flavorful and moist. I remember crying trying to get them to stop, and they replied with a malicious laugh explaining that I’m going to be their dinner. In this dream I felt helpless, hot, and doomed. Eventually they started unwrapping the blankets, which gave me a glimpse of hope, until they pulled out a knife. As I saw the two women with their devious smiles, a crowd began to surround me. The crowd was staring at me, and appeared to look like evil Pilgrims. The evil Pilgrims were ecstatic, cheering the two women on to “cut, cut cut.” As they were about to cut me with a huge butcher knife, my nightmare ended. I immediately woke up soaked in sweat and was out of breath. I then took my temperature, only to discover I had a 104 degree fever. This nightmare was horrible because I was physically hot in both reality and my dream. In my opinion, being hot is one of the worst feeling ever, and it didn’t help that I was about to be cooked for a meal in front of a huge crowd of Pilgrims.