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The Gothic - Interplay between Realism and Fantasy The purpose of the imagination I believe is to offer us solace and shelter from situations and life passages which would otherwise prove unendurable The imagination which so often kept me awake and in terror as a child has seen me through some terrible bouts of stark raving reality as an adult Stephen King Nightmares and Dreamscapes 8 This quote from one of Americas leading writers highlights one of the most important reasons for the use of fantasy in gothic fiction Fantasy cannot only create terror but can mentally protect us from real life horrors which we dont want to acknowledge - not necessarily a good thing as much gothic fiction has shown I will study the interplay between the elements of realism and fantasy via the use of the following texts Angela Carters The Bloody Chamber focusing mainly on The Bloody Chamber and The Lady of the House of Love Stephen Kings The Shining there will also be references to Stanley Kubricks film version of The Shining and Wes Cravens modern gothic film The People Under the Stairs The most obvious use of the fantasyreality interface in gothic fiction is the fact that the fantasy almost always exists within the reality On a basic level this means that the stereotypical gothic castle where the story a fantasy unfolds is always in a real place Dracula is fantasy but takes place in the real world The Overlook Hotel and the things that go on there in The Shining are pure gothic fantasy but the hotel is set in a real region of the Colorado Rockies and is near real towns such as Sidewinder
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