Faces of Evil in selected novels by Bram Stoker (Dracula, The Jewel of Seven Stars, The Lady of the Shroud, The Lair of the White Worm)
Master's Thesis 2011 130 Pages
Table of Contents:
CHAPTER ONE: NATURE AND EVIL
Natural evil and the aesthetic approach
The influence of the natural and supernatural
Evil and animals 3
CHAPTER TWO: TRANSGRESSIONS
Crossing the borders of vice and virtue
Sexual Transgression and Excess
CHAPTER THREE: MONSTROUS FEMALES AND FEMALE MONSTERS
The archetype and its origin
Stoker’s monstrous female
Bram Stoker’s rank as an author is founded almost exclusively on his vampire-oriented novel Dracula. The author’s underrated stature is rather unfortunate as he led and participated in a number of creative endeavours during his lifetime. Before his rise in popularity, which took place many years after his death, Stoker was most widely known as the manager, and later biographer of the esteemed English theatre performer, Sir Henry Irving. However, Bram Stoker was indeed a figure of great creative productivity, not only producing a selection of eleven complete works comprised of romance, adventure and horror novels, but also many publications of short fiction, for instance Under the Sunset (1881) - a collection of children’s stories and moral tales which was initially unpopular, but later came to be much appreciated and ultimately recognized as a work that played its role in influencing the development of children’s fantasy literature. His most popular non-fiction work Famous Imposters (1910) is a rather amusing pseudo- historical collection of essays concentrated on exposing well known impostors and hoaxes. It is because Bram Stoker is so unknown that it becomes crucial to present not so much his persona, but the works that he produced, in such a manner as to exhibit it in a light that endorses its literary value, especially with regards to the Gothic genre.
Apart from Dracula (1897), Stoker produced a number of other novels that can be emplaced within the Gothic literary genre; Jewel of Seven Stars (1903), The Lady of the Shroud (1909), and The Lair of the White Worm (1911). Although these works still remain mostly in the realm of the unknown and unread even today, they do offer much interesting albeit rather unappreciated content, even though the ideas presented in them, for instance, in Jewel of Seven Stars or The Lair of the White Worm, have been assimilated into modern pop-culture in the form of numerous expensive Hollywood horror productions, as well as straight-to-television B-Class film adaptations. The ideas presented in Stoker’s Gothic novels are surely unique and at times incomparable with the more recognized works of the genre in literature and film; perhaps the reason why they appeal only to a rather select group of readers and horror aficionados.
A substantial amount of research concerning the works of Bram Stoker has been conducted since Dracula became a success. The most prominent and influential critical insight has been conducted through various thematic approaches, ranging from psychoanalytical theory, through feminist and gender studies, queer theory, political and geographical criticism and even criticism through the lens of science and technology. Because Bram Stoker was a multi-faceted and complex individual, and his writing was surely influenced by his persona; criticism of various shape and size has resulted in fascinating conclusions, thus encouraging and promoting further study into Stoker’s work in the pursuit of uncovering more intriguing, and perhaps previously neglected content. Furthermore, what is clearly noticeable is the evident lack of any significant academic work into Stoker’s lesser known novels - a state of affairs which only encourages further research into the matter.
The primary aim of the present study is to explore and analyze the various ways in which evil is displayed, the way it manifests itself, and how it conveys itself and effects the characters who play major roles in the plot of Bram Stoker’s Gothic novels; Dracula, Jewel of Seven Stars1, The Lady of the Shroud2, and Lair of the White Worm3.
The research questions are: What are the unique characteristics of evil as presented in each novel? How does the presented image of evil effect and influence the main characters in each novel? How do the representations or “faces” of evil relate to other significant works of the gothic genre? In order to find answers to the questions posed, the enquiry of the present study must base itself on several different critical approaches and interpretations respectful to each of the explored topics. Each chapter of the study first presents an overview of literary examples of the themes discussed supported by an outline of thematic critical approaches, before attempting to characterise and discuss Stoker’s Gothic works respectfully.
The aim of chapter one, Nature and Evil, is to explore how evil is presented through the manifestation of natural and, ultimately supernatural factors that create the experience of evil. External phenomena are received by means of the senses and induce a either positive or negative effect in the mind of the receiver. A negative reaction to external conditions - for instance those associated with weather - especially when influenced by an unknown third party, can be, and are perceived as that which can be deemed “evil”. In order to highlight the significance of sensory perception and its role in creating a negative mental reaction, it is best to present the topic through an approach founded in the fundamental English aesthetic theories, such as those proposed Edmund Burke. Modern critical insight has uncovered that writers of the Victorian age skilfully mastered the association between sensory perception and mental response and applied it in their works. The outside world has the ability to effect a person internally by conveying itself through the senses, thus imprinting itself into memory and experience (Cohen 2009). By combining seventeenth and eighteenth century approaches of the English aesthetic movement with contemporary criticism, it becomes possible to form an integral and discrete analytical method that enables a practical approach into the matter. The analysis in the first chapter is therefore concentrated on the textual descriptions of mental and physical response to “evil” stimulus from the point of view of the characters in the story, rather than the readers.
Chapter two of the study, Transgressions, is concentrated on ideas of transgression and excess as ways of manifesting the influence of evil on the characters in a novel, especially those who are inherently “good”, presented as “good” by the plot, and perceived that way by the reader. The notion of exceeding and transgressing moral and social boundaries has its significant presence throughout literature, and is expressed profoundly in the Gothic novel. The idea of desiring what is forbidden, and crossing into areas that should best remain closed has great significance when taking into consideration the way in which evil can succeed or fail in its ultimate goal of corruption. Ideas and emotions such as desire, urge, persuasion, seduction, guilt, and redemption will be greatly important when attempting to understand the specifics of excessive behaviour and the transgression that stems from it. Approaches of recognized contemporary critics such as Fred Botting and Glennis Byron provide a clear-cut yet flexible definition of Gothic transgression and excess of standards, boundaries and prohibitions that pervade throughout Stoker’s work. An outline and detailed description of transgressive elements from each of the discussed novels will be presented through the moral and social aspect in such a way as to underline the significance of that which manifests itself as widely understood “evil”.
The third and final chapter, Monstrous Females and Female Monsters, attempts to present greatly significant phenomena pervading the entire body of not only English literature, but Western literature as a whole. The figure of the evil female has played a prominent role of symbolic and literal meaning that has through time evolved into something of an archetype. Monstrous female characters exist as an integral part of Stoker’s Gothic work and are presented vividly and with full expression in each of the discussed novels. Although a large quantity of work focus with focus on female characters has been done on Dracula, the remainder of the discussed novels have not been subjected to any meaningful critical analysis of feminine evil. The present study will be based on the patriarchal approaches of Victorian society to viewing the female as both a “physical body” and “mental entity” which must be a docile and obedient “angel in the house”, while associating such a theme with the cultural and literary idea of the evil female. In order to present the subject coherently, the figure of the evil female must be localized and defined through the presentation of significant literary instances and appearances in past, before moving on to an analysis of Stoker’s evil femininity. The presence of such figures will prove to be vivid and greatly meaningful in each of the novels discussed.
General overview of characters and storylines
The story of Dracula, in its original version, and in many subsequent adaptations, is widely recognized and appreciated throughout the world. Even if one is unacquainted with the details of the plot, there are particular elements that have imprinted themselves into popular culture. Even so, perhaps it is best to present a short outline of the story and its main characters, and to later do the same for the remainder of Bram Stoker’s Gothic work that is the subject of the present study.
The plot of Dracula begins by presenting John Harker, a young, freshly trained lawyer travelling to the far away and unknown land of Transylvania to meet a new client of his - Count Dracula. The initial events are not in any way unusual, but what occurs when Harker arrives at his destination surely is. Harker must stay at his host’s castle and soon becomes rather concerned with some of the rather peculiar events taking place around him. The Count himself is somewhat awkward in behaviour and quite intimidating in appearance. During his stay, the young solicitor’s curiosity takes hold, and upon closer exploration of the ancient castle he discovers that he has found himself in the midst of great potential danger, that as yet remains unmanifested. The initially hospitable nature of the hero’s stay is interrupted when he is attacked by the now apparently vampiric figures of Count Dracula and his monstrous servants. The remainder of the novel deals with Dracula’s endeavour to establish a new home in England, and how Harker’s closest friends, with the virtuous Dr. Van Helsing in the lead, attempt to destroy the Count and eradicate the evil that he has brought with him. The story ends positively, with the heroes representing “good” pursuing, and ultimately destroying Dracula in his homeland of Transylvania. Evil is conquered, and goodwill prevails.
Stoker’s other gothic novels are defined by their macabre subject matter and partake in many of the characteristic themes presented in Dracula, such as monstrosity, death, and the morality of good and evil (Bomarito 2006:386). For instance, Jewel is generally regarded as the most successful of Stoker’s work after his initial success with the vampire theme. The story presents a more oriental picture of the Gothic, in which an enterprising Egyptologist, Abel Trelawny, undertakes the challenging endeavour to resurrect the ancient mummy of Tera, the sorcerer-queen of Egypt. Through the use of certain means existing on the borderline of science and magic, many cryptic and unexplained events that take place in the novel are explained and final act of resurrection succeeds, albeit with tragic consequences. Though the story’s tragic outcome is certainly not comedic, the novel in many ways parallels Dracula, and pays homage to its unique application of the Gothic mode of writing. The pursuit of secret knowledge, and numerous, explicitly Gothic themes, such as the Döppelganger are accompanied by vivid images of blasphemy and widely understood moral transgression (Hughes 2009:97), forming an interesting and unique Gothic plot overall. The novel has received some insightful critical attention, that is however quite limited in its analysis from the standpoint of horror, therefore encouraging a more concentrated approach from the aspect of the purely Gothic.
Stoker returns to the theme of vampirism in Lady, which presents the adventures of another Englishman, Rupert Sent Leger, who travels to the distant Land of the Blue Mountains - a Balkan country very similar in character to Dracula’s Transylvania. The plot itself in many ways mirrors the events presented in Stoker’s most accomplished work. The main character encounters, falls in love, and ultimately marries a female vampire that constantly visits his bedchamber. What is unfortunate for true horror enthusiasts, the Gothic theme does not prevail through the entire novel. The initially terrifying figure of the female vampire is discovered to be only a clever disguise, and the story takes a turn in a different direction and develops an unexpected political theme. The unusual combination of politics and vampirism is however executed successfully, forming a rather interesting piece of work that deserves critical consideration. Because of the novels associations with the vampire theme, and its vivid portrayal of romantic liaisons with the dead, it proves fruitful to omit its political aspect, and make a more in-depth exploration into those elements that are essential contributions to the Gothic mode of writing.
Lair is Stoker’s last and surely most graphic creation. The events in the story are based on British folk tradition, namely, the legend of the Laidley worm (Hughes 2009:99). The titular White Worm is a monstrosity; an immense serpent that has the ability to transform and take on the shape of a woman - the evil and ruthless Arabella Marsh - whose egocentric aim is to accomplish certain extremely deceitful and malicious goals. The serpent embodies an image of “predatory womanhood” (Hughes 2009:99), and similarly to figures of female evil present in Stoker’s other works, it reflects the contemporary Victorian approach to women who exceed the limitations imposed on them by patriarchal society. The abomination is eventually destroyed in an immense and disgusting explosion, planned and carried out by Adam Salton, an Australian with British roots. Though fascinating, the story is compiled in a chaotic and unpredictable way, and the events presented in the plot are difficult to keep track of and at times hard to understand. Nevertheless, Lair is a work that crowns Stokers accomplishment as a writer, and expresses the particular, peculiar and in many ways, unique nature of the man himself. The vivid and gruesome manner in which the author depicts the fight of good against evil is an extreme, though genuine and sincere attempt in producing a Gothic novel.
CHAPTER ONE: NATURE AND EVIL
Natural evil and the aesthetic approach
In his work concerning the presence of horror in literature, Howard Phillips Lovecraft writes, that one of the oldest and strongest emotions known to man is fear, and that “fear of the unknown” may be perceived as the strongest kind of fear (2000:1). For a number of reasons, this statement finds meaning in numerous tales of horror, gothic stories, and the literary subgenres that have their origin in them. Fear itself is a negative sensation that is experienced by the mind, which in course, considerably effects physical condition as well. A vast number o emotions and physical experiences can be seen as “negative” in the sense that they cause broadly understood pain or suffering to those who experience them. The essence of evil can be described as the abuse of a being that is capable of feeling pain - it affects the mind and is quickly felt by the emotions (Russel 1987). The influence and effect of evil presented in this chapter uncovers fear and uncertainty within the main characters and brings forth a unique physical or emotional response.
The main focus of the present chapter is placed on defining the nature of the impulses or “stimuli” that invoke negative reaction, and the special characteristics of the reaction itself. Evil is considered as seen through the lens of the outside, natural elements that manifest it, and how they influence the characters experiencing them. Natural phenomena such as storms, cyclones, hurricanes, earthquakes and epidemics are all unfortunate calamities that can be categorized as “natural evil”, and it is often said that no human agency is involved in, or influences them (Tahir 1994). These elements are not dependant on, and very often cannot be influenced by the “good” characters of a novel. Such “evil” elements may be comprised of, or be related to a multitude of things, including the destructive forces of nature, treacherous and unexpected obstacles, weather, dangerous animals, diseases, darkness, shadow, or any element, which has the capacity to induce mental or physical suffering. The human mind deals in what it understands and it finds the "absolute originality and unforeseeability" of natural elements unpleasant and disturbing (Bergson 2002:29).
Evil often influences the tasks which lay before the characters - it causes organizational difficulties, hinders communication and teamwork, and sometimes totally disintegrates the decision making process, therefore making progress tough, or at times simply impossible. Other negative or “evil” elements, such as darkness, shadow, dim, mysterious lighting, often accompanied by enclosure, are found widely in Gothic novels. Dark and isolated areas are places that are initially considered as safe, where one can find refuge and hide from danger and evil forces. As it often happens, these “safe places” often turn out to be even more unpleasant than any other. Evil forces are often able to penetrate the area in which the characters have found themselves in, no matter how safe they may seem, making escape incredibly hard or impossible. Lewis’s The Monk (1796) offers a perfect example of this, where the underground vaults of the narrative seem to offer the persecuted maiden a safe place to escape from the lecherous monk, but in fact they serve only to trap her and quicken the final tragic ending. Such obscure and superficially secure places are very promising and possess all the characteristics of safety, but they also illustrate the hidden unconscious threat which those who flee never discover until it is too late.
When attempting to discuss natural evil stemming from the external environment, the aesthetic viewpoint cannot go unmentioned, as it has great influence on the mind, producing unique emotions and thoughts - both positive and negative. Aesthetic theory attempted to categorize objects and entire landscapes according to their effects upon the human mind and soul - a topic which was greatly popular Bram Stoker’s time. Notions of fear and pain originating from the outside environment have a substantial effect on the human condition, and they played a critical role in the literature of the era.
Aesthetic theory is inextricably intertwined with travel, and throughout the Nineteenth Century, British and European travellers began to benefit from greater freedom and the possibility of safer travel across the continent and beyond. This created a growing interest in worldwide exploration. The aesthetic theories which emerged during the Romantic period and the Eighteenth century brought with them new ways of perceiving travel and the effect of landscape on the human mind and body. The physical and emotional experience induced by the environment became an increasingly important subject of study for travellers. Stoker was himself an intrepid traveller - journeying through Europe and America, he held a well formed idea of the difficulties involved in travelling and passing through new and unknown areas. He was aware of how difficult conditions can cause distress and lead to great material loss and emotional suffering. His novel Snowbound (1908) perhaps reflects his viewpoint on the topic. It is a series of stories told by the members of a touring theatre company stranded on a train trapped in snow - an event that actually took place in Stoker’s life.
The motif of travel is present in each of the novels discussed; playing a critical role in the development of the characters and the plot. The novels vividly interlace this motif with descriptions of natural elements that may be perceived as “evil” - negative, harmful, against the odds, or malignant in nature. An idea which emerged from the connection of aesthetics and travel in literary works of the era is encapsulated in the idea of sublimity. Traditionally, the sublime concerns natural images that inspire awe, amazement, and deep reflection upon oneself. Edmund Burke’s sublime, often evoked by landscape, and in particular mountains is frequently characterised as a moment of astonishment in which all thought and sensation are suspended save for “some degree of horror” (1770:47). Burke understands the natural sublimity to be composed of terror, obscurity, power, and “whatever is fitted in any sort to excite the ideas of pain and danger”(1770:34). In Stoker’s novels the presence of sublime nature clearly plays out its Burkean role. Furthermore, it often presents itself as a unique background for dramatic events which invoke fear and uncertainty in the characters’ lives, and consequently in the mind of the reader. When a story nears its conclusion, when “evil” is eradicated and “good” prevails, sublime nature presents itself in its most colourful and magnanimous form - mind-boggling, yet inspiring and uplifting at core. It is a prominent element in the descriptions of nature present throughout the plot of each story, and is surely worth mentioning when exploring ideas of terror-invoking evil.
Negative emotions can come into being through the influence of more subtle factors, thus producing physical or mental sensations of lesser intensity than that of pure sublimity. In his treatise, Burke mentions ways in which fear, pain, and terror can be induced in the body and mind through the operation of various external factors such as darkness or undesirable sounds and smell - all affecting the senses in their own unique way, but producing common negative thoughts and sensations. A human beings ability to see, hear, smell, touch and taste are critical to experiencing the world in its full richness or lack thereof.
The Gothic novel is known to be greatly concerned with representations of nature, and its associations with pain, terror, fear, and most profoundly, with sublimity. Therefore, an insight into Edmund Burke’s ideas of human perception and reaction as an inseparable union with that which is natural or “external” proves to be of fundamental value when attempting to illustrate the reactions of chosen characters in the works of Stoker. Burke’s Enquiry provides a unique tool by means which one may analyze such reactions to external conditions from the standpoint of a relatively philosophically unsophisticated individual. For though Burke’s creativity was surely great in extent and quantity, his Enquiry is his only purely philosophical work and has been greatly criticized by numerous philosophers; Emanuel Kant being the most recognized among many. Thanks to the pleasant and reader-friendly style of Burke’s discourse it is possible to analyze the human response through the lens of the average individual, as most characters in the novels discussed hereon surely are.
Burke contrasts certain sensations by juxtaposing their similarities and differences with regards to human mental and physical reaction. The idea of pleasure is indentified as a reaction to “music”, “fine shape[s]”, and “lively colours” (1770:29). The sensation is of higher value than those of simple “indifference, or ease, or tranquillity” (1770:29). Pleasure is therefore a result of certain external factors influencing an individual in a positive or “desirable” way. In contrast, pain is presented as a reaction that can be associated with widely understood suffering.
Suppose, on the other hand, a man in the same state of indifference to receive a violent blow, or to drink of some bitter potion, or to have his ears wounded with some harsh and grating sound; here is no removal of pleasure; and yet here is felt, his every sense which is affected, a pain very distinguishable. (1770:29)
Burke continues his line of thought by associating pain with fear; an approach which highlights the effect that the mind can have on the body, and viceversa. Pain and fear both result from a moto-neural, or psychosomatic response to an external stimulus. The two sensations can be experienced separately, or form a connection and work together to effectively weaken a man’s mind and body.
pain and fear act upon the same parts of the body, and in the same manner, though somewhat differing in degree: that pain and fear consist in an unnatural tension of the nerves; that this is sometimes accompanied with an unnatural strength, which sometimes suddenly changes into an extraordinary weakness; that these effects often come on alternately, and are sometimes mixed with each other. (1770:99)
Another of Burke’s arguments that are perhaps most recognized and appreciated in the Enquiry are those that have to do with the idea of terror; a sensation that is essentially an extreme case of fear. Pure terror is an experience that has the ability to completely disable a person’s ability for rational and logical conduct. It is not difficult to imagine how such influence can promote the negative influence of evil, be it natural, supernatural.
No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear. For fear being an apprehension of pain or death, it operates in a manner that resembles actual pain. (1770:47)
The ideas of pain, fear, and terror being presented coherently, Burke moves on to note specific examples of external factors that may work to invoke such sensations. In accordance with the traditional Gothic mode, the appearance of the external and natural world is usually associated with darkness, obscurity, or what Horace Walpole once deemed as “gloomth” (Miles 2007:10). Fear of what is hidden from the light and shrouded in darkness is one of the most characteristic terror- inducing themes in Gothic fiction, where “blackness and darkness are in some degree painful by their natural operation”(Burke 1770:108). The negative appeal of a dark and gloomy location is often complimented by more subtle elements such as odious smells and the sounds of wild and dangerous animals that may be roaming in the surrounding environment.
Such sounds as imitate the natural inarticulate voices of men, or any animals in pain or danger, are capable of conveying great ideas; unless it be the well-known voice of some creature, on which we are used to look with contempt. The angry tones of wild beasts are equally capable of causing a great and awful sensation. (Burke 1770:67)
The forces of animated and still nature are uncontrollable, and indeed, often unfathomable to ordinary man. It is the impossibility of sensible comprehension of the world that instils fear in an individual. No matter how hard one may try, it often remains impossible to gain knowledge of how the forces of the natural world function; the unknown “natural” has a capacity to alter rational perception and often becomes an even lesser known and more obscure “supernatural” that baffles the mind and evades comprehension completely.
Though Burke’s Enquiry provides a useful foundation for understanding man’s mind/body connection with nature, it becomes crucial to take into consideration another, perhaps more modern approach on the subject. In his book Embodied: Victorian literature and the senses, William Cohen presents his research into how sensory perception influences the body and mind in Victorian literature. As the author argues, the human body is not isolated from the world, but forms an organic and reactive relationship with the external environment, creating a “flow of matter and information between subject and world” (Cohen 2009:xii). By joining human existence with nature, Cohen acknowledges that external experience is essentially what makes and identifies mankind.
For Victorian writers, attending to sense perception serves several purposes. In physiological terms, it provides a mechanism for showing how the world of objects—including other bodies—enters the body of the subject and remakes its interior entities. In psychological terms, because “feelings” lie in a gray zone between physical sensations and emotional responses, somatic and affective experiences can switch, blend, or substitute one for another. (Cohen 2009:6)
Particularly relevant for my purposes are the proximate senses of smell, taste, and touch, which bring the external world into or onto the body; equally so are the distance senses (hearing and vision) when they are felt to involve tangible contact between subject and object. (Cohen 2009:6)
According to Cohen the outside world has the ability to “enter” the internal world of the human self and have effective influence on it. The relationship between the mind and body become blurred and certain sensations, such as Burke’s pain, exist somewhere in-between. The indefinable location of certain sensations, especially those which are negative or undesirable, only make their experience stronger and potentially more terrifying. The interaction between the receiving subject and the observed object becomes the essence of human experience in its most primal form; it affects fundamental instincts that create anxiety while simultaneously merging one with the world. Such interactions are what make up the essence of the Gothic experience, and are also found expressed in the works of Bram Stoker. An insight into the qualities of the natural environment and its power to negatively influence the mind or body is a logical step when attempting to understand the “terrible” aspects of Stoker’s writing, and perhaps provide a the first step into illustrating the authors method of portraying natural evil.
A passage from The Cambridge Companion to Gothic Fiction lists the most prominent themes present in gothic novels. Many of these negative or “evil” elements exist and convey themselves onto characters in the late-gothic fiction novels of Bram Stoker. Furthermore, they play a crucial role in the portrayal of the plots’ environment and subsequently influence not only the condition of the characters, but also the mind of the reader.
“a Gothic tale usually takes place (at least some of the time) in an antiquated or seemingly antiquated space - be it a castle, a foreign palace, an abbey, a vast prison, a subterranean crypt, a graveyard, a primeval frontier or island, a large old house or theatre, an aging city or urban underworld, a decaying storehouse, factory, laboratory, public building, or some new recreation of an older venue, such as an office with old filing cabinets, an overworked spaceship, or a computer memory. Within this space, or a combination of such spaces, are hidden some secrets from the past (sometimes the recent past) that haunt the characters, psychologically, physically, or otherwise at the main time of the story.” (Hogle 2002)(Emphasis added, ML)
A great example of a writer, who masterfully conveys the image of a scene, or feeling, is Ann Radcliffe. In The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794) she describes the characters’ surroundings in such a way that the reader can easily imagine the anxiety and nervousness they experience on the way to their destination. The style with which Radcliffe fashions descriptions of imagery and surroundings that made her a famous author in her time (Mooman 2009). In her novels, the qualities of the natural environment seem to personify the mental state of a protagonist; even the shape and contrast of the clouds rolling above the landscape have the ability to alter the mental state of Emily, leading her to sensations of awe and amazement. Radcliffe is therefore concerned with “the processes of perception and the way perception creates our sense of reality” (McEvoy 2007:23). Nature is not only associated with the human self, but is compared to features of animals. By doing so, natural elements such as clouds, wind or the jagged mountainous landscape gain living quality and become almost animated in the eye of the receiver. It sometimes seems as if the natural world can have greater influence on emotional experience than one-to-one contact with a human being. The reader’s terror is induced through the mental response of the protagonist (McEvoy 2007). Robert Miles argues that Radcliffe’s work creates “a blurring across a set of boundaries, between inside and outside, nature and self, life and death” (Miles 1995:15). Radcliffe’s portrayals of the external world are unmistakeably unique; and it goes without question that probably the author’s greatest success is her ability to depict the sensations of terror and fear existing within the relationship between man and nature - an idea so very crucial in the Gothic literary tradition.
Taking into consideration the elements discussed above, this chapter will be concentrated on any noticeable natural stimuli that are crucial to the plot and its development. That which promotes or produces a negative emotional or physical response is the topic of analysis and discussion herein.
Over a century after Radcliffe, Bram Stoker commenced work on his most successful novel Dracula (1897). It cannot go unnoticed that his style was influenced by the great gothic writers of the past. His portrayal of the outside world is abundant in depictions of the unknown, captivating, and often terrifying environments revolving around his heroes. Stoker’s nineteenth-century gothic narrative moved slightly away from the traditional remote castles of past times, and settled into contemporary mansions and cities (Cornwell 1990). The wild and mountainous European landscapes depicted in Dracula and Lady, the desert landscape in Jewel and the hilly and cavernous English countryside in Lair all incorporate elements of mysterious Gothic vastness and untamed nature. These environments coexist with the image of the modern city, with its stone buildings located in elaborate networks of twisted and violent streets. Such a presentation of the city is a clear reflection or refraction of the classic image of the gothic castle and forest. In each of the novels discussed, the need to begin a treacherous journey or mission which takes the characters far from home creates a basis for character development. They endure numerous hardships and setbacks and experience much disappointment. These mishaps are however crucial to the plot - they act as an impulse which drives the story.
The motive of travel present in Stoker’s novels is a force which drives the unravelling of the plot - the main characters must undertake a journey or voyage, on which they deal with forces of good and evil, cross boundaries, and face harsh and unwelcome circumstances. The lands in the east which these characters visit - Egypt, Romania, The Balkans - are exotic, far-off places, where strange and unexpected events are bound to take place. These exotic locations became not only socio-political antitheses to the “safe” space of England, but also a symbol for the characters’ inner landscape of restriction, exposure to the other, temptation, the finding of a new balance, and return. (Goh 2004)
The influence of the natural and supernatural
In the first pages of Dracula, Jonathan Harker makes an entry into his diary concerning his first thoughts on the journey which he has embarked upon. The diary contains his feelings towards the surrounding environment that perhaps anticipate the changes that will later occur around him and cause further, more intense emotional response.
The impression I had was that we were leaving the West and entering the East... (2) It seems to me that the further east you go the more unpunctual are the trains. What ought they to be in China? (4)
The initial point of his journey Harker does not give any significant indications that he is in any way worried or frightened by what could be awaiting him during his stay in the east, visiting count Dracula. A feeling of duty as a lawyer coincides with a genuine curiosity of the new and interesting environment he has found himself in. He is a rational man, always seeking explanations of unusual or unexpected things that happen around him. Nevertheless, the hero is completely unaware of what awaits him at his destination and that he is beginning a journey that will not only test his identity as a man, but also his strength of mind, and ultimately, his ability to survive. The landscapes Harker encounters can be described as barren and harsh - such places often serve as visual reflections of the internal isolation and underbalanced mental state that a traveller undergoes when moving through an unknown place. When Harker’s business trip nears its final destination, the dark Carpathian mountains are according to him “one of the wildest and least known portions of Europe”, and later remarks that “every known superstition in the world is gathered into the horseshoe of the Carpathians, as if it were the centre of some sort of imaginative whirlpool” (3). Further on his journey he notices how the atmosphere becomes darker and even more awkward - the forest he is passing through “seemed in the darkness to be closing down upon us”, the “great masses of greyness” create in his mind a”peculiarly weird and solemn effect, which carried on the thoughts and grim fancies engendered earlier in the evening” (13). It cannot go unnoticed how Harker’s emotions are influenced by the country around him. When the carriage enters an area called The Borgo Pass, the dark atmosphere of the unknown land becomes distinct and apparent: “There were dark, rolling clouds overhead, and in the air the heavy, oppressive sense of thunder.” (14) Darkness is known to produce fear in the mind, although this type of fear is usually not of the darkness itself, but rather fear of hidden dangers which may be lurking in the darkness (Lyons 1980). Dark, unpleasant weather, often associated with the supernatural, often behaves as a reproduction of the inner thoughts and emotions of the character. Storms are known to foreshadow evil, and often present a reflection of the inner self of the protagonist - they externalize internal anxiety and fear of the unknown. When the darkness grows, cold and snow quickly follow and the traveller is fully aware of the influence the conditions have on his mind “I grew dreadfully afraid, and the horses shared my fear” (18). The forest that surrounds the road seems to be engulfing Harker; he has an impression that the trees are trapping him in darkness, which brings his thoughts back to the peculiar events and “grim fancies” he experienced earlier in the day. What he observes later on, can no longer be explained as an element of nature, but rather as an element of unexplained, supernatural origin. His vision of a “flickering blue flame” (18-19) quite baffles him, although he quickly dismisses this “strange optical effect” (19) explaining to himself that it is just the darkness deceiving his eyes. When he returns to this incident moments later, in his mind he remembers it “like a sort of awful nightmare” (19). Harker’s fear reaches climax as he notices how the carriage he is travelling in suddenly becomes surrounded by a pack of silent wolves. His words clearly describe his feelings “It is only when a man feels himself face to face with such horrors that he can understand their true import” (20). In this moment, and later during his stay, safety and peace of mind seem to be in jeopardy. The land Harker travels through is new, fascinating and mysterious. It is the exact opposite of his usual urban surroundings which offer him safety and social order. In the Carpathians the landscape is wild and untamed, the rules and norms that govern life in this new environment are completely unknown to him. He must struggle to suppress his educated, logical mind from entering a world of superstition, a world in which everything he sees can and will defy reasoning. His familiar, urban setting is associated with life and mobility, the gothic wasteland presents its opposites - it is filled with ever-present danger and death, while its untamed bounds restrict rather than facilitate travel. (Tan 2006) In later parts of the novel, many of the characters will return to this area and feel the effect of adverse conditions that permeate the local environment. They will find themselves in similar circumstances - the Transylvanian landscape will have a special influence on all who pass through.
When Harker arrives at his destination, he stands before the castle and notices some of the details around him - grey stone walls, the heavy gate and dark windows all influence his emotional state in such a way that he starts to wonder if his trip will be as productive as initially planned: “What sort of grim adventure was it on which I had embarked?” (23) - the unique emotional response Harker goes through at the beginning of the story is strong and results from the effect that the surrounding environment has on him. During his stay with the Count, Harker will uncover many unsettling things that will answer his worries. After being greeted and properly settled into his room, he decides to go on an after-breakfast tour of the castle on which he promptly discovers certain facts that finally justify the initial worries. Panic is what Harker faces when it becomes clear that his lodging may be more than temporary and that he cannot exit the premises unless the Count will allow it - a strong feeling of helplessness is fallowed by anxiety-fuelled thought “doors, doors, doors everywhere, and all locked and bolted” (39). With great difficulty the hero tries to accept the fact that he may be staying at the Castle longer than planned. “The castle is a veritable prison, and I am a prisoner!” (39).
For individuals who suddenly find themselves imprisoned or “enclosed”, the loss of contact with the outer world is a major stress inducing factor. After the initial shock people find themselves experiencing a specific type of fear connected with loss and deterioration. The lack of personal choice in such situations is known to have considerable, negative impact on the mind (Johnson and Toch 1982). When Harker finds himself imprisoned inside the castle, he loses the ability to make decisions freely and is in the total control of the count. There is no question that the castle with all its unpleasant characteristics is in essence “evil”, and as the days go by, the ever-present atmosphere of horror instils itself permanently in Harker’s mind...
I feel the dread of this horrible place overpowering me. I am in fear, in awful fear, and there is no escape for me. I am encompassed about with terrors that I dare not think of. (51)
If I be sane, then surely it is maddening to think that of all the foul things that lurk in this hateful place the Count is the least dreadful to me. (53)
Harker goes through a truly supernatural experience when he is hypnotized while visiting one of the castle’s chambers. The sound of howling dogs outdoors accompanies the sight of dust floating in the air, illuminated by moonlight, which quickly materializes into “dim phantom shapes” (66) and causes Harker to run out of the room in terror. The “dim phantom shapes” transform into female abominations or “ghostly women” (66) that will haunt him until the very end of his stay. In later parts of the story, in England, Lucy - the best friend of Harker’s wife Mina, makes a diary entry about a similar experience that she goes through during her ordeal with the “evil” forces of Dracula. Her account concerning of the occurrences around her remind the reader of Harker’s description.
a whole myriad of little specks seems to come blowing in through the broken window, and wheeling and circling round like the pillar of dust that travelers describe when there is a simoom in the desert. (205)
The air seems full of specks, floating and circling in the draught from the window, and the lights burn blue and dim. What am I to do? God shield me from harm this night! (207)
Back at home, Harker’s future wife has the chance to observe certain unpleasant natural phenomena that foreshadow the coming of “evil” events that she will soon experience personally. Her journal is filled with entries in which she describes the nature around her - roaring waves, beaches engulfed in mist and “a 'brool' over the sea that sounds like some passage of doom” (107). On the beach, Mina observes dark shapes of men, which seem to her to resemble biblical “men like trees walking”. Although it is not clear what Mina is referring to when she mentions the figures on the beach, the words she uses certainly fail to invoke a pleasant or positive response, therefore adding to the overall unsure atmosphere. A newspaper cut-out pasted in Mina’s diary contains a correspondent’s words describing what he witnessed during the storm - the sea resembling “a roaring and devouring monster.” (112). Throughout the entire novel, what Mina experiences is presented in a vivid and graphic manner - what she goes through is a result of evil manifesting itself upon her and the people she interacts with. Apart from Harker and Lucy she is the character who is greatly affected by evil forces. When Mina, together with Harker, Van Helsing, Holmwood and Morris, are in pursuit of the count, she records in her journal all the events that take place. When Van Helsing hypnotizes Mina, who is partly under the influence of Dracula’s magic, she describes what she sees while in trance. What she relates is yet again concerned with forces of nature invoking undesirable, or to say the least, unpleasant feelings.
Something is going out. I can feel it pass me like a cold wind. I can hear, far off, confused sounds, as of men talking in strange tongues, fierce falling water, and the howling of wolves. (496)
Upon hearing what Mina has to say of her experience, Dr. Seward describes her words as “enigmatical”. On the next morning Seward witnesses another artificially induced trance in which he hears Mina speak of similar sensations. Mina acts as a vessel through which evil can project itself not only onto her, but onto her companions as well - they are quite disturbed by her words: “There is another sound, a queer one like . . .” (496). When Mina is unable to finish, her companions, and the reader must try and imagine what the “queer sound” may be, or whom or what it is produced by.
Abraham Van Helsing is a unique character that gives some of the most animated and dramatic accounts of what he deems as evil. His description concerning the corrupt Transylvanian landscape is filled with strong vocabulary, typical of him, by which he defines the unpleasant setting. There is no doubt, that even though he is the most educated man of the whole group, he is still a human being, and like all human beings he is prone to experience negative emotions, such fear, anxiety, and dread. His unique depictions capture the pervading evil atmosphere and are some of the most memorable monologues in the story.
The very place, where he have been alive, Undead for all these centuries, is full of strangeness of the geologic and chemical world. There are deep caverns and fissures that reach none know whither. There have been volcanoes, some of whose openings still send out waters of strange properties, and gases that kill or make to vivify. Doubtless, there is something magnetic or electric in some of these combinations of occult forces which work for physical life in strange way. (459)
Nearing the end of the story, the overall atmosphere around the group in pursuit of The Count is all but cheerful. Exhausted, afraid and confused, the only thing motivating “the crew” to continue is the possibility of finally capturing Dracula and eliminating him and the evil that haunts them all. When they decide to separate and Mina is to go with Van Helsing straight into “the heart of the enemy’s country” (508), her husband is captured by fear for his beloved. Harker protests against Van Helsing’s plan to take his Mina with him. He tries to explain to the professor the dangers that await them, and his arguments, warranted by his previous horrifying experience at castle Dracula, are raw and permeated with negative emotion. His argument contains many strong adjectives describing his approach towards the groups planned destination:
Do you know what the place is? Have you seen that awful den of hellish infamy, with the very moonlight alive with grisly shapes, and every speck of dust that whirls in the wind a devouring monster in embryo?
Have you felt the Vampire's lips upon your throat?... Oh, my God, what have we done to have this terror upon us? (509)
In relation to Dracula, the events which take place in Jewel should be characterized as transcendental, dreamlike or “magical” in nature. Although dreams and hypnotism play an important role in all of Stoker’s works, their role in Jewel is one without which the story would lose much of its appeal. The natural elements in the story, inducing negative emotional response, are played out mainly in the minds of the characters. Nevertheless, these dreamlike thoughts and reminiscences of past events are perceived by the characters as realistic and have great import onto the characters’ behaviour and influence the development of the plot substantially. The relation between the realm of dreams and the real world, and the implications stemming from such a relationship were explored by Eve Sedgwick.
The Gothic dream is, far more thematically than the place of live burial, simply a duplication of the surrounding reality. It is thrilling because supererogatory. To wake from a dream and find it true - that is the particular terror at which these episodes aim, and the content of the dream is subordinate to that particular terror. (Sedgwick 1986:27)
Any dreamlike experiences, invoking significant emotional response are perceived to be real by the characters and should therefore be considered as true experiences in which natural evil plays out its “stimulating” role in the same way as in the “outside” or “real” world. The esoteric quality of elements which influence the story only adds to the overall notion of “the unexplainable” or “unknown” pervading within - through the characters reaction, it instils strong response in the reader.
Malcolm Ross - protagonist of Jewel, not unlike Jonathan Harker, quickly reveals his feelings concerning his restless and somewhat confused mental state. His narrative begins while he is in a state of sleep. In his dream, a vivid thought emerges from his mind: “there is never to be any perfect rest. Even in Eden the snake rears its head among the laden boughs of Tree of Knowledge” (4). This sentence alludes to a passage from Genesis 3:5, where Eve is seduced and inspired by the serpent to eat the forbidden fruit. In the plots starting point, Ross’s highlights a basic concept concerning “Good and Evil”. Just as Eve brought Evil upon mankind, the mummy of Queen Tera will bring Evil into the life of Ross and his companions. He continues his train of thought and relates to his dream, illustrating in his won words, the way in which forces of nature can have a negative influence on the human state of mind:
The silence of the dreamless night is broken by the roar of the avalanche; the hissing of sudden floods; the clanging of the engine bell marking its sweep through a sleeping American town; the clanking of distant paddles over the sea Whatever it is, it is breaking the charm of my Eden. (4)
This thought, uncovers Ross’s approach towards negative and unfavourable circumstances, which are of great importance in the novel when considering the presence of unwelcome, or “evil” situations. It is an example of the critical role that natural evil plays in creating a hostile and unwelcome environment and how it influences the plot of the novel as a whole. Ross believes there is meaning in the dreams that he experiences. In one such dream he finds himself on a skiff, floating through mysterious waters. His description of the dream shows some similarities with Harker’s account of the Transylvanian mountains. The qualities of Ross’s surroundings surely differ from the usual, everyday environment and create a dark and mysterious, though in fact imaginary setting, which in effect reveals the state of the hero’s mind. He is accompanied by an unknown female who embodies the qualities of a character who has considerable impact on the later, unpleasant events in the story. The tone of his description is like John Harker’s, calm and steady, although it does not lack in an awkward tone of uncertainty. we sat in the cool shade, with the myriad noises of nature both without and within our bower merging into that drowsy hum in whose sufficing environment the great world with its disturbing trouble, and its more disturbing joys, can be effectually forgotten.
(3) Initially, Ross’s dream doesn’t seem to show any unusual characteristics. However, shortly after, Ross is summoned to the home Mr. Abel Trelawney in order to assist in the investigation of the strange condition that the architect has found himself in - unconscious after an unexpected attack carried out by some unknown assailant.
When Ross first enters the room where Trelawney is laying, he notices the many peculiar, ancient Egyptian artefacts located within. From the very beginning the presence of mummified creatures giving off “balmy smells” (34) have an impact on his mental state: “I caught myself looking round fearfully as though some strange personality or influence was present” (35). Ross is asked to accompany Margaret Trelawney - the archaeologist’s daughter, and together they stay by Mr.Trelawny’s bedside. While he, Margaret and a nurse are inside the room, watching over Trelawney, the first strange occurrence takes place. Ross is first to notice the changes to the room’s environment “The room, for all its darkness, was full of shadows... Shadows which had sentience” (38). Sitting in his chair, entranced by the mysterious conditions present in the room Ross suddenly falls asleep, and experiences another, though short, trip into the dream world: “I sat as one entranced. At last I felt, as in nightmare, that this was sleep, and that in the passing of its portals all my will had gone” (38). After awaking, his experience is far from what one could expect after a pleasant night “The sight which met my eyes had the horror of a dream within a dream, with the certainty of reality added” (39)
In Jewel, the classical idea of darkness and shadow as an mysterious element promoting the appearance of evil is accompanied by something new - the sense of smell. Exotic, intoxicating odours are of significant meaning in the story, as they act as a vehicle for conveying ancient “evil” force. Smell travels unseen, through space, onto, and even into the minds of the heroes.
The dreamlike occurrences that Ross goes through in the beginning of the story suggest that such nightmarish dreams will have a significant presence throughout the entire novel. The role of unpleasant trances and hallucinations is a crucial element to the plot of many of Stoker’s novels. The idea of “dream” or “vision” refers to images that form inside an individuals mind during slee Figuratively however, dreams and hallucinations reflect the innermost, repressed ambitions of an individual, and are also know to mirror one’s fears and strangely foreshadow events to come.
After finally waking from a comatose state, Mr. Trelawney expresses his thoughts concerning nature or “external elements” and the way in which they can influence dreams: “we can, to a certain extent, induce dreams. We may even differentiate between good and bad- dreams of pleasure, or disturbing and harrowing dreams” (183). The thoughts and visions induced by outside factors play a great role in Jewel. Many of posses a negative or unpleasant nature- when Ross finds himself temporarily alone in one of the chambers in Trelawney home, he ponders about the events of the evening. He imagines the world in which he lives to be “illimitably great”, and himself as “a tiny speck in the midst of a wilderness. Without and around it were darkness and unknown danger, pressing in from every side” (118). The inexplicable magnitude of the situation he and his companions have found themselves in has its negative and undesirable impact on the mind.
In later parts of the novel, more interesting and somewhat disquieting journeys are played out in Ross’s mind. When he reads a recollection of events, telling the story of archaeologist Van Huyn and his expedition in attempt to retrieve the mummy of Queen Tera, he uses his vivid imagination to rebuild the events contained in the diary. The story he reads is a fascinating one, the mood of the diary’s author radiates from it. Ross experiences specific feelings and emotions conveyed through the text. Even the diary he reads possesses a strange power and upon opening it he notices a “disturbing influence” (121) effecting him, and later he sees across the pages “streaks of shade, which the weirdness of the subject had made to seem like the shadow of a hand” (129). It later becomes apparent that these dreamlike trips are hallucinations induced by ancient evil forces dwelling inside the mummy of Queen Tera. In Van Huyn’s book, Ross reads a fascinating story; abundant with descriptions of new and mysterious locations and the environment in which they take place. The Valley of the Sorcerer is an area filled with mysterious symbols which, in the author’s words are strange enough to “puzzle the Recording Angel to interpret at judgment day” (122). The archaeologist is accompanied by a team of Egyptians who seem to be deeply worried and “terribly afraid” (121) of the surrounding area abundant in ancient “cabalistic” (122) characters engraved into the walls of the valley “some of these disjointed limbs and features such as arms, legs, fingers, eyes, ears and lips” (122). The desert itself is a cruel and unforgiving land that offers no hospitality. When Mr.Corbeck tells Ross of his and Mr. Trelawney’s return to the valley to complete Van Huyn’s unfinished expedition, he describes “one of those terrible storms in the desert which makes one feel his helplessness” (143) which accompanies the fear already felt by the men regarding the crew they had taken with them: “they were after all, but predatory, unscrupulous men” (143).
The ever-present atmosphere of anxiety and uncertainty has its effect on the characters; however, the discomfort they feel not only impedes their progress but also causes them to be more careful and aware of their actions. The majority of the storyline in Jewel takes place in the Trelawney household. Because of the strange events that transpire, it becomes apparent that the atmosphere there is one which does not, and in most probability will not welcome rational thought and logic. Senses play out an important role in Jewel. Intoxicating and pungent smells have their effect, and so do sounds. After Ross has met Margaret Trelawny, she recounts what had happened during the previous night, when her father was assaulted. She is clearly disturbed when she tells Ross of what she heard after waking up in the middle of the night: “there was a queer kind of dragging sound, and a slow, heavy breathing. Oh! it was dreadful, waiting there in the dark and the silence, and fearing— fearing I did not know what!” (9). When Ross first decides to enter her Father’s room, he feels that “there might be some dreadful thing behind it ready to pounce out on me” (9). The strong emotions they go through, at the very beginning of the story, are a result of an ever-present sense of the unknown. The intense mental response they go through will only get stronger and more disquieting as the plot unfolds. Soon, Miss Trelawney suddenly decides not to stay with her father for the night and sleeps in a different chamber: “if I don't get a good sleep, I think I shall go mad. I will change my room for tonight. I'm afraid that if I stay so close to Father's room I shall multiply every sound into a new terror” (79).
Once detectives from Scotland Yard are summoned to the household, they quickly establish that the mysterious events which have taken place were not caused by any agency coming from outside the residence, and that the wounds inflicted on Mr.Trelawny must have been caused by someone or something, located inside the building. Furthermore, it is suspected that Trelawney’s unconscious state is in some strange way related to his vast collection of Egyptian artefacts that are found in his study and in almost every room in the house. Mr. Trelawney’s chamber is unique because it is filled with ancient relics, including the mummies of animals. These strange objects have their own influence on the minds of people who enter to visit, perhaps through the fetid aroma that seems to precipitate from them. Sir James describes the specific décor as “enough to put any man into an abnormal condition, to have such an assemblage of horrors round him, and to breathe the atmosphere which they exhale” (60) - again the mysterious atmosphere prevailing inside the room effects not only the sense of sight or hearing, but also the sense of smell, effectively evoking unpleasant sensations in the mind and body.
The unexplained events that take place in the household have their effect on the servants working there as well. Mrs. Grant, the head housekeeper informs Miss Trelawney that “'once a scare has been established in the servants' hall, it's well- nigh impossible to get rid of it” (66). The situation is in essence inexplicable by any logic and soon even the down-to-earth Dr. Winchester acknowledges this idea and even declares: “I have exhausted all human and natural possibilities' of the case, and am beginning to fall back on superhuman and supernatural possibilities” (112). Sergeant Daw, the detective investigating the strange events is of similar opinion and soon follows suit, explaining, “There were too many mysteries, that aren't in my line”, and later, after expressing when expressing a strong desire to resign from the case, “Now, I'll be able to wash my hands of it, and get back to clean, wholesome, criminal work” (170). It becomes clear that the events which have taken place in the home are greatly disturbing, and have a way of dissuading the detectives from their attempts to uncover the truth to the mystery. On the other hand, these events effectively invite the guests, somewhat unskilled at crime solving, to continue investigating the awkward events in pursuit of a solution to the problem, which affects them all, and will continue influencing their delicate mental state until the very end.
Not long before commencing the attempt to resurrect the mummy of Queen Tera, Ross’s mind is filled with doubt. Trying to comprehend the strange events occurring in the Trelawney home, he enters a rather insightful philosophical discussion in his mind in which he tries to find a connection between the light and darkness visible in his world, to the light and darkness of “good” and “evil”. Again the border between tangible and imaginary is indistinct and difficult to define.
Did any human being wish for the epitome of a life wherein were gathered and grouped all the experiences that a child of Adam could have, the history, fully and frankly written, of my own mind during the next forty-eight hours would afford him all that could be wanted. And the Recorder could have wrought as usual in sunlight and shadow, which may be taken to represent the final expressions of Heaven and Hell. For in the highest Heaven is Faith; and Doubt hangs over the yawning blackness of Hell. (214)
There remained to me the horror of doubt. And even then, so strange is the mind of man, Doubt itself took a concrete image; a vast and impenetrable gloom, through which flickered irregularly and spasmodically tiny-points of evanescent light, which seemed to quicken the darkness into a positive existence. (218)
Ross uses the imagery of nature -sunlight and shadow, light and gloom, to illustrate his feelings of uncertainty. This provides a clear-cut image of the anxieties and worries he is experiencing. When Ross returns to his comrades to continue their laborious endeavours at resurrecting Queen Tera he has a thought that expresses the scale to which the entire situation and everything that surrounds him is effecting his mind: “I saw darkness turn to gloom, and gloom to grey, and grey to light without pause or hindrance to the succession of my miserable feelings” (228). The immense impact the whole situation has on him is undesirable and bitter at its core. He experiences what he describes as “Gloom and anxiety, hope, high spirits, deep depression, and apathetic aloofness” (229). When the attempt to resurrect the mummy commences, there is a moment when the true powers of nature return and manifest themselves onto his condition.
The sense of loneliness and isolation from the world was increased by the moaning of the wind which had now risen ominously, and by the beating of waves on the rocks below. But we had too grave a task before us to be swayed by external manifestations: the unrolling of the mummy began. (241)
The most vivid and impressive depiction of nature’s ability to suppress the characters’ progress is during the final act of awakening the mummy. Furthermore, the role of “evil rooted in nature” is in this moment twofold - it disturbs the team’s attempt at raising Queen Tera, while simultaneously acting as a catalyst for the final tragedy which Ross’s companions will be part of.
The shutters strained as though the screaming wind without would in very anger have forced an entrance. In that dread hour of expectancy, when the forces of Life and Death were struggling for the mastery, imagination was awake. I almost fancied that the storm was a living thing, and animated with the wrath of the quick! (260)
The unwelcome and in essence “evil” effect of the weather acts as a reflection of Ross’s state of mind. This final, horrific scene brings together and embodies the entire mass of unpleasant and undesirable experiences that he and his companions had to endure throughout the story. Even at the very end, when Ross half-consciously raises his eyes upwards, in search of any friends who may, or may not have survived the final experiment, fear and doubt remain present in his mind.
 The so-called “Crew of Light”
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