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Gothic Elements in the Fifth Child

Author LiuJia
Tutor NanJianLi
School Xi'an International Studies University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords Doris Lessing gothic elements The Fifth Child monster terror rationality and civilization
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
Downloads 185
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Doris Lessing (1919—), the winner of Nobel Prize for literature in 2007, was acclaimed as one of most prominent female writers in the 20th century. Her writing career spans nearly 60 years and during such a long time, her multi-genred themes, innovatative writing style and experiment attract worldwide readers. As an innovatative and creative writer, Lessing’s writing has always broken boundaries both in subject-matters and techniques. The Fifth Child is such a successful attempt which shows her strong sense of social and moral responsibility through the application of gothic elements. Meanwhile, the application of gothic elements in this novel enables Lessing to overcome the limitation of realistic writing. The thesis takes the gothic elements in the novel as the target to study how Doris Lessing applies gothic elements in this novel, and how the application of gothic elements shows her revelation of dark side of human nature, the predicament of the marginalized, and meditation on rationality and civilization.The thesis is composed of five chapters. Chapter one presents a brief introduction to Doris Lessing and The Fifth Child, the critical views of The Fifth Child at home and abroad, and the central arguments on the basis of comparison and analysis of previous studies. Chapter two clarifies the origins and definition of gothic fiction and presents prominent elements in gothic fiction. Chapter three investigates the reasons behind Lessing’s application of gothic elements and discusses the gothic elements in the novel from the scopes of setting, plot and characterization. Chapter four studies and explores the effects of Lessing’s employment of gothic elements in the novel. Chapter five concludes that in The Fifth Child Doris Lessing reveals the dark side of human nature and shows her concern about the predicament of the marginalized and conveys her reflections of rationality and civilization, through the application of gothic elements.

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