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HUMA 1780
Sharon Davidson

Essay Gothic tales have certain characteristics that make them gothic tales. Whether they be the creation of fear and anxiety or the simultaneous attraction and repulsion of a character. Doris Bett’s Hitchhiker deviates quite greatly from these main characteristics. This is made even more apparent when contrasted to other gothic tales such as Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Birthmark, a story which sticks very closely to the standard characteristics of a gothic tale. Doris Betts gothic tales deviates from standard gothic literature in 2 main categories, the creation of fear and anxiety in the story and the simultaneous attraction and repulsion to a main character. This will be proven with the use of both texts in the following chapters. The main character of Doris Betts Hitchhiker Rose Marie Duffy or Duffy as will be referred to lacks the creation of fear and anxiety that The Birthmark does due to its attitude towards life and death. This is evident as Duffys attitude toward her plummenst off a bridge and into a river in her car is almost that of peaceful. “The current was sluggish and she had no diffifculty turning into it, The brown water halfway up her window, and heading downstream.” This attitude almost feels as if Duffy is disassociated from reality and not giving the reader a sense of fear. This is contrasted by Nathaniel Howthornes tales of the Birth mark attitude towards death. Duffys attitude towards her own death is this quote is a microcosm of her hole attitude towards her own life throught the story. “ I have already administered agent powerful enough to do aught except to change your entire physical system. Only one thing remains to be tried. If that fails we are ruined.” The main character Alymer is hestitant to administer his last agent to his wife due to its possible dangerous nature.This gives the reader an anxious feeling of the unknown danger with a simultaneous fear of failure but also curiousity of success. Yet this is not how the author goes about telling her “Gothic Tale” in Hitchhiker as Duffy sits in her car about to drown from the water pushing in on the car around her she seems peaceful and disinterested in her impending death. “Duffy laid her head against the seat, watching shadows fall on the water ahead of the car and pour through the window shield, cool on her face. She closed her eyes and could still see them, through her eyelids, like clouds.” With Duffy so relaxed and indifferent about her own death it leave the reader with no sense of fear or anxiety to weather Duffy will survive or not and giving us almost a sense of peace Fear and anxiety are a main characteristic of Gothic tales and the tale Hitchhiker doesn’t just deviate from this characteristic it ignores i
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