Gothic in the Deathly Hallows: Creating a sense of decay

Bathilda's house

Bathilda was tottering

Let’s look at the first sentence.

Bathilda was tottering around the place lighting candles, but it was still very dark, not to mention extremely dirty.

Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsJ.K. RowlingSource

Controlling the reader’s eye: notice how we start focused on Bathilda, and then the view widens to the surrounding room.

Sense of decay: notice how we have decaying qualities with strong intensifiers such as tottering, very dark, extremely dirty.

The point: Harry is seeing what impact Bathilda’s actions are having, and he isn’t impressed.

Can you find similar patterns in these examples?

Salzman was staggering around the apartment flicking light switches, but it was still very gloomy, not to mention extremely hot.

Admiral Lavinia lurched across the deck calling her crew, but it was still deathly silent, and bitterly cold.

The man with the party hat was leaning against the rail wiping up his vomit, but his friends had wandered far away, and well past earshot.

Your turn

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