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The Well

            The Well - Gothic Horror The Well written by the talented Western Australian writer, Elizabeth Jolley is a suspenseful and chilling novel comprising elements of the Gothic genre. It centralizes on Herster Haper the eccentric, crippled and surrogate mother to Katherine, an unwanted child who together commit a crime. Adding to this psychological thriller is the apparent mystery body down the well. Gothic novels are horror stories of a more or less macabre nature exploring the darker side of life. They are tales of the supernatural, the paranormal, and set among isolated, haunted landscapes. They are characterised by marginalised lonely people and involves unknown origins. .
             The fragmented narrative structure of the Well, wherethe author's omniscient voice regular intrudes, is abundant in silences, ambiguities, and surprises, a characteristic feature of Jolley's fictions and a key element of a gothic genre. One morning when birds were echoing across the paddocks Mr Harper having unsuccessfully made a partial change over to beef died. It is these sentences that causes the reader to feel bewildered by the inappropriateness of the information to which the sentence actually leads. The sentence starts with a lyrical description of nature but has little to do with the tragic event of Mr Harper's death. The flash backs, a suspense-creating device is purposely utilised in the novel to stimulate the element of paranoia. This is because flash backs are usually associated with memories of horrific ordeals thus evoking feelings of terror, anxiety and fear. These emotions are of the darker side of life analysed through the gothic genre. In addition are the many events that take place in the novel that are vague and lacking in detail making readers never understand or anticipate what is going to occur. For example is the ambiguity of the ending where there is no sense of closure and where the central and crucial body is still left concealed in the disused well.

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