Development of Mystery in Wieland

Lonely mansions, ghostly apparitions, and magic are some of the elements that create the atmosphere in Gothic stories. In his novel Wieland, Charles Brockden Brown uses most of these to create an aura of mystery and suspense. Brown once said that the Gothic novel was a literary form that could “engage, and transport, and chain down the attention, and sway the passions of the spectator or reader” (qtd. In Voloshin 344). In Wieland, Brown accomplishes this feat by using mystery as a literary technique to thrill the reader and develop the plot of the novel. Brown sets up mystery as an omnipresent force through the use of characterization, supernaturalism, narration, and structure.

Brown establishes Clara Wieland as the first-person narrator of the novel, thus her knowledge of the action and the thoughts of other characters is limited to her own experience. Brown focuses consistently on the sensation of Clara, emphasizing her perceptions and feelings (Voloshin 344). It is through her senses and thoughts that the audience is submerged into the novel and storyline. If Brown had chosen an omnipresent narrator the sense of mystery would be lost, since in this type of narration the narrator is usually aware of more information. By Brown...

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