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House Taken Over by Julio Cortazar: Transformation in Gothic Literature

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The idea that you could transform into something evil scares us all, therefore gothic literature uses this as a common tactic to induce greater fear. In “House Taken Over” by Julio Cortazar we can see the transformation of fear in the siblings daily lives, which are presumably normal. Without transformation in gothic literature it would just be a normal scary story that you know could never happen to you, the idea that these things are happening to normal people like you and I scares us. It makes us think any everyday person could turn into something evil like characters in a story. Transformation is especially disturbing because it isn’t like any other type of fear. It’s more realistic than the rest and it’s very easy to believe what you’re reading or seeing is true. While there generally is some supernatural activity in these stories, a good portion of the time the people in the stories are the real monsters.

“The only thing I could think of to give meaning to these creatures is that the old brother and sister are simply psychotic”. Finding out that these regular people were hallucinating all of the events in “House Taken Over” is terrifying because we want to believe it was monsters who invaded them, but in the end it only makes us wonder about ourselves. In “House Taken Over” we see transformation play a big role in the story in many ways. In the beginning of the story they are seemingly normal but as the narrative progresses we can see many strange habits along with hints at mental disorder. The theory that the siblings aren’t really being invaded and it is just a psychotic episode raises the idea that instead of monsters and terrible people always being the antagonist, our own minds can be our greatest enemy. “. . . when they hear noises in the kitchen and other areas which they usually occupy, they abandon the house without a word to each other or without even taking anything with them”. Reading such a thing like this really make you wonder if occurrences like this are more common than you might think in people’s everyday life.

My personal experience with transformation is when I was in gymnastics, this was a transformation that took many years to take place but it was a positive one. I learned a lot through the sport such as respect, discipline, and perseverance and it really helped to shape me into the person I am today. Without gymnastics I don’t think I’d be anything like I am today because I practically grew up doing it and my coaches were all like parents to me, who each taught me different life lessons. “It taught me how to work for one goal and, when things weren’t going well, how to overcome adversity”.

While transformation plays a key role in gothic literature, it’s also very important in everyday life because without it we wouldn’t be able to grow into better people. There are many things that go into the making of a scary story, but if you want a really scary story it needs transformation. Transformation strikes close to home with everyone because we are all people and it is really scary to be able to identify with the villian of a story. Gothic literature really emphasises this and that’s why this genre is so creepy to everyone that reads it. It’s so easy to mark a villain as evil but they really turn scary when you can understand what drove them to their own insanity.

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House Taken Over By Julio Cortazar: Transformation In Gothic Literature. (2020, April 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 29, 2023, from
“House Taken Over By Julio Cortazar: Transformation In Gothic Literature.” GradesFixer, 12 Apr. 2020,
House Taken Over By Julio Cortazar: Transformation In Gothic Literature. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 29 Mar. 2023].
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