H. P. Lovecraft

Start Free Trial

Is "The Outsider" by H.P Lovecraft a horror story or an example of the Gothic genre?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

"The Outsider" by H.P. Lovecraft is a piece of Gothic fiction that contains elements of horror. Gothic fiction, a genre that can be described as the extreme of Dark Romanticism, often reflects elements of horror in its writings, as well as sadness, gloom, the supernatural, personal torment, and romance. While the genre of Horror tends to present outright terror and fear as the central motif of the novel, Gothic literature often presents a more subtle and complicated presentation. Horror is often presented in Gothic literature through a character's personal torment or tragic life.

For instance, in "The Outsider," the monster, who is the narrator of the short story, is not terrifying to the readers simply by being a monster, but through its torment at the realization of its personal identity and relation to the rest of the world. The personal torment and loneliness that resides in the monster's soul and the desolate and isolating setting of its home is what creates a sense of horror.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial