III.I.II Fear and Death
The second term that needs some sort of explanation is ‘fear’. Even though everyone knows what the word ‘fear’ means, the understanding of it can still differ. Therefore, it is useful for the analysis that the definition is explicit. The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines the noun ‘fear’ as “the bad feeling that you have when you are in danger, when something bad might happen, or when a particular thing frightens you” (560). This definition already offers references to the word fear that might come up during the analysis of the novels. In this definition, fear is reduced to the person who fears something and to the person’s inner feelings. The reason that causes this fear is not within the person. This is also the definition of fear that is the most useful within the following analysis of the chosen novels.
The verb ‘fear’ is defined similarly, as “to be frightened of somebody/ something or frightened of doing something” and also “to feel that something bad might have happened or might happen in the future” (Oxford 561). This definition includes the aspects of the noun’s definition but it also describes one aspect more clearly. The aspect that a person being frightened of doing something is another way to experience fear. When someone is frightened of doing something, the person has either the opportunity to face this fear and to do it anyway or to evade it. This might be a decision that the characters in the novels have to make. In addition to the noun and the verb, the adjective ‘fearful’ is defined as “nervous and afraid” and as “terrible and frightening” (Oxford 561), which describes exactly the condition a person that feels fear is in. Consequently, the word ‘fear’ and its definitions have a negative and ominous connotation that blends well with the content of the novels. This is also underlined by the synonyms of the noun fear, which are “terror”, “panic”, “alarm” and “fright” (Oxford 561). These words have the same connotation and complete the definition of the word fear.
Following this, the word ‘death’ seems self-explanatory, but it nevertheless has different definitions as well, that makes it is necessary to clarify its meaning. The noun ‘death’ is defined in general as “the fact of somebody dying or being killed”, “the end of life; the state of being dead”, and “the permanent end or destruction of something” (Oxford 389). As these short but different definitions show, there is more than just one way to approach the word ‘death’. These different approaches are beneficial for the following analysis because the different novels provide various forms of death. Additionally, the word ‘death’ has a literary definition as “the power that destroys life, imagined as human in form” (Oxford 389) which might also be useful for the analysis.