If you think that gothic writers have to be careful, I do not know whether you are right or wrong. Gothic writing poses two controversial issues: the language vs. the content, and the function vs. the form. To me, in gothic narratives as in many others, language would be equal to the function each linguistic sign has one after another, whereas content would be the form we give to the gothic narrative after having seen all the functions that the language, we are reading, has built through the text.
This issue may seem to be simple, nonetheless it is rather problematic. Is there harmony between form and content in the gothic narrative? Or is the form against the content? Well, if one speaks from a formal point of view, there must be coherence between both since we need a beginning, followed by a liminal part leading up to the end of the story, (all covered by a plot). In this sense, so to speak, our expectations perfectly fit within the belief that there is harmony, or a kind of balance, between form and function.
However, the gothic narrative will always have an element of “otherness”. And it is the otherness what makes the text “gothic”. Do we have a cause and an effect? Of course we do. From the very beginning that the narrative starts (x = cause), it may multiply the narrative space (x1, x2, x3 …) and Y would be “the effect”. Would be these lasts concepts equal to the form that we give to the story we are reading? Would they overlap with the function of it? I actually believe that one cannot be read without the reading of the other and vice versa. There is no form if there are no functions and there is no effect if there are no causes. We should read between the lines of the narrative when reading gothic. Its otherness is what we may call the unknown. The unknown is what leads us to the mystical, to the endless circle of the terror and the horror of the gothic text. And it is the otherness of some characters in the gothic that we do not know when it is going to end. In this sense, there must be a lack of cause but not of effect since we do not know why the ghost is always scaring people. We are only conscious of the effect but not of its origins. From this point of view, one could say that the gothic claims the presence of a missing element within the narrative.
In a nutshell, how should be the gothic genre read in terms of rationality? This problematic question can lead us to infite problematic answers. The point one should make when talking about gothic is more a matter of “why” rather than “when or where”. We already know when the action takes place, or where it occurs but not why. We may not be able to give a specific answer to “why some characters are trapped in the same circle always and forever”. We should be rational about our analysis, if we speak about structure (also from Propp’s view), but we may be illogic when talking about why ghosts are trapped in eternity.There is no why if there is no "where" and "when" and there is no "where" neither "when" if there is no why.