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American Gothic

Page history last edited by Russell 11 years, 9 months ago
Mon and Wed, Nov 10 and 12 (Tues is Veteran's Day)
DUE: Gothic tale - typed, double-spaced, with self-evaluation
Introduction of the "Wild West" research project
EXTENSION NOTICE: For "B" day English 10 students only! The literary journal article arguing how your short story is "Gothic" is now due WEDNESDAY, Nov 5.
Thu and Fri, Nov 6 and 7
DUE: Opening paragraph(s) of your Gothic tale
In class: Continuing your own Gothic tale
Today participation/work credit is awarded based on your focused work on writing. BE ON TASK!
HOMEWORK: Complete your Gothic tale, and bring it to class TYPED, DOUBLE-SPACED
Tue and Wed, Nov 4 and 5
You begin writing your own Gothic tale, incorporating Gothic elements
Today's focus: Setting the tone, establishing mood, creating a setting, and introducing characters.
Today and next class, participation/work credit is awarded based on your focused work on writing. BE ON TASK!
HOMEWORK: Bring to class the opening paragraph(s) of your Gothic tale.
Fri and Mon, Oct 31 and Nov 3
I will demonstrate how to utilize your notes on Gothic literary elements, walking you through the steps toward completion of your Gothic newspaper/literary journal article.
For fun: We will read "The Raven", consider its Gothic elements, then compare it to the Simpsons version (with Marge as Lenore)
Wed-Thu, Oct 29-30
You will be assigned one of two stories for today:
  • Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart"
  • Poe's "Eleonora"
You will be asked to read the story you are assigned, answer a few simple questions, then write about the story. The writing will require that you argue why the story should be considered a piece of "Gothic" literature. You will be allowed to use all notes you have taken during the unit on Gothic lit.
This in-class assignment will be counted as a quiz/exam in the grade book.
Mon-Tue, Oct 27-28
DUE: Quickwrite and two reading questions from Faulkner
Brief reading of quickwrite homework - Emily's diary!
New story: Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado" - talk about revenge!
  • Why/how is this a gothic tale?
  • Where is imagery used? Does the use of imagery enhance the darkness of the tale? How?
HOMEWORK: Questions for Poe
1.2 What is the meaning of the phrase "A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser."?  (top page 1)

1.3 The answers to the following questions can be found in the text:

   a) Why did Montresor seek revenge on Fortunato?

   b) How did Montresor know that the house would be empty?

   c) Where had the stone and morter, used by Montresor to wall up the entrance to the niche, been hidden?

2.2 Why does Montresor make sure Fortunato has drunk a lot of wine?

2.3 What is Luchresi's role in the story?

2.4 What preparations had Montressor made for his revenge?

2.5 Why does Montresor appear concerned about Fortunato's health?
3.2 Discuss how the Poe uses setting to enhance the atmosphere of horror in the story.

3.3 Why do you think Montresor succeeded in leading Fortunato to the niche without raising his suspicions?

3.4 Why do you think Fortunato became silent at the end? What do you think the effect was on Montresor?

3.5 Why did Montresor go to such lengths to get his revenge? After all, he could merely have run Fortunato through with his sword.

3.6 Describe the Montresor's family arms. What significance do they have in the story?

Curious about other Poe stories? Check out http://www.gutenberg.org/files/2148/2148-h/2148-h.htm#2H_4_0010 

Here's a great link for "The Cask of Amontillado" - about live burial! http://www2.ivcc.edu/rambo/PoeQuestions.htm
Thu-Fri, Oct 23-24
Finish the Faulkner reading
Compare IMAGERY charts
Turn in imagery charts and Gothic Elements Chart
Answer reading questions:
  • Page 401 #2
  • Page 401 #4
HOMEWORK: Reading questions above AND Quickwrite #2 on page 401 - at least 1/2 page (one paragraph).
Tue-Wed, Oct 21-22
Work on answering the questions for the Chopin text from last class
Work on completing the "Gothic Elements Chart" to a specific standard of quality
New story: "A Rose for Emily" by Faulkner
During our Faulkner reading, we will focus on not only Gothic elements, but IMAGERY as well. Imagery has to do with:
  1. Sight
  2. Sound
  3. Smell
  4. Touch
  5. Taste
  6. Internal Sensation
HOMEWORK: Fill out more items on the Gothic Elements Chart!
Fri-Mon, Oct 17 and 20
New story: Chopin's "Desiree's Baby"
A completely different kind of Gothic tale, with an equally poignant (pointedly relevant) message.


Questions for Chopin's text:

1.        Do you think that when Armand reads the letter he learns something he had never suspected, or instead, something that he had sensed about himself all along? Find evidence in the text to support your view.

2.        In such a small story every word counts, so when Chopin writes (about Armand), “And the very spirit of Satan seemed suddenly to take hold of him and his dealings with the slaves,” what do you think she is revealing about Armand and the discovery he makes?

3.        Lots of discussion about race and racism happens in U.S. History and literature classes. Question: Does the mere presence of Armand’s racism make this a racist story? If it’s not a racist story, then what stand does the story seem to take on the issue of race?

4.        What elements of the gothic are present in this tale?


After reading Chopin, a handout will be given to help you chart Gothic elements in the short stories we read.


In-Class and HOMEWORK:

Complete the "Gothic Elements Chart" as much as you can, based on our notes from the introductory slide shows AND the two texts we have read.



Wed-Thu, Oct 15-16
DUE: Two responses to Poe's "Read Death" short story
WARMUP - The difference between "then" and "than"
Regarding the homework:
  • How did it go? Difficult? Easy?
  • What did people say on each question? Trade papers and read the replies of at least two others.
  • What are your thoughts now that you've considered what others wrote?
More work together with others:
In small groups, explore answers to questions 2 and 3 on page 366, and be ready to share in ten minutes
The class collective brain generates replies to the two questions - A GREAT time for NOTES!
  1. How does Poe's story fall within what we know of "Gothic" so far?
  2. Does Poe match up with what Stephen King has to say?
  3. What messages seem to appear out of Poe's story, and how do we see them?
Okay, new stuff:
A slide show overview of the typical elements of Gothic literature. If you miss this slide show, you will need to come after school to see it!
LOTS OF NOTES during the slide show. 
In class we will also review the contents of the slide show.
HOMEWORK: Use your slide show notes to answer the questions below
  1. What parts of the setting in “…Red Death” match typical settings in Gothic lit?
  2. Find TWO other elements of the “gothic” from the slide show that you think are present in “…Red Death”
Mon-Tue, Oct 13-14
Welcome to our new unit on Gothic Literature
What is “gothic?” Start with thinking about it this way:
Make a list of at least five scary films or books you know about
For each item on the list,
  • identify where the scariest action took place (location)
  • identify when the scariest action took place (time of day)
  • identify what made the story scary (Confined spaces? Serial killer? Hidden dangers? Crazy clowns? Certain death? End of times?)
Now that you have thought a bit about each of the items on your list, carefully consider the following question, and propose an answer in two or three sentences: 


>> What common characteristics do these stories and films have in common? What makes them similar?

  • Traditional definition of something “gothic:” noting or pertaining to a style of literature characterized by a gloomy setting, grotesque, mysterious, or violent events, and an atmosphere of degeneration and decay: 19th-century gothic novels
  • Definition applied to today’s “gothic” novels: being of a genre of contemporary fiction typically relating the experiences of an often ingenuous heroine imperiled, as at an old mansion, where she typically becomes involved with a stern or mysterious but attractive man
To what extent do any of the items on your original list fall into these definitions?
Now for some literary background: Open the textbook to pg 352, and be ready to write some notes.
  • Read the first two paragraphs. What, if anything, have you already heard of here?
  • Read to the bottom of 353. Answer in your notes:
    • How does Gothic literature contrast with romantics and the romantic movement?
    • What topics and subjects are usually discovered in Gothic lit?
    • Read 354. Answer in your notes:
    • Why did Gothic literature fall from favor?
Go back to your original list. Now that you’ve read a bit about where the term “Gothic” comes from, are any of these stories worthy of being called “Gothic?”
A look at a classic Gothic short story: Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death” on 356
Before reading Poe's story:
  • Read and consider (just think about) the “Personal Connection”
  • Read the “Historical Connection” for background
  • Read the “Reading Connection”
While reading Poe’s story:
  1. Write a short reply to the question in blue on 358
  2. Regarding the first half of 359: What do you think the colors in the seventh room might represent?
  3. Write a short reply to the question in blue on 359
  4. Write a short reply to second question in blue on 360
  5. Question: What do you think the guests might be thinking about when the clock strikes at midnight?
  1. Poe’s story is short – only six pages. Yet it’s considered a classic. Did you like it? Why or why not? Even if you did not like it, why do you think it is considered a “classic?”
  2. Now reply to question #5 on page 366 (requires that you read Stephen King's commentary on 364-365). This will help you move back from the story and look at it more like a scientist.


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