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I'm helping a friend prepare for LitB3, having never taught AQA Lit for Alevel, and I simply don't understand the connection between this text and the title of the paper ie Elements of Gothic. I see that the titular story has connections, but others in the collection? Can anyone offer any help or clarity here? Am I missing something crucial? I see the text as feminist, as almost Marxist, but Gothic? Please help!
It's not a Gothic text, strictly speaking, but then neither are many of the others on this paper, such as The Pardoner's tale, or Macbeth. The clue is in the title, elements of gothic, which is an excuse to put together a lot of different but interesting literature linked by either being a precursor to the tradition or drawing upon it, as in the case of Carter. It's not just the title story which has elements of the gothic--for instance look at 'The Lady of the House of Love' compared to Dracula to make the point clearly.
You might find it helpful to look at some of my last year's blog for students on this paper--for instance http://mmcpurpleprose.blogspot.co.uk/search?updated-max=2011-05-12T06:37:00%2B01:00&max-results=7&reverse-paginate=true though browse at your leisure--it has some useful Carter information including links to elsewhere that you might find worth a look. My blog for this year's students for that paper is http://cherwellrevision.blogspot.co.uk/ and you will in the next weeks find some stuff on it which might be useful for exam prep.
Can somebody post a definition of what is meant by gothic literature?
Gothic literature is part of a genre generally considered to have been started by Walpole's publication of The Castle of Otranto in 1765, and quickly picked up by writers such as Mrs Radcliffe in the latter part of the 18th century. It is satirised by Jane Austen in Northanger Abbey, and Frankenstein is generally considered to be an excellent example of the genre,its genesis from a house-party again suggesting the popularity of the genre (as though people nowawdays might challenge each other to write a chick-lit book or detective story). Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre also owe a debt to the Gothic. The genre continued to develop, incorporatnig the Victorian 'sensation' novel and at the end of the century proto-horror such as Dracula. and detective stories such as those of Poe or Conan Doyle
Gothic novels feature several of a range of possible elements, such as brooding hero/villains, the supernatural explained, the setting of a gloomy castle or abbey, nightmares, secret passages and dungeons, ghosts, visions, mysteries, secret identities, disguise, and many others. A useful site for an overview would be The Norton Anthology http://www.wwnorton.com/college/english/nael/romantic/topic_2/welcome.htm or The Literary Gothic http://www.litgothic.com/LitGothic/general.html
Thanks very much Fishtail, I'll definitely look through your blog.
So do all stories contain gothic elements? For example, Puss in Boots? In the examination is it critical that the gothic elements of the stories are considered in the response? For example, in a question about gender roles should they always make reference to how they are a subversion of the standard Gothic roles? Does the Gothic have to be the main focus on the writing? Obviously it depends greatly on the question, but would it be recommended to avoid the stories such as Puss in Boots that are less 'Gothic'? I feel a little lost with this text, as though I'm missing something crucial.
Gothic literature is part of a genre generally considered to have been started by Walpole's publication of The Castle of Otranto in 1765, and quickly picked up by writers such as Mrs Radcliffe in the latter part of the 18th century.
Let's all say it - all together, children:
"Gothic literature is part of a genre generally considered to have been started by Walpole's publication of The Castle of Otranto in 1765, and quickly picked up by writers such as Mrs Radcliffe in the latter part of the 18th century"
It's quite catchy isn't it?
Thanks all, but why is it called gothic? I*'m trying to link it in my mind with goths and architecture.
Gothicism is a literary genre characterized by elements of horror, supernatural
occurrences, gloom, and violence. An isolated castle, a feeling of terror created by a
mterious and vengeful husband, and the discovery of the narrator's three butchered
predecessors are all emblematic of a gothic story. Much of Carter's writing is cast in
this vein, in which the protagonist's dread is an essential element. The author's
detailed, flowery descriptions of the castle and its mysterious rooms and the
psychological terror instilled in the young bride, an innocent trapped in a situation she
cannot control, also contribute to the gothic mode of the story.
this might help
Thanks Seaviews. I can see how it fits for The Bloody Chamber, and some of the other stories in the collection. Just not all of them, especially not Puss in Boots. Wondering whether I'm missing something in that story, and if not, whether I should advise her to avoid writing about it in the exam.
Thank you all, but I still haven't been told why it's called Gothic. Everyone [myself included] knows what is meant by a Gothic novel. I know full well that I could do a google, but this is more fun.
inkyThank you all, but I still haven't been told why it's called Gothic. Everyone [myself included] knows what is meant by a Gothic novel. I know full well that I could do a google, but this is more fun.
It's called gothic because it does all the things a gothic text should do. AND it subverts that genre too by doing other things besides. At A2 it's worth mentioning what else it is besides gothic ... ie fairy tale, romance, Romantic.
This is what a gothic text should do ...
chocolateheaven Thanks Seaviews. I can see how it fits for The Bloody Chamber, and some of the other stories in the collection. Just not all of them, especially not Puss in Boots. Wondering whether I'm missing something in that story, and if not, whether I should advise her to avoid writing about it in the exam.
Seaviews - please could you answer my question quoted above? I started the thread to try and get an answer to this - I know what a Gothic text is, and understand how some of the stories fit into it (despite other people diverting the thread into these areas), but am questioning how the text as a whole ie all 10 stories demonstrate gothic features, or whether a student would be better to focus on those that are gothic, and not those that are less so. I still haven't been able to get an answer to this.
I have marked this paper. It's 'Elements of the gothic' as mentioned upthread. Students are required to discuss how any text conforms or doesn't. It is not necessary to focus on texts which appear to be purely gothic.
'Macbeth' is not a gothic text. Neither is 'Dr Faustus'. I'm afraid I've forgotten which other texts your student is studying, but no set text, with the possible exception of 'Dracula' is purely gothic.
Brilliant, thank you Gruoch. Really helpful. She's doing Bloody Chamber, Faustus, Paradise Lost and Frankenstein. It's only really BC that I'm not certain how to approach. Do you think that Puss in Boots contains any elements of Gothic? Glad that it doesn't matter though.
Can I ask, as a marker, if the essay in section A is "depiction of male characters in BC" or "presentation of Evil in Paradise Lost" is it essential that the student makes reference to how the tests conform/subvert gothic conventions? She's shown me an essay she's written for her teacher, that she abandoned as she didn't feel confident about it and she wants my opinion on the start. I feel like she's trying too hard to write about the gothic rather than actually answering the task asked - is that something that I'm right to comment on, or something that they have to do for this module?
chocolateheaven I feel like she's trying too hard to write about the gothic rather than actually answering the task asked
That's easy - answer the question. Make a note of all the key words and make sure you address them.A question about male characters needs to address the idea of the male in the gothic, but that isn't the focus of the question as presented. Likewise evil in PL. A candidate needs to demonstrate understanding of the gothic as a genre, but that can be implicit in the response.
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