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The Horror - What hath Goth wrought

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The Horror! The
Horror!What Hath Goth
Wrought?
Characteristics and Origins of the
Gothic Literature/Horror Genre
Horror or just Gore?
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Before the days of Freddie Kruger, Hollywood
made many suspense/horror movies, some
cheapie thrillers (I Dismember Mama), and some
that became classics for chilling the blood of the
audience. The master of these movie-makers
was Alfred Hitchcock, who built suspense slowly
and subtly, usually without blood or overt
violence. The original Psycho was a masterpiece
of subtle horror as were Rear Window and The
Birds.
Horror or just Gore?
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Today’s master of the horror novel is
Stephen King, whose books (often made
into movies) are true spine-chillers that
use suspense to terrify readers.
Did you know that before horror there was
Gothic Literature, part of the Romantic
Movement?
Romantic Roots
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Imagination, intuition, and feelings
(versus reason and intellect)
Spirituality (versus science)
Innocence (versus experience)
Nature and the country (versus
industrialization and the city)
Nostalgia (versus “progress”)
Romantic Roots
In America, Romanticism most strongly
impacted literature.
Writers explored supernatural and gothic
themes.
Romantic Roots
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Yesterday and today: Horace Walpole’s
Castle of Otranto (1764); Anne Radcliffe,
Edgar Allen Poe, Bram Stoker, H.P.
Lovecraft, Shirley Jackson, Stephen King;
Freddy, Jason, Mike, et al.
What’s so great about fear
anyway?
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Do you feel moments of terror? Do you
hold your breath? Do you laugh? Why do
you react as you do?
How do you explain the desire of people
to be terrified?
As children, we delight in ghost stories
told in the dark. As adults, we read books
or see movies that we know will scare us.
Why?
Elements of Horror
Setting
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a deserted (or sparsely inhabited) castle or
mansion in a state or ruins or semi-ruins
labyrinths/mazes, dark corridors, and winding
stairs filled with dusty cobwebs
castles or mansions which have hidden
tunnels/staircases, dungeons, underground
passages, crypts, or catacombs.
Edgar Allen Poe’s “Fall of the House of Usher”,
Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow
Wallpaper,” Hitchcock’s “Psycho.”
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if set in a broken down modern house, the
basement or attic becomes the place of terror
threatening natural landscapes, like rugged
mountains, dark forests, or eerie moors,
exhibiting stormy weather
Shelly’s “Frankenstein”, Sherlock Homes’
“Hounds of the Baskervilles.”
Cemetery
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A place for the burial of the dead.
Caves, temples, mounds, catacombs,
churchyards, crypts.
Crosses cultures and ages.
Entrapment/Imprison
ment
Being confined or trapped,
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as shackled to a floor or
hidden away in a dark cell.
Heightens the psychology
of feeling there’s “no way
out.”
Poe’s “Usher” in which
Madeline awakens having
been buried alive.
Elements of Horror
Lighting/Mood
Blackout
limited lighting such as moonlight (usually a full moon),
candles, flashlight, lantern
пЃ® often the light disappears: clouds hide the moon,
candles go out, flashlights/ lanterns are dropped and
broken
пЃ® if electric lights exist, they usually mysteriously go out
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Mist/Fog
A grouping of water particles due to a
change in atmospheric conditions.
Literary convention used to obscure
objects, reduce visibility, or preclude the
insertion of something terrifying.
Characters
Unreliable Narrator
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The narrator’s ability to
accurately relate events
is suspect.
The narrator makes
incorrect assumptions
or conclusions, or
misunderstands
situations or other
characters.
Poe’s Tell-Tale Heart or
James’ Turn of the
Screw.
Devil
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A spirit of incarnate
evil.
Latin: diabolus.
Ranges from tragic
villain-hero (Milton’s
Paradise Lost) to
punisher of sinners
(Lewis’ The Monk) to
tempter and deceiver
(Marlowe’s Dr.
Faustus) to pure evil.
Villain-Hero
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The villain poses as a hero
at the beginning of the
story, or…
The villain possesses
enough heroic qualities
(charisma, sympathetic
past) so that either the
reader and/or the other
characters see the V-H as
more than a charlatan or
bad guy.
Milton’s Satan; Prometheus.
The Pursued Protagonist
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A force that relentlessly,
terminally and unavoidably
pursues, persecutes or
chastizes another for some
real or imagined wrong.
A crime and retribution
cycle, but also…
A hero-villain can be both
the pursued and the
pursuer (Shelley’s
Frankenstein, Stoker’s
Dracula).
The Pursued Heroine
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A virtuous, idealistic,
and usually poetic
young woman is
pursued by a wicked,
older, potent aristocrat.
The pursuit threatens
the young lady’s morals
and ideals (and often
her virginity).
She usually responds
with passive courage.
Ghosts, Werewolves, Vampires,
Witches
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Assorted
supernatural
(usually
malignant)
beings,
bogies, and
baddies.
Doppelganger
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German: doublegoer.
Ghostly counterpart of
another person.
Body double, alter ego,
identical other person.
Bloch’s Psycho,
Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll
and Mr. Hyde.
Other Elements
Ancestral Curse
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The current
generation suffers
for evil deeds of
ancestors.
Nathaniel
Hawthorne’s The
House of the Seven
Gables.
Body-Snatching
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Grave-Robbing.
Stealing corpses from
graves, tombs, or
morgues.
Illicit trade in cadavers.
Violation of religious
space.
Commercially motivated
by science.
King’s Pet Semetary.
Claustrophobia
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Abnormal dread of
being confined in a
close, narrow space.
Small, dark,
windowless spaces.
Gothic Counterfeit
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Playful fakery of authenticity.
The text is presented as a
discovery or recovery by the
editor, sometimes of an
ancient or forgotten text.
Cloaks the real writer’s
authorship.
Complicates the point of view
(making things more fun and
intriguing).
Dreaming/Nightmares
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Dredge up strong
emotions, such as
ecstasy, terror, joy.
Reveal urges,
impulses, desires,
even truths about
oneself one tries to
hide.
Reveal the future;
premonitions.
Gothic Gadgets
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Physical elements allowing
supernatural powers to display
uncanny presence and abilities.
“Supernatural props”: vocal and
mobile portraits; animated
statues and skeletons; doors,
gates, portals, hatchways which
open and close independently;
secret passageways; secret
messages and manuscripts;
forbidden chambers and sealed
compartments; casket lids seen
to rise, etc.
The Grotesque
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Mutations, often deformities.
The flowers in Hawthorne’s
“Rappaccini’s Daughter”; the
jester in Poe’s “Hop-Frog”.
A mix of two separate modes,
such as comedy and tragedy,
creating a disturbing fiction, in
which comic circumstances
often preclude horrific tragedy
and vice-versa.
Necromancy
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The dark art of
communicating with
the dead.
Marlowe’s Dr.
Faustus.
Revenant
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The return of the
dead upon the
living.
A ghostly being who
returns to life.
Wilke Collins’ “The
Dream Woman”.
Revenge
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The act of repaying
someone for a harm
caused.
Revenge can be
enacted upon a
loved one, a family
member, a friend,
an object or area.
Poe’s “Cask of
Amontillado”.
Somnambulism
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Sleepwalking
Hidden sources of
stress may be
revealed or acts of
guilt replayed.
Transformation/Metamorphosis
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A striking change in
appearance; a change
in the form or function
of an organism by a
natural or unnatural
process.
Poe’s “Morella” and
“Ligeia”; HG Wells’ Dr.
Moreau, Stevenson’s
Mr. Hyde, King’s It.
Your Task
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Create an original horror
story
2-3 pages in length.
must include dialogue,
characterization, theme,
and suspense, BUT no
gore.
This is not an experiment in
how much bloody violence
you can write about. It is a
piece about fear, suspense,
and terror—not blood and
guts.
Elements of a Short Story
пЃ® http://www.flocabulary.com/fivethings/
пЃ® Listen
to and follow along with the song about
the five major elements of a story. A copy
of this song has been given to you for your
information.
Acknowledgement
Material in this powerpoint is a combination of two online PowerPoints as well as my own insertions.
пЃ® Presentation created by Paul Reiff of the English
Department at Vernon Hills High School, District
128, Illinois.
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Most material gathered from “A Glossary of Literary Gothic
Terms” on the web at
www2.gasou.edu/facstaff/dougt/goth.
Site maintained by Douglas H. Thomson of the
Department of Literature and Philosophy at Georgia
Southern University.
Presentation found at
http://www.etsu.edu/coe/uschool/faculty/borthwik/
honors/documents/The_Horror_Story_Unit.ppt.
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