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Katie Tighe

EDU 516
Unit Plan
12.6.10

Theme

American Gothic Literature

Unit Overview

In this unit students will analyze American Literature through the lens of Gothic literary
conventions. They will explore the origins of the genre and the ways in which American
authors adapted the conventions to reflect America’s distinct culture. Throughout the
unit, students will examine how cultural beliefs and anxieties are encoded in literary
texts. They will gain practice close reading texts for literary devices and techniques,
genre conventions and historical context. Students will also examine Gothic works
through different critical lenses (historical, psychological, feminist). Throughout the unit,
students will tweak a working definition of the Gothic, determining the most important
features of the genre present in the works read. The unit will culminate in a final paper in
which students compare and contrast the use of a Gothic conventions in two different
works.

Rational

The genre of the Gothic will provide a unique and engaging inroad into important aspects
of American history and culture (anxieties about religion, morality, community,
gender and American history itself). The topic will also connect well with aspects of
popular culture (Twilight series, Stephen King novels, horror films, etc.) and thus,
should touch on student interests—or at least an aspect of the culture that they are
familiar with.

Overarching Questions

*What American cultural concerns are reflected through Gothic conventions?


*Do American Gothic works seem more concerned with thrilling and entertaining readers
or critiquing society?
*How are Gothic sensibilities still with us today?
*How can genre be slippery?

Texts/Materials/Resources
Texts

*Allan Lloyd Smith American Gothic Fiction: An Introduction

*Edgar Allen Poe


“The Fall of the House of Usher”
“The Tell-Tale Heart”

*Nathanial Hawthorne
“Young Goodman Brown”
“The Minister’s Black Veil”

* Charlotte Perkins Gilman


“The Yellow Wallpaper”

*William Faulkner
“A Rose For Emily”

*Shirley Jackson
“The Lottery”

*Flannery O’Connor
“A Good Man is Hard to Find”

Materials/Resources

*Computer and LCD projector


*Student Journals or Blog
*Internet Access
*chart paper
*Appendix Materials/Handouts

Culminating Project: Comparison/Contrast Essay

As a culminating assignment for our unit on Gothic fiction, you will be asked to write a
Comparison/Contrast Essay in which you analyze the use of a Gothic convention in two
of the works read in class.

Looking at your two stories, you will answer the following questions: How is the Gothic
convention you have chosen depicted in each work? In what ways do the use of Gothic
conventions contribute to the larger themes of each story? Please answer these questions
in a well-organized essay featuring: a clear thesis statement, supporting paragraphs with
topic sentences that support your overall argument and concrete, well-integrated textual
evidence.
Your essay must be 5 pages. Typed, double-spaced in 12 point Times New Roman Font.
You must clear your paper topic with me in advance.

Grading Rubric

CATEGORY 4 3 2 1

Focus The paper has a The paper has a The paper topic No single
single, clear sufficiently is either too paper topic.
topic that is narrow topic broad or topic is No thesis
supported by a that is supportedunclear. Thesis statement.
strong thesis by a thesis statement needs
statement in the statement. to be more
introductory focused and/or
paragraph. clear.
Organization Information is Information is Information is The
very organized organized with organized, but information
with well- well-constructed paragraphs are appears to be
constructed paragraphs, a not well- disorganized.
paragraphs, a progression of constructed. The
clear the main idea sequence of
progression of and transitions. paragraphs does
the main idea, not support the
and smooth logical
transitions. progression of
the main idea.
Transitions are
few or absent
entirely.

Content Content is Content is Content is Content is


substantial and sufficient and lacking. Content severely
relates directly relates to the may not relate to limited. It does
to the paper's paper's focus. the paper's not relate to
focus. Content Points are focus. Points are the paper's
features specific backed up by not specific focus. No
insights/points evidence. enough and/or evidence
that are well- not supported provided to
supported with with evidence. back up points.
appropriate
evidence.
Mechanics No Almost no A few Many
grammatical, grammatical, grammatical grammatical,
spelling or spelling or spelling, or spelling, or
punctuation punctuation punctuation punctuation
errors. errors errors. errors.

LESSON 1

State Standards: 1.3.11.B: Interpret and analyze works in various genres of literary
and/or cultural significance in American and world history:

* Reflect a variety of genres in the respective major periods of


literature.
* Represent important authors in each historical period.
* Reveal contrasts in major themes, styles, and trends in the
respective historical periods.
* Examine the important philosophical, religious, social,
political, or ethical ideas of the time.

Objectives: Students are introduced to unit on American Gothic fiction. Students will
assess what they already know about the term “Gothic” and formulate a working
definition of the American Gothic as a literary genre. Students will be able to identify
Gothic conventions in Poe’s “The Raven.”

Materials/Resources:

Student Journals
Handouts with definitions (in Appendix)
Copies of Poe’s “The Raven”

Procedures:

1. Beginning
Tell students that we will be starting a unit on American Gothic fiction.
Give them five minutes to respond in their journals to the questions:
“What does the term “Gothic” mean to you? What images does in
conjure? What do you know about Gothic literature, specifically?”

Next give students three minutes to share what they wrote with a
partner. Now discuss as a group, writing student comments on the
board. (Students most likely will be able to reference “Goth” style,
Gothic architecture, even if they are unfamiliar with Gothic as a
literary term.)

Inform students that today we will begin to formulate a working


definition of the Gothic. This is something we will continue to add to
and tweak as we explore the genre of American Gothic literature.
Tell students that the Gothic is a very broad category comprised of
many specific elements or conventions (some of which they most
likely will have mentioned in their brainstorming). As they shall see,
most of them are familiar with many of these elements from ghost
stories, horror films and even novels they read the year before such as
To Kill A Mockingbird.

2. Middle

Ask if anyone can define what a literary convention is? Genre?


Display the definitions of the terms “convention” and “genre” on the
overhead. When everyone is finished reading, ask students to sum-up
each definition is their own words. Explain to them that the Gothic
features many very specific conventions. Sometimes a work may
exhibit many Gothic conventions, but is not necessarily categorized as
a Gothic work as a whole.

Distribute copies of Poe’s “The Raven” to students, as well as display


on overhead. Read aloud as a group, encouraging students beforehand
to circle or underline any words, phrases or moments that seem
Gothic. Have students share with same partner regarding what they
made note of in the poem. Prompt discussion by having students share
what words or moments they picked out with the whole class. Write
this on the board and ask students to compare the gothic elements from
“The Raven” with their original brainstorm list. Does “The Raven”
brainstorm list contain any of the same concepts/words as the list made
at the start of class?

3. Ending
Ask students to now re-think their original list of what comprises the
Gothic. Can we add new ideas to our working definition of the Gothic?
What would students add after reading “The Raven?” Why?

4. Evaluation

Exit ticket: What other works do you know that have Gothic elements?
Books? Movies? Songs? Poems?

5. Differentiated Activities

An audio or video version of the “The Raven” could be played instead of


having members of the class read aloud.

Students could create their list of Gothic elements, read poem, etc. in pairs or
small groups, instead of as a whole class.
More advanced students could be divided into groups, each with a different
poem to analyze.

LESSON 2

State Standards: 1.6.11.A: Listen critically and respond to others in small and
large group situations.
• Respond with grade level appropriate questions, ideas,
information or opinions.
1.3.11.C: Analyze the relationships, use, and effectiveness of literary
elements (characterization, setting, plot, theme, point of view, tone,
mood, foreshadowing, irony, and style) used by one or more authors in
similar genres.
--R11.B.1: Understand components within and between texts.

Objectives: Students will be able to distinguish between the terms Gothic Literature,
Gothic Novel, and Gothic. Students will be able to recognize connections between
historical and literary movements.

Materials/Resources:
Student Journals
Overhead
Handouts with definitions (Appendix)
Powerpoint Presentation

Procedures

1. Beginning

Tell students that as American writers started using Gothic conventions in


their writing, they were drawing on a rich tradition that had been immensely
popular in Europe.

Prompt students to write a journal response based on the following question:


List any examples of texts that reference, parody or imitate other texts. This
does not have to be limited to books but can include songs, televisions shows,
movies, etc.

Tell students that today we will be looking more closely at the history of the
genre of the Gothic. This will aid us as we analyze the ways in which
American authors reconfigured certain conventions.

2. Middle
Divide students into groups of 4. Pass out different definitions of Gothic
terms. (See Appendix) Give students 10 minutes to read and discuss their
definition. Next have each group share with the whole class, summarizing
the most important points of their definition.

*Next present PPT that catalogues the ways in which American Gothic
differs from European Gothic fiction. Give students handout of PPT, with
space for taking notes.

3. Ending

Explain to students that this emphasis of American historical circumstances


represents an interpretation of American Gothic literature and that they are
encouraged to agree or disagree with this perspective throughout the unit.

4. Evaluation

Review student journals.

5. Differentiated Activities

Students could be assigned excerpts from Allan Lloyd-Smith’s American


Gothic Fiction for homework,
Students could begin to make a timeline of American Gothic literature to be
added to/tweaked throughout the unit.

LESSON 3

[Students will have read Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” and written a
250-word response to the following questions for homework: What are the most
prominent features of the setting of “The Fall of the House of Usher”?]

State Standards: 1.1.L.D: Demonstrate comprehension before reading, during reading,


and after reading on grade level texts to support understanding of a
variety of literary works from different cultures and literary
movements.
--R11.A.1.5: Summarize a fictional text as a whole.
--R11.B.1.1: Interpret, compare, describe, analyze, and evaluate
components of fiction and literary nonfiction.
--R11.B.1.1.1: Setting: Explain, interpret, compare, describe, analyze,
and/or evaluate the setting of fiction or literary nonfiction.
Explain, interpret, compare, describe, analyze, and/or evaluate the
relationship between setting and other components of the text.

Objectives: Students will analyze Poe’s use of specific literary devices in “The Fall of
the House of Usher.” They will be able to interpret the larger themes of the story through
an analysis of the literary devices of word choice, personification, imagery,
foreshadowing and symbolism.

Materials/Resources

Graphic Organizers 1 &2 (Appendix)


Chart paper
Markers

Procedures:
1. Beginning

Ask students to summarize “The Fall of the House of Usher.” Take participants
or call on students at random.

Next ask students to think about the setting of the story and share what they wrote
in their response for homework.

Remind students that setting is especially important in Gothic works. In


particular, Gothic works often place in an old castle (in the case of European
Gothic) or crumbling mansion. Also, Gothic authors usually establish a dark,
scary or mysterious mood in their works. Here draw student attention to the
working definition of Gothic begun in lesson 1.

2. Middle

Break students into groups of four and present half with Graphic Organizer 1 and
half with Graphic Organizer 2.

3. Ending

After filling out the graphic organizers, have students report their findings on
chart paper and present to the group.

4. Evaluation

Collect charts.

5. Differentiated Activities
Classes that need more scaffolding could fill out one graphic organizer as a
group, before breaking into small groups to fill out second graphic organizer.

LESSON 4

[Students have read ““The Tell-Tale Heart” for homework as well as an excerpt from the
introduction to The New Gothic.]

State Standards: 1.1.L.D: Demonstrate comprehension before reading, during


reading, and after reading on grade level texts to support
understanding of a variety of literary works from different
cultures and literary movements.
--R11.B.1.2: Make connections between texts.

Objectives: Students will be able to compare and contrast the same story presented
trough different media. Students will be able to analyze the effectiveness of Poe’s short
story as a dramatic monologue.

Materials/Resources:

Computer
Internet Access

Procedures:

1. Beginning

Have students respond to the following questions in their journal: What are the
major themes of “The Tell-Tale” Heart. What do you think is Poe’s purpose in
writing the story?

Have students share their response with the group.

Tell students that we will be watching a dramatic performance of “The Tell-Tale Heart”
and analyzing the differences between reading and viewing the story.

2. Middle

Students watch a dramatic performance of “The Tell-Tale Heart”:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LNjgv5p3Ek&feature=recentfmore
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TM-tAb-bM-s&feature=recentfmore

(Video approximately 15 minutes)


Prompt discussion by asking students: Did this work as a dramatic monologue? What
feelings does this story create in the reader?

Next ask students to sum-up the excerpt read for homework: What do Morrow and
McGrath highlight as Poe’s contribution to the American Gothic?

3. Ending

Explain that this emphasis on psychological terror/horror is one that we will


continue to explore. Poe’s works lend themselves well to performance. Does he
have a larger purpose in his work other than to create fear and terror in his reader
(i.e. entertain them)?

4. Evaluation
EXIT Ticket: Do you see any similarities in the Poe works that we have read and
modern horror movies?

5. Differentiated Activities

Students could also read “The Black Cat” and only watch the dramatic version of
“The Tell-Tale Heart.”

LESSON 5

[For homework students will have read “Young Goodman Brown.”]

State Standards: 1.3.11.A: Examine the impact of diverse cultures and writers on
the development and growth of literature.

Describe how an author conveys intent and perspective in


contemporary and historical writings.

Objectives: Students will identify elements of the Puritan experience in Hawthorne’s


“Young Goodman Brown.” Students will compare and contrast Hawthorne’s work with
his personal biography.

Materials/Resources:

Student Journals
Computer
Internet Access
Procedures:

1. Beginning

Pass around handouts with an excerpt from J Carol Oates intro to American
Gothic Tales. Read aloud as a group and have students respond to in their
journals to the following question: What historical factor(s) does J. Carol
Oates highlight in relation to American Gothic fiction? After 5 minutes, have
students share their responses with the group.

Tell students that the Puritan experience did influence American Gothic Fiction,
particularly the work of Nathaniel Hawthorne, and that today we will be
discussing his work in relation to the Puritan experience.

Ask students what they know about the Puritans and the Salem Witch Trials
from their history class. Jot student comments down on the board/overhead.

2. Middle

Show students 10 minute documentary clip about the Salem Witch Trials
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEv4FlmHbYY&feature=related).

Tell students that Hawthorne was a descendent of one of the judges at the Salem
Witch Trials of 1692-93. Prompt a discussion by asking the following questions:
Do you think Hawthorne’s family background influenced his writing? What
elements of “Young Goodman Brown attest to this influence”?

Direct students to the following paragraph from “Young Goodman Brown”:

"Well said, Goodman Brown! I have been as well acquainted with


your family as with ever a one among the Puritans; and that's no
trifle to say. I helped your grandfather, the constable, when he
lashed the Quaker woman so smartly through the streets of Salem;
and it was I that brought your father a pitch-pine knot, kindled at
my own hearth, to set fire to an Indian village, in King Philip's
war. They were my good friends, both; and many a pleasant walk
have we had along this path, and returned merrily after midnight. I
would fain be friends with you for their sake.

Have them read this silently and then ask them to summarize the passage. Prompt
discussion by asking: What does this passage suggest about the Puritans? What view of
American history does this suggest?

Break Students into groups of 4. In their groups, have students answer the
question: Does Young Goodman Brown really attend a witches’ Sabbath or does
he dream about it? What elements of the supernatural are included in the text?
Have students back up their argument with specific examples from the text.

3. Ending

Pull up working definition of the gothic and have students add new items.

4. Evaluation

Collect student group work.

5. Differentiated Activities

More advanced classes could be assigned Jonathan Edwards sermon “Sinners


in the Hands of An Angry God.”

LESSON 6

[Students will have read “The Ministers Black Veil” for homework. They will
have come in to class with three interpretive questions about the text and 5
vocabulary words that they did not understand.]

State Standards:
1.1.11.B: Use context clues, knowledge of root words, and word
origins as well as reference sources to decode and understand new
words.
1.1.11.C: Analyze textual context to determine or clarify the
meaning of unfamiliar or ambiguous words and to draw
conclusions about nuances or connotations of words.
--R11.A.1.1.1: Identify and/or apply meaning of multiple-meaning
words used in text.
--R11.A.1.1.2: Identify and/or apply a synonym or antonym of a
word used in text.

Objectives: Students will be able to formulate interpretive questions based on reading.


Students will be able to define unknown words utilizing reference sources, prior
knowledge and context clues.

Materials/Resources:

Dictionary
Student Journals

Procedures:
1. Beginning
Collect student questions as they come in the room and quickly pick two or three
to prompt a journal reflection. After five minutes, prompt students to share their
responses. After this class discussion, ask students to reflect on what new
questions were raised by answering the question that they did. Have them
generate three new questions and record them in their journal.

Tell students that now we are going to switch gears and work with the other
questions they had from the reading: vocabulary words. We will work closely
with the language Hawthorne uses, determine the meaning of unfamiliar words
through several different methods.

2. Middle

Each student should have a list of vocabulary words generated for homework.
[For students who do not, have them look through the text now and pick five
words. Whatever they do not finish in class can be assigned as homework.] Place
the following guidelines for defining words up on the overhead:

a. Make your own guess, using contextual information, as to the words


meaning.
b. Write down the dictionary definition that best describes the way the
word was used in its original sentence.
c. Use your own words to define it, so if I ask you to explain what it
means, you can.
d. List any variations of the word (e.g., if the word is profane, a variation
would be profanity); these variations might include synonyms,
antonyms (e.g., swearing, cussing) and antonyms (e.g., revere,
respect).

Use these guidelines to define one word as a class (use any of the following
words: iniquity, pathos, indecorous, remonstrate, visage).

Next prompt students to begin defining their five words according to these
guidelines.

3. Ending

Give students the rest of class time to complete this assignment. Any unfinished
work will be assigned as homework.

4. Evaluation

Collect student definitions of 5 words.


5. Differentiated Activities

For students who struggle with this, more words can be defined as a group.
Additionally, the assignment could be completed in pairs or small groups instead
of as an independent activity.

[LESSON NOT INCLUDED: Discussion of “The Minister’s Black Veil” and “Young
Goodman Brown” in relation to the themes of guilt, “secret sin” and the hidden.]

LESSON 7

State Standards: 1.1.11.B: Use context clues, knowledge of root words, and
word origins as well as reference sources to decode and
understand new words.
--R11.A.1.2: Identify and apply word recognition skills.
Objectives: Students will be able to define grotesque, a term central to Gothic
literary criticism. They will be able to interpret Gothic works through the lens of
the grotesque.

Materials/Resources:

Computer
Internet Access
Appendix Materials (Paintings, Chart).

1. Beginning

Prompt discussion by asking students: What does the term grotesque mean? Tell
students that the concept of the grotesque is central to Gothic criticism. Next
display the definition of grotesque from Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms on
overhead, as well as the following dictionary definition:

adjective 1. odd or unnatural in shape, appearance, or character; fantastically ugly


or absurd; bizarre.
2. fantastic in the shaping and combination of forms, as in decorative
work combining incongruous human and animal figures with scrolls,
foliage, etc.

Ask students how these definitions match up with their initial understandings of
the word.

2. Middle

Show students Francis Bacon painting Study of a Nude with figure in the Mirror.
(http://www.artknowledgenews.com/Sothebys.html) and Self Portrait with
Injured Eye (http://www.leninimports.com/francis_bacon_gallery_4.html). (See
Appendix)

Break students into groups of 4 and have them complete graphic organizer (See
Appendix). Prompt discussion based on work in groups.

3. Ending

Ask students if we have seen the grotesque in any of the stories read so far? Is
madness an example of the grotesque? The minister’s veil?

Next show students illustration of the ministers black veil. (Appendix) Prompt
discussion by asking: What is grotesque about this image?

4. Evaluation

Collect graphic organizer and grade for class participation.

5. Differentiated Activities

For further enrichment, students could have an assignment in which they must
find an example of the grotesque (either another painting or literary example,
song, etc.)

LESSON 8

[Students will have read “The Yellow Wallpaper” for homework and generated
three interpretive discussion questions.]

State Standards: 1.3.11.D: Analyze the effectiveness, in terms of literary quality, of


the author’s use of literary devices, (e.g., personification, simile,
alliteration, symbolism, metaphor, hyperbole, imagery, allusion,
satire, foreshadowing, flashback, irony) in various genres.
--R11.B.2.1.1: Identify, explain, interpret, describe, and/or analyze
examples of personification, simile, metaphor, hyperbole, satire,
imagery, foreshadowing, flashbacks and irony in text.
--R11.B.2.2: Identify, interpret, describe, and analyze the point of
view of the narrator in fictional and nonfictional text.

Objectives: Students will be able to define the uncanny and assess the difference
between the dictionary and literary definition. They will be able to identify the
use of the uncanny in Gothic texts.
Materials/Resources:

Student Journals
Handouts with quotes from “The Yellow Wallpaper” (Appendix)
Procedures:

1. Beginning

Prompt students to reflect on the following question in their journals: Why does
the narrator go mad? Could it have been prevented?

Have students share their responses with the group.

Tell students that this story uses several literary devices—such as dramatic irony
and an unreliable narrator—to create questions in the readers mind as well as a
Gothic air of mystery. Ask if anyone can define dramatic irony or unreliable
narrator.

2. Middle

Explain the two terms— dramatic irony and unreliable narrator—and have
students partner up. Provide students with quotes from the text and ask them to
evaluate: 1.) Does this quote represents an example of dramatic irony? 2.) Do we
trust the information that the narrator is telling us? 3.) If not, what do we believe
is really going on?

Next ask students if they are familiar with the word “uncanny”? What does it
mean? Provide students with the Merriam-Webster definition:
a : seeming to have a supernatural character or origin : eerie, mysterious b :
being beyond what is normal or expected : suggesting superhuman or supernatural
powers <an uncanny sense of direction>

Explain to students that the uncanny is an important term in the study of Gothic
literature. Critical to the literary definition is Freud’s definition, which catalogues
the uncanny (Ger. Das Unheimliche) as: “that class of the frightening which leads
back to what is known of old and long familiar […] on the one hand it means
what is familiar and agreeable [as “heimlich”, roughly translated, means
“homely”] and on the other, what is concealed and kept out of sight.

Sum-up Freud’s definition in the following way: an instance where something can
be familiar, yet foreign at the same time, resulting in a feeling of it being
uncomfortably strange. The concept of déjà vu might give students a comparable
term for understanding.

3. Ending
Are there any instances of the uncanny in “The Yellow Wallpaper”? Other
works read so far?

Exit Ticket: If students struggle with the last discussion question have them
answer the following as an exit ticket or homework assignment. Could the
ghostly figure behind the wallpaper be an example of the uncanny? Or the man
who leads Goodman Brown into the woods? Why?

4. Evaluation

Collect exit ticket/homework.

5. Differentiated Activities

If students need more structure/scaffolding, the literary terms could be


evaluated in group work (through the jigsaw method, with each group getting
a different term) and then presented to the whole group.

LESSON 9

State Standards: 1.4.11.B: Write complex informational pieces (e.g. research


papers, literary analytical essays, evaluations)
*Use precise language and specific detail.

Objectives: Students will be able to close read texts, evaluating the literary
devices, stylistic elements and larger themes of the work through
an analysis of a small passage of the text. Students will be able to
transfer their close-reading skills to their writing.

Materials/Resources:

Appendix Materials

1. Beginning

Pass out final paper prompt and rubric. Read through and explain assignment,
fielding student questions. Tell students that, as they write their papers, they will
need to move between making broad assertions about the two texts they are
comparing, as well as closely analyzing quotes from the text.

6. Middle

Pass out Close Reading Handout. Read together as a group.


Next pass out an example of close-reading from an anonymous student paper.
(Appendix) Prompt discussion of techniques that the writer used (picking out
nuances of specific words, providing definitions of specific words, relating
passage to larger themes, etc.)

Next, place passage from “The Fall of the House of Usher” on the overhead (See
Appendix). As a group, analyze the passage, using the close-reading handout as a
guide.

4. Ending
Tell students that for homework, they must pick out a passage (of comparable
length to the one just analyzed) from any of the stories read so far and write a
250- word close-reading response.

6. Evaluation

Grade close-reading assignment.

7. Differentiated Activities

Students can perform close reading of passages in small groups or with a partner.

LESSON 10

[Students will have read “A Rose For Emily” for homework.]

State Standards: 1.2.11.C: Examine the author’s explicit and implicit bias and
assumptions, beliefs about a subject, use of fact and/or opinion,
and/or the author’s argument or defense of a claim as related to
essential and non-essential information.

Objectives: Students will discern Gilman and Faulkner’s purposes in


writing the texts read. Students will compare and contrast “A Rose
for Emily” and “The Yellow Wallpaper” through the lens of
Feminist critique.

Materials/Resources:

Appendix Resources

Procedures:

1. Beginning
Have students respond to the following questions in their journals: Why does
Emily kill Homer? What Gothic conventions or themes are at work in this
story?

Prompt students to share with the group.

Tell students that today we will look at “A Rose For Emily” and “The Yellow
Wallpaper” as Feminist critiques.

2. Middle

Display Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s bio from Encyclopedia of Gothic


Literature on the overhead. Ask students: What was Gilman’s purpose in
writing “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Explain to students that women were
commonly put on the “rest cure” in Gilman’s time.

Next display and read Faulkner’s explanation of the “A Rose For Emily.” (See
Appendix)

Next break students into groups of 4. Have them create a Venn diagram to
compare and contrast Emily and the narrator from “The Yellow Wallpaper.”
Provide students with a graphic organizer to record their answers to the
following questions: What drives these character’s mad? Were they mad from
the beginning of each story? What is the author’s purpose in writing each
text? (See Appendix)

3. Ending

Ask students to reflect on overarching question: Do American Gothic authors


use Gothic conventions to thrill and terrify readers or to maker meaningful
commentary?

4. Evaluation

Collect Graphic Organizers.

5. Differentiated Activities

Students can compare and contrast two other stories for homework.

[LESSON NOT INCLUDED: Students read and discuss “A Good Man is Hard
to Find.”]

LESSON 11
State Standards: 1.1.L.D: Demonstrate comprehension before reading,
during reading, and after reading on grade level texts to
support understanding of a variety of literary works from
different cultures and literary movements.
--R11.B.1.2: Make connections between texts.
--R11.B.1.2.1: Explain, interpret, compare, describe, analyze,
and/or evaluate connections between texts.

Objectives: Students will be able to identify common themes in “The Lottery”


and Hawthorne’s short stories. They will enlarge their working definition of the
American Gothic.

Materials/Resources:

Student Journals

Procedures:

1. Beginning

Prompt students to reflect on either/both of the following statements in relation to


“The Lottery” in their journals: Society wrongfully designates scapegoats to bear
the sins of the community. The wickedness of ordinary people can be just as
horrifying as the heinous crime of a serial killer or a sadistic head of state.

Have students share their response with the group. Tell students that this theme
of scapegoating provides a through-line from Hawthorne to Jackson.

2. Middle
Prompt discussion by asking students which is more terrifying: the “secret sin”
present in Hawthorne’s stories, or the evil that is accepted as normal in “The
Lottery”? Why?

Do any other works read so far indict communal values or communal notions of
morality? What pressures do established belief/practice, put onto the individual?
(If students struggle, point them to specific works (“The Yellow Wallpaper,” “A
Rose For Emily,” Gothic elements from To Kill A Mockingbird (i.e. Boo Radley).

3. Ending

Have students begin writing a 250-word response for homework, in which


they elaborate on the class discussion. Specifically: What pressures do
established belief/practice, put onto the individual? Examples from works not
read in class? Read but not discussed?

4. Evaluation
Collect 250-word response.

5. Differentiated Activities

Have students write on another theme common to several of the works read in
class: confining spaces, recluses, controlling fathers/brothers.

LESSON 12

State Standards:
1.4.11.B: Write complex informational pieces (e.g. research
papers, literary analytical essays, evaluations)
*Create an organizing structure appropriate to purpose,
audience, and context.
* Use precise language and specific detail.
* Use relevant graphics (e.g. maps, charts, graphs, table
illustrations, photographs)• Include accurate information
from primary and secondary sources and exclude
extraneous information.

Objectives: Students will be able to outline and construct the component parts of
a comparison/contrast essay.

Materials/Resources:

Student Journals
Computer
Chalkboard/Overhead

Procedures:

1. Beginning

Have students reflect on the following questions in their journals:


How do Poe, Gilman and Faulkner use the Gothic convention of the old
ancestral home or mansion? What are some similarities in the way they
utilize this convention? Differences?

Tell students that in preparation for their final comparison/contrast essay, we


will be writing a comparison/contrast essay as a class.

2. Middle
Have students break into groups of 4 and share what they wrote in their
journals. Next have them share with the whole class. Create a list on the
board of all of the similarities/differences that students generated.
Together, create an outline of a paper on this topic, coming up with a Thesis
statement, topic sentences, and quotations from the texts that will be used.

Once outline is complete, divide students again into their groups of 4 and have
each group begin to write a part of the paper (intro, conclusion, individual
paragraphs built around topic sentences and quotations picked).

3. Ending

Bring all groups back together and begin to assemble the pieces into a single
document (using the computer and overhead, if possible).

4. Evaluation

Require each student to take notes during group work. Collect at the end of
class.

5. Differentiated Activities

Groups can be picked by teacher to create a balance of student strengths


and abilities. More structure can be provided for group work by assigning
students specific roles and responsibilities within group. For classes that
struggle with this, the whole activity could be down with the entire group.

LESSON 13

State Standard(s):
1.1.11.D: Demonstrate comprehension/understanding of a wide
variety of appropriate literary works from different cultures and
literary movements, including classic and contemporary literature.
--R11.A.1.5.1: Summarize the key details and events of a fictional text
as a whole.
--R11.A.1.6: Identify, describe, and analyze genre of text.
--R11.A.1.6.1: Identify and/or analyze the author’s intended purpose
of text.

Objectives: Students will work in groups to create a “review” of a Gothic short story.
Students will be able to summarize the main points of the story and analyze how the
author’s use of Gothic conventions contributes to the overall theme or purpose of the text.

Materials/Resources:
Student Journals
Paper/Pens
Overhead
Appendix Materials

Procedures:

1. Beginning

Read a review of “The Fall of The House of Usher”—(created by teacher)— that


summarizes the story, points out the most prominent Gothic conventions, and
explains how these conventions contribute to larger the larger theme of the story.

Tell students that they will be creating their own review like the one just listened
to. Tell students that they are encouraged to refer to the “Gothic Conventions”
handout as they begin their review.

2. Middle

Ask students to analyze the organizational structure of the review: How is the
information organized? What information is given first? Last?

Place the written text of the review on the overhead, so students can see the
information visually.

Now have students break into the groups they will be working in to make their
review. (Groups organized around stories: “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The
Minister’s Black Veil,” “The Yellow Wallpaper,” “Young Goodman Brown,”
“The Lottery,” “A Rose for Emily,” and “A Good Man is Hard to Find.”) Give
students a graphic organizer to fill out as they begin to craft their review.
(See Appendix) Tell students to begin with the summary and give them most of
the rest of class time to work on this.

3. Ending

Have student share their summaries. Have the rest of class critique what
information is not essential as well as what essential information is not present.

4. Evaluation

Students will work on this into the next class period and beyond, and each
group will present their review to the class.
In addition to having students share their summary with the group, I will
collect each student’s graphic organizer and award points for class
participation based on how much is completed.

5. Differentiated Activities

The group work will allow for students to work at different paces. Students who
write their summaries quickly can move on to filling out the other sections of the
graphic organizer. Students who work more slowly do not have to have the
summary completed, but can share the first few sentences with the group.

Additionally, students can tweak the format of assignment (i.e. present it


dramatically as if they are a character or the author of the story).

Groups will be assigned by teacher to assure an appropriate mix of ability levels


and personality types. That way, student strengths and weaknesses will be
balanced. Students can also be assigned roles within their groups (i.e. one person
writes the script, one performs, etc.)

LESSON 14

State Standards: 1.1.L.D: Demonstrate comprehension before reading,


during reading, and after reading on grade level texts to
support understanding of a variety of literary works from
different cultures and literary movements.
--R11.B.1.1: Interpret, compare, describe, analyze, and evaluate
components of fiction and literary nonfiction.

Objectives: Students will be able to distinguish and interpret important elements


of American Gothic texts by creating a visual interpretation of an image or
moment from one of the texts we have read.

Materials/Resources:

Paper
Markers

1. Beginning

Remind students that the Gothic is a highly imaginative genre that works in very
vivid images. Often these images emerge as an important symbol or metaphor for
a larger theme of the story. Sometimes they seem intended to produce an
emotional effect in the reader (shock, fear, disgust). Prompt students to reflect in
their journals: What is the most vivid image or moment from each of the Gothic
stories that we have read?

2. Middle

Next pass out paper and prompt students to fold it into four squares. Prompt
students through the next four activities, giving them 3-4 minutes to complete
each one.

1. In the top left corner, draw a picture of your image/moment. This is not about
artistic ability, just try to convey the most important features of your image.
Stick figure are o.k.!
2. In the second box, put the picture into words. Describe what is happening.
3. In the third box, explain the significance of the image or moment.
4. In the fourth box, respond to the significance of the image/moment by
creating a word collage or poem, or in any way responding to the image you
have drawn.

3. Ending

Have students share their significant images with the group.

5. Evaluation

Collect student work and grade for class participation.

6. Differentiated Activities

Students who excel at this can expand it into a larger project for extra credit.
Students could use this activity as a springboard for developing their final essay
around visual images.

LESSON 15
State Standards: 1.1.11.A: Apply appropriate strategies to analyze,
interpret, and evaluate author’s use of techniques and
elements of fiction and non-fiction for rhetorical and
aesthetic purposes.
--R11.A.1.6: Identify, describe, and analyze genre of text.

Objectives: Students will formulate their final, personal definition of American


Gothic. They will apply their understanding of the genre to reflect on the
overarching question relating to the modern Gothic.

Materials/Resources:
Student Journals
Computer
Internet Access

Rationale:

1. Beginning

Bring up working definition of Gothic on the overhead. Ask students to make


final tweaks to the list of adjectives. Now asks students answer the following
in their journals: Come up with your own definition of American Gothic
literature. Include in your definition the most prominent conventions of the
genre and authors’ purposes in using them.

2. Middle

Show students the following clips.

Thriller http (://www.youtube.com/watch?v=un3-Hb9wF9s)


Psycho Trailer (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NG3-GlvKPcg)
ScoobyDoo Opening (http://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=0_C2HJvtRDY&feature=recentfmore)

Prompt discussion by asking class: “Are these Gothic?” Why? Why not? Do
they use Gothic conventions?

Next ask students to pair up with a partner to brainstorm lists of modern works
that could be categorized as Gothic. After 5-10 minutes, have each pair present to
the group.

3. Ending

Explain to students that any genre category is subject to interpretation. In creating


our own definition of American Gothic and classifying modern works as Gothic
(or having Gothic elements), they are interpreting the specific literature we have
read, the historical context, author’s purpose and many literary concepts central to
the genre (the grotesque, the uncanny, etc.).

4. Evaluation

Collect Journals and review student definitions.

5. Differentiated Activities
Partner work could be expanded into a longer reflective essay to sum-up the unit.