High School

Gothic Literature

.5 Credits
18 weeks
student sitting at desk while listening online lesson on his digital tablet and writing homework in a notebook.

Gothic Literature: Monster Stories

It was a dark and stormy night, and the vampires, ghouls, and undead were on the prowl… Gothic Literature is riddled with the spooky, but did you know that this genre is so much more than a scary form of entertainment? In Gothic Literature, you’ll learn about how some of the world’s greatest authors from the 19th century through today used Gothic elements to tackle issues that needed serious attention: the class system, gender norms, racism, social injustice, and more! Grab your monster gear and explore why Gothic literature has retained its appeal even with today’s audiences.

Major Topics and Concepts

Unit 1 Gothica: When Gruesome is Delicious

  • Recognize the historical period in which Gothic literature first flourished
  • Explore common elements and themes that define the Gothic style of writing
  • Differentiate between horror and terror as used in Gothic literature
  • Examine which literary devices Gothic writers employ to create mood
  • Analyze elements of Gothic literature using a sample poem and short story

Unit 2: With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

  • Differentiate between how genetic and environmental factors impact human character development
  • Describe the ways in which the Greek myth “Prometheus” challenges faith-based beliefs about the creation of humans
  • Explore how Gothic writer Mary Shelley examines our attraction to the superficial beauty in others
  • Recognize current and competing interpretations of the story of Frankenstein’s monster

Unit 3: To Thine Own Self Be True

  • Determine how the Christian church’s teaching during the Victorian Age created unattainable standards for members of society
  • Assess how writers expanded on traditional Gothic settings to increase the sense of terror their readers experience
  • Analyze human beings’ internal conflict between good and evil, or man’s dual nature
  • Discuss how Sigmund Freud’s theories on human behavior provide a foundation for modern storytellers of terror

Unit 4: Gothic Themes and Bram Stoker’s Dracula

  • Discuss how Gothic writers influenced attitudes about gender roles and gender stereotypes
  • Examine the ways in which Bram Stoker’s Dracula creates a clash between traditional and modern values
  • Identify examples in modern vampiric literature of the conflict between religion and science
  • Explore the popularity of the vampire genre in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries

Unit 5: Gothic Short Stories

  • Explain how Gothic short stories differ from Gothic novels and novellas
  • Identify events from Edgar Allan Poe’s life that influenced his short stories
  • Analyze “The Tell-Tale Heart” and Poe’s exploration of personal guilt
  • Differentiate between American Southern Gothic literature and traditional Victorian era Gothic literature

Unit 6: Gothic Poetry: Love from Beyond the Grave

  • Develop critical reading skills used to analyze Gothic poetry
  • Recognize the roots of Gothic poetry in Gottfried Bürger’s “Lenore” and Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”
  • Examine the poetry of Robert Browning and Christina Rossetti as they relate to other forms of Victorian Gothic literature
  • Explore the works of American Gothic poets Edgar Allan Poe and Emily Dickinson

Unit 7: A New Identity for the Gothic Genre

  • Explain how Gothic writers use their stories to challenge social justice issues related to discrimination and class conflict
  • Analyze the works of African American women writers who use the Gothic genre to explore racial injustice in society
  • Apply the Gothic style of writing to mystery and detective stories
  • Connect the Gothic genre to novels and films that are categorized as psychological thrillers

Unit 8: A New Era of Gothic Fiction

  • Identify elements of Gothic works that occur through the past two centuries
  • Compare and contrast nineteenth and twenty-first century vampires in Gothic literature
  • Analyze the way in which racism is depicted in twenty-first century Gothic fiction
  • Examine the use of zombies and apocalyptic settings as symbols of societal distress





Foundations of Gothic Literature

Students will demonstrate an understanding of the foundations of Gothic literature by summarizing the foundation of Gothic literature, describing Gothic themes, and explaining literary devices.

Ideas about Humanity in Gothic Literature

Students will demonstrate an understanding of ideas about humanity in Gothic literature by explaining nature versus nurture, explaining beliefs about the creation of humans, and summarizing the influence of these ideas on Gothic literature.

Duality of Man

Students will demonstrate an understanding of how Gothic literature addresses the duality of man by explaining Victorian-era standards, describing Gothic settings, and summarizing philosophies of human behavior.

Gender Roles in Gothic Literature

Students will demonstrate an understanding of gender roles in Gothic literature by explaining character norms, comparing societal values, and explaining religious versus scientific understanding in the nineteenth century.

Gothic Short Stories

Students will demonstrate an understanding of Gothic short stories by describing Gothic ghost stories, summarizing connections between Gothic short stories and a writer’s life, and explaining the types of Gothic literature.

Gothic Poetry

Students will demonstrate an understanding of Gothic poetry by summarizing the roots of Gothic poetry, explaining the Gothic forms of writing, and describing Gothic poets.

New Identity of Gothic Literature

Students will demonstrate an understanding of the new identity of Gothic literature by describing twentieth-century Gothic writers, explaining twentieth-century Gothic mysteries, and summarizing Gothic films.

New Gothic

Students will demonstrate an understanding of the new Gothic by describing the elements of twenty-first-century Gothic fiction, comparing vampire norms, and explaining apocalyptic settings.