Katie TigheEDU 516Unit Plan12.6.10
American Gothic Literature
In this unit students will analyze American Literature through the lens of Gothic literaryconventions. They will explore the origins of the genre and the ways in which Americanauthors adapted the conventions to reflect America’s distinct culture. Throughout theunit, students will examine how cultural beliefs and anxieties are encoded in literarytexts. They will gain practice close reading texts for literary devices and techniques,genre conventions and historical context. Students will also examine Gothic worksthrough different critical lenses (historical, psychological, feminist). Throughout the unit,students will tweak a working definition of the Gothic, determining the most importantfeatures of the genre present in the works read. The unit will culminate in a final paper inwhich students compare and contrast the use of a Gothic conventions in two differentworks.
The genre of the Gothic will provide a unique and engaging inroad into important aspectsof 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 arefamiliar with.
*What American cultural concerns are reflected through Gothic conventions?*Do American Gothic works seem more concerned with thrilling and entertaining readersor critiquing society?*How are Gothic sensibilities still with us today?*How can genre be slippery?