File - Mrs. Bates

Elements of Gothic Literature
Background on Edgar Allen Poe
Comprehension of “The Masque of the Red
Death” and “The Raven”
Literary Elements: Allegory, Archetypes,
Allusion, Symbolism, Unreliable Narrator
Connecting historical plagues and current
events with the “Red Death”
Summary, Making Connections, Note-Taking
What makes a work Gothic is a combination of at least some of
these elements:
 a castle, ruined or intact, haunted or not;
 ruined buildings which are sinister or which arouse a pleasing
 dungeons, underground passages, crypts, and catacombs which,
in modern houses, become spooky basements or attics;
labyrinths, dark corridors, and winding stairs,
shadows, a beam of moonlight in the blackness, a flickering
candle, or the only source of light failing (a candle blown out or
an electric failure),
extreme landscapes, like rugged mountains, thick forests, or icy
wastes, and extreme weather,
omens and ancestral curses,
magic, supernatural manifestations, or the
suggestion of the supernatural,
a passion-driven, willful villain-hero or villain,
a curious heroine with a tendency to faint and a
need to be rescued–frequently,
a hero whose true identity is revealed by the
end of the novel,
horrifying (or terrifying) events or the threat of
such happenings.
Roslin, Midlothian, Scotland
Built in 1456
“For some of us--and I include myself, the
prospect of safely experiencing dread or horror
is thrilling and enjoyable.” Lilia Melani
"I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity."
— Edgar Allan Poe
19th Century
Edgar Allan Poe
Biological Parents: The
– David—drank
– Elizabeth—deserted
by husband and died
at young age
– Edgar was left an
Adopted Parents: The
– John—became Edgar’s
guardian and provided for
his education, but never
supported his decisions
– Francis—adored Edgar, but
never legally adopted him
– Edgar took Allan as his
middle name, wanted to feel
like he belonged
Most known for his Gothic
 Gothic-a genre of
literature that combines
elements of both horror
and romance.
Nicknamed “The Father of
the Detective Story”
Most respected for his
career as an essayist
and editor of the
Southern Literary
Most prestigious
poem—”The Raven”
 Other detective stories
 “The Purloined
 “The Fall of the
House of Usher”
 “The Cask of
 “The Tell-Tale Heart”
Lived with his Aunt, Maria
Clemm, during times of
financial hardship
Fell in love and married
Clemm’s daughter, Virginia,
when she was 13
Virginia was Poe’s cousin
Many people close to Poe
 Mrs. Poe-tuberculosis
 Mrs. Allan-tuberculosis
 Virginia-tuberculosis
Much of his life was lived
in poverty. He was never
able to provide for his wife.
Found half-dead in an
alley in Baltimore.
 Died 4 days later in a
 Cause of death was
unknown, but could be
attributed to alcoholism,
drugs, or other illness.
Poe always wore black—
reinforcing the Gothic theme.
Always spoke in a whisper or low
tones, even in a violent discussion.
Wrote a short story about travelling
to the moon.
Began in Sicily in 1347
Carried on ships from the East
 Carriers were rats/fleas!
Trading ships carried the plague inland to Italy
Conditions in the cities was perfect for the plague
 No regulated garbage collections
 Refuse accumulated in piles in the streets
 Rushes were used instead of rugs—creating a breeding
ground for vermin
 No running water—no regular bathing
 Isolation
 “play today for we die
 Flee!
 Bodies piled up in the streets
and were removed with carts
 Mass burials in ditches
Fleas on Rats
tangible: (adjective) something you can physically
touch or mentally wrap your mind around
The east (directional not cultural)
“unknown”- (Bolt out of the blue.)
Sin: Lust
Nature: water
It can also mean: peace, tranquility, calm, stability, harmony, unity,
trust, truth, confidence, order, security, cleanliness, loyalty, cold,
technology, depression.
Combination of blue (birth) and red (life/intensity)
Beginnings of growth
A period of life when something was accomplished
Sin: Pride
Nature: animals
It can also mean: royalty, spirituality, nobility,
ceremony, mystery, transformation, wisdom,
enlightenment, cruelty, arrogance, mourning.
“spring of life”- (In the prime of his years)
Sin: Envy
Nature: plants
It can also mean: nature, environment, health, good luck,
renewal, youth, vigor, spring, envy, generosity, jealousy,
Summer/autumn of life- (beyond his prime but not
yet old)
“The harvest or fulfillment of human labor and
ambition.” - Kermit Vanderbilt
Sin: Gluttony
Nature: energy/ Balance – Sun
It can also mean: energy, balance, warmth,
enthusiasm, vibrancy, expansiveness, flamboyance,
demands for attention, often worn by the selfsacrificing hero, worn by Buddhist monk
Suggests age
 White hair
 Bones
 Decomposition- approaching death
 Nature: The Sun
 It can also mean: reverence, purity, simplicity, cleanliness, peace, humility,
precision, innocence, youth, birth, winter, snow, good, marriage (in
Western cultures), cold, death (in Eastern cultures)
Combination of purple/blue or purple/grey
Shadowy color
Represents gravity, chastity, somberness- the
dignity of old age
The west (directional not cultural)
Nature: primordial void
It can also mean: power, sophistication, formality,
elegance, wealth, mystery, fear, evil, depth, anonymity,
unhappiness, style, sadness, remorse, anger,
underground, mourning, death
Gothic literature: genre of  Allusion: a reference to
literature that combines both another body of work
horror and romance
which acts like a kind of
shorthand, bringing
additional meaning
 Unreliable narrator: narrator
and emotional impact
who may not always know
to a story, like the use
the whole truth or may
of the terms “Achilles’
purposely choose to deceive heel” (Watch for this
the reader.
as we read!)
…is an extended metaphor
that is carried throughout an
story or novel.
It features a set of
recognizable symbols whose
meanings combine to
convey a message. An
allegory always operates on
two levels of meaning: the
literal elements of the plot
(the colors of the rooms, for
example) and their symbolic
which often involve large
philosophical concepts (such
as life and death).
The underlying meaning has
moral, social, religious, or
political significance, and
characters are often
personifications of abstract
ideas as charity, greed, or
Rich and powerful people often build huge houses. They build
high walls around their estates so that they can block out the
upsetting parts of life, just like Prince Prospero.
If you were Prince Prospero and could hide from your fears,
what would you hide from? Would you hide? Or would you
face your fear?

similar documents