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Gothic Literature. Unit Notes. Gothic style is characterized by the following elements:. The story is set in bleak or remote places. In classic gothic stories, this is often a ruined castle or mansion. Characters are in a state of psychological or physical torment.

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gothic style is characterized by the following elements
Gothic style is characterized by the following elements:
  • The story is set in bleak or remote places. In classic gothic stories, this is often a ruined castle or mansion.
  • Characters are in a state of psychological or physical torment.
  • A supernatural or otherworldly element is often present. Many times this is a monster of some kind. In more modern gothic tales, the monster is a person with a monstrous characteristic.
nathaniel hawthorne
Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Was not best known as a gothic writer, but his short story, “The Minister’s Black Veil” definitely qualifies as gothic.
  • Hawthorne spent most of his career fighting against the Transcendentalist movement that gained popularity in America during the early 1800’s.
nathaniel hawthorne4
Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Hawthorne was descended from a prominent Puritan family in Salem, MA.
  • One of Hawthorne's ancestors was a judge that played a key role in the witch trials.
  • Hawthorne inherited much guilt from this, and it led him to believe that evil was the dominant force in the world.
  • A common theme in his work was the exploration of darkness in the human heart.
  • Hawthorne’s works included the famous titles, The House of Seven Gables and The Scarlet Letter.
  • His story, “The Minister’s Black Veil,” is an example of an allegory.
allegory and parable
Allegory and Parable
  • A parable is a simple, usually brief, story that teaches a moral lesson.
  • Unlike a fable, which has animal characters, a parable features humans.
  • A parable is a type of allegory, or a story with both literal and symbolic meaning.
the minister s black veil
“The Minister’s Black Veil”
  • Hawthorne subtitles it “a parable” because he wants to stress the importance of the moral message of the story.
  • The veil that Mr. Hooper vows never to remove is a symbol—something that has meaning in itself while also standing for something greater.
  • To discover the veil’s symbolic meaning, notice Hawthorne's descriptions of the veil and its effects on the characters in the story.
edgar allen poe
Edgar Allen Poe
  • One of the most beloved early American gothic writers.
  • We will view the A&E Biography of Poe’s life—pay attention; the video moves quickly through the study guide questions.
  • Poe argued that a literary work should achieve a unique or single effect.
    • He believed that every character, incident and detail should contribute to this effect.
edgar allen poe9
Edgar Allen Poe
  • A common motif in Poe’s work is the death of a beautiful woman.
  • Poe’s protagonists were always male, and they almost always struggled with some sort of mental torture or insanity.
  • Poe’s settings were within the realm of classic gothic stories; they were almost always in the ruins of a castle, mansion or abbey.
  • Look for examples of:
    • Repetition, or repeated words or phrases (they are repeated for a reason!)
    • Alliteration, or a repeated initial consonant sound
    • Rhyme, both internal and external
    • Assonance, or a repeated vowel sound among dissimilar consonant sounds

(eg. Given distance)