Questioning and analyzing the American mindset
during the middle to late nineteenth century
Definition of Gothic (adjective)
From the Germanic barbarian tribe, the Goths,
derives a common term describing something
that is crude, or uncivilized, or grotesque.
“Gothic” describes architecture, literature,
persons, and places.
General Characteristics of
A helpless victim
Gothic characters in literature
• Draw upon
• Frighten or
Stereotypical gothic characters include:
The thief with a code of honor
The lonely vampire
The mad scientist
The tormented artist
The werewolf, horrified by himself
The knowing madman
The deformed assassin
The ignored prophet
America in the context of the
The gothic writers explored the cultural anxieties and
fears of the expanding nation: the “dark side”.
These writers addressed such trends as
--technological and scientific progress
--individualism (free will, self made individual)
--slavery and abolition
The gothic writers critiqued the assumption that
America stood as the moral and guiding light of the
world (Winthrop’s “city on a hill”).
Objectives of this unit include:
• Recognizing characteristics of gothic
writers (or dark romantics);
• Understanding the fears and anxieties
explored by the writers;
• Evaluating the effectiveness of the
writers’ critical positions;
• Collecting evidence;
• Expressing our individual opinion;
Supporting that opinion in writing using
• Following a specific rubric.
Before You Go
On the quarter sheet of white
paper on your table—
1.Write your name;
2.Write two characteristics of
A particular slide catching your eye?
Clipping is a handy way to collect important slides you want to go back to later.