This is a coursework task for your English Language iGCSE.
Assignment 2: descriptive and/or narrative.
EITHER an additional chapter for Jekyll and Hyde OR the opening of your own
Gothic short story.
500 – 800 words.
Table A: Band descriptions for writing (Assignments 1–3) (40 marks)
Band 1 (36–40): Confident and stylistic completion of challenging tasks throughout the portfolio
1. W1: Candidates describe and reflect effectively upon experience, give detail and analyse thoughtfully what is
felt and imagined. Arguments are cogent and developed in mature, persuasive thought.
2. W2: Facts, ideas and opinions are ordered logically, each stage in the argument or narrative carefully linked
to the next. Paragraphing is a strength, and candidates are confident in experimenting where appropriate in
the structure of expressive writing.
3. W3: Candidates write with assurance, using a wide range of effective vocabulary.
4. W4: Candidates vary their style with assurance to suit audience and context in all three assignments. They
use well-constructed sentences.
5. W5: Candidates write accurately. They use punctuation and grammatical structures to define shades of
meaning. They spell simple, complex and technical words with precision.
Look at these extracts from Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles. The Sherlock Holmes stories were
obviously detective fiction but they also contained elements of the Gothic…
1. Dr Watson and Baskerville have arrived on Dartmoor and have learned of the escaped prisoner.
“Our wagonette had topped a rise and in front of us rose the huge expanse of the moor,
mottled with gnarled and craggy cairns and tors. A cold wind swept down from it and set
us shivering. Somewhere there, on that desolate plain, was lurking this fiendish man,
hiding in a burrow like a wild beast, his heart full of malignancy against the whole race
which had cast him out. It needed but this to complete the grim suggestiveness of the
barren waste, the chilling wind, and the darkling sky. Even Baskerville fell silent and
pulled his overcoat more closely around him.”
2. A beautiful heroine offers a warning:
“She had a proud, finely cut face, so regular that it might have seemed impassive were it
not for the sensitive mouth and the beautiful dark, eager eyes. With her perfect figure and
elegant dress she was, indeed, a strange apparition upon a lonely moorland path.” “I
cannot explain.” She spoke in a low, eager voice, with a curious lisp in her utterance. “But
for God's sake do what I ask you. Go back and never set foot upon the moor again.”
3. A pony gets caught in the bog on Dartmoor:
Something brown was rolling and tossing among the green sedges. Then a long,
agonized, writhing neck shot upward and a dreadful cry echoed over the moor. It turned
me cold with horror, but my companion's nerves seemed to be stronger than mine “It's
gone!” said he. “The mire has him. Two in two days, and many more, perhaps, for they
get in the way of going there in the dry weather, and never know the difference until the
mire has them in its clutch. It's a bad place, the great Grimpen Mire.”
a) What elements of Gothic writing do these extracts contain?
b) What words in particular create the sense of the ‘Gothic’?
c) How do they create a sense of foreshadowing?
The Gothic Story – The Elements of the Gothic
There an enormous number of things that might appear in a Gothic Novel.
Tick off what appear in your story.
An ancient prophecy
Omens, portents, visions.
Supernatural or inexplicable events
Women in distress.
Setting in a castle.
Wind, especially howling
Doors grating on rusty hinges
Women threatened by a powerful,
impulsive, tyrannical male.
Lights in abandoned rooms
Characters trapped in a room
Ruins of buildings
Time – specific reference to noon,
midnight, twilight (the witching hours)
Illicit love or lust threatens the virtuous one
Dimly lit gloomy settings
Remote or exotic locations
Secret passages and pathways
Damsels in distress
Found books, papers or objects
Unnatural acts of nature – Blood red
moons, an unexpected covering of the
Thunder and lightning
Rain, especially blowing
Sighs, moans, howls, eerie sounds
Gusts of wind blowing out lights
Doors suddenly slamming shut
Baying of distant dogs (or wolves?)
Marvellous or mysterious creatures
Tension between true love and father's
Illicit love or lust threatens the virtuous one.
Crypts, tombs and graveyards
Dungeons and torture chambers
Ruins or isolated crumbling castles or
Enigmatic figures with supernatural powers
Dark towers, hidden rooms
Dream and nightmares
Monsters, spirits and strangers
Doubles and doppelgangers
The use of “Magic Numbers” such as 3, 7, 13
And you can add anymore that you find here.
Gothic fiction has its own distinctive style of narration, characters, settings and events. You are going to
look at some examples. The following are extracts from Gothic novels or short stories. Read each one
carefully and answer the questions on each:
1 In mortal terror of people forcing an entrance at such an hour, and in such 2 a manner as
to leave no doubt of their purpose, I would have turned to fly
3 when I first heard the noise, only that I feared by any quick motion to catch 4 their attention,
as I also ran the danger of doing by opening the door, which 5 was all but closed, and to whose
handlings I was unaccustomed. Again,
6 quick as lightning, I bethought me of the hiding-place between the locked
7 door to my husband’s dressing-room and the portiere which covered it; but 8 I gave that
up, I felt as if I could not reach it without screaming or fainting. 9
So I sank down
softly, and crept under the table, hidden, as I hoped, by the 10 great, deep, table-cover, with its
heavy fringe. I had not recovered my
11 swooning senses fully, was trying to reassure myself as to my being in a
12 place of comparative safety, for, above all things, I dreaded the betrayal of
13 fainting, and struggled hard for such courage as I might attain by deadening 14 myself to the
danger I was in by inflicting intense pain on myself. You have 15
often asked me for the
reason of that mark on my hand; it was where, in
16 my agony, I bit out a piece of flesh with my relentless teeth, thankful for
17 the pain, which helped to numb my terror. I say, I was but just concealed
18 when I heard the window lifted, and one after another stepped over the sill, 19 and stood by
me so close that I could have touched their feet. Then they 20 laughed and whispered; my
brain swam so that I could not tell the meaning 21
of their words, but I heard my
husband’s laughter among the rest – low,
22 hissing, scornful – as he kicked something heavy that they had dragged in 23 over the floor,
and which lay near me; so near, that my husband’s kick, in 24 touching it, touched me too. I
don’t know why – I can’t tell how – but
25 some feeling, and not curiosity, prompted me to put out my hand, ever so 26 softly, ever so
little, and feel in the darkness for what lay spurned beside
27 me. I stole my groping palm upon the clenched and chilly hand of a corpse!
(The Grey Woman, Elizabeth Gaskell: 1861)
Look at the first long sentence, lines 1-5. What does this long sentence tell us about the narrator’s
state of mind?
What is unusual about the narration in line 14? What does this tell us about the story?
In your own words, explain the narrator’s actions in line 13-17.
The narrator’s husband is among the intruders! How would she feel about this?
What do the intruders seem to be up to?
1 It was on a dreary night of November, that I beheld the accomplishment of
2 my toils. With an anxiety that almost amounted to agony, I collected the
3 instruments of life around me, that I might infuse a spark of being into the
lifeless thing that lay at my feet. It was already one in the morning; the rain
pattered dismally against the panes, and my candle was nearly burnt out,
when, by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow
7 eye of the creature open; it breathed hard, and a convulsive motion
8 agitated its limbs.
9 How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how
10 delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had
11 endeavoured to form? His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his 12 features as
beautiful. Beautiful! – Great God! His yellow skin scarcely
13 covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a
14 lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of pearly whiteness; but these
15 luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that 16 seemed almost
of the same colour as the dun-white sockets in which they 17
were set, his shrivelled
complexion and straight black lips.
(Frankenstein, Mary Shelley: 1817
How does the writer create a gloomy and eerie setting in lines 1-8?
Look carefully at the words used to describe Frankenstein’s creation. What words does Shelley use
to show that it is far from being human?
Why does Frankenstein refer to this event as a “catastrophe”?
In your own words, explain what is frightening or unnatural about the creature’s appearance.
The intense horror of nightmare came over me; I tried to draw back my arm, but, the hand clung to it, and a most melancholy
“Let me in – let me in!”
“Who are you?” I asked, struggling, meanwhile, to disengage myself.
“Catherine Linton,” it replied, shiveringly (why did I think of Linton? I had read Earnshaw twenty times for Linton).
“I’m come home, I’d lost my way on the moor!”
As it spoke, I discerned, obscurely, a child’s face looking through the window – Terror made me cruel; and, finding it
useless to attempt shaking the creature off, I pulled its wrist on to the broken pane, and rubbed it to and fro till the blood ran
down and soaked the bed-clothes: still it wailed, “Let me in!” and maintained its tenacious grip, almost maddening me with fear.
(Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte:1847)
What is particularly shocking about the narrator’s actions in this passage?
We discover that this ‘child’ is in fact a dream or a ghost. Why do you suppose it appeared to the
Questions on all three passages:
What style of narration do all three extracts have in common?
A feeling of fear is present in all three extracts. Explain what has caused the fear in each case. What
do these things have in common?
What other feelings or themes are present in these extracts?
The Structure and Conventions of a Short Story
A ‘short story’ is not simply ‘a piece of imaginative writing that is short’ – it is a genre of writing that has its
own form and its own conventions.
They cover a short period of time, or deal with a single event in their plot.
There are only one or two main characters.
The action takes place in one setting or very few settings.
This means that, when you are writing a short story, you are restricted in some ways. This means that you
may have to convey a lot of information in just a word or a phrase. Writing short stories takes quite a bit of
Classic short story plot
At the beginning, a context or situation is established.
In the middle a main character has to deal with problems, dangers, challenges or opportunities.
By the end, the character has either successfully overcome these problems or has at least
learned something useful about him/herself (or about life) while trying.
So: how well do Gothic short stories fit this mould?
A Little Task
Look at Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Tell-Tale Heart.’ Using the heading Conventions, explain in what way the
story fits with short story conventions. If there is something about the story that doesn’t fit you should
mention this too.
Then, using the heading Plot Structure, explain in what way the story fits with the classic short story plot. If
there is something about the story that doesn’t fit you should mention this too.
Elements of the Gothic in ‘Jekyll & Hyde’
For those of you choosing the additional chapter option you need to try and get a feel for Stevenson’s style. Read
these extracts that include elements of Gothic writing and consider what you can add to the story.
Chapter 2 – Utterson’s nightmare
Six o’clock stuck on the bells of the church that was so conveniently near to Mr. Utterson’s dwelling, and
still he was digging at the problem. Hitherto it had touched him on the intellectual side alone; but now his
imagination also was engaged, or rather enslaved; and as he lay and tossed in the gross darkness of the
night and the curtained room, Mr. Enfield’s tale went by before his mind in a scroll of lighted pictures. He
would be aware of the great field of lamps of a nocturnal city; then of the figure of a man walking swiftly;
then of a child running from the doctor’s; and then these met, and that human juggernaut trod the child
down and passed on regardless of her screams. Or else he would see a room in a rich house, where his
friend lay asleep, dreaming and smiling at his dreams; and then the door of that room would be opened,
the curtains of the bed plucked apart, the sleeper recalled, and lo! there would stand by his side a figure to
whom power was given, and even at that dead hour, he must rise and do its bidding. The figure in these
two phases haunted the lawyer all night; and if at any time he dozed over, it was but to see it glide more
stealthily through sleeping houses, or move the more swiftly and still the more swiftly, even to dizziness,
through wider labyrinths of lamplighted city, and at every street corner crush a child and leave her
screaming. And still the figure had no face by which he might know it; even in his dreams, it had no face, or
one that baffled him and melted before his eyes; and thus it was that there sprang up and grew apace in
the lawyer .s mind a singularly strong, almost an inordinate, curiosity to behold the features of the real Mr.
Hyde. If he could but once set eyes on him, he thought the mystery would lighten and perhaps roll
altogether away, as was the habit of mysterious things when well examined. He might see a reason for his
friend.s strange preference or bondage (call it which you please) and even for the startling clause of the
will. At least it would be a face worth seeing: the face of a man who was without bowels of mercy: a face
which had but to show itself to raise up, in
the mind of the unimpressionable Enfield, a spirit of enduring hatred.
From that time forward, Mr. Utterson began to haunt the door in the by-street of shops. In the morning
before office hours, at noon when business was plenty, and time scarce, at night under the face of the
fogged city moon, by all lights and at all hours of solitude or concourse, the lawyer was to be found on his
“If he be Mr. Hyde, he had thought, .I shall be Mr. Seek.”
And at last his patience was rewarded. It was a fine dry night; frost in the air; the streets as clean as a
ballroom floor; the lamps, unshaken by any wind, drawing a regular pattern of light and shadow. By ten
o’clock, when the shops were closed the by-street was very solitary and, in spite of the low growl of
London from all round, very silent. Small sounds carried far; domestic sounds out of the houses were
clearly audible on either side of the roadway; and the rumour of the approach of any passenger preceded
him by a long time. Mr. Utterson had been some minutes at his post, when he was aware of an odd light
footstep drawing near. In the course of his nightly patrols, he had long grown accustomed to the quaint
effect with which the footfalls of a single person, while he is still a great way off, suddenly spring out
distinct from the vast hum and clatter of the city. Yet his attention had never before been so sharply and
decisively arrested; and it was with a strong, superstitious prevision of success that he withdrew into the
entry of the court.
Chapter 4 – ‘the first fog’
It was by this time about nine in the morning, and the first fog of the season. A great chocolate-coloured
pall lowered over heaven, but the wind was continually charging and routing these embattled vapours;
so that as the cab crawled from street to street, Mr. Utterson beheld a marvelous number of degrees and
hues of twilight; for here it would be dark like the back-end of evening; and there would be a glow of a
rich, lurid brown, like the light of some strange conflagration; and here, for a moment, the fog would be
quite broken up, and a haggard shaft of daylight would glance in between the swirling wreaths. The dismal
quarter of Soho seen under these changing glimpses, with its muddy ways, and slatternly passengers, and
its lamps, which had never been extinguished or had been kindled afresh to combat this mournful
reinvasion of darkness, seemed, in the lawyers eyes, like a district of some city in a nightmare. The
thoughts of his mind, besides, were of the gloomiest dye; and when he glanced at the companion
of his drive, he was conscious of some touch of that terror of the law and the law’s officers, which may at
times assail the most honest.
As the cab drew up before the address indicated, the fog lifted a little and showed him a dingy
street, a gin palace, a low French eating house, a shop for the retail of penny numbers and twopenny
salads, many ragged children huddled in the doorways, and many women of many different nationalities
passing out, key in hand, to have a morning glass; and the next moment the fog settled down again upon
that part, as brown as umber, and cut him off from his blackguardly surroundings. This was the home of
Henry Jekyll’s favourite; of a man who was heir to a quarter of a million sterling.
Chapter 5 – ‘Dr Jekyll’s cabinet’
The doctor had bought the house from the heirs of a celebrated surgeon; and his own tastes being rather
chemical than anatomical, had changed the destination of the block at the bottom of the garden. It was
the first time that the lawyer had been received in that part of his friend’s quarters; and he eyed the dingy,
windowless structure with curiosity, and gazed round with a distasteful sense of strangeness as he crossed
the theatre, once crowded with eager students and now lying gaunt and silent, the tables laden with
chemical apparatus, the floor strewn with crates and littered with packing straw, and the light falling dimly
through the foggy cupola. At the further end, a flight of stairs mounted to a door covered with red baize;
and through this, Mr. Utterson was at last received into the doctor’s cabinet. It was a large room fitted
round with glass presses, furnished, among other things, with a cheval-glass and a business table, and
looking out upon the court by three dusty windows barred with iron. The fire burned in the grate; a lamp
was set lighted on the chimney shelf, for even in the houses the fog began to lie thickly; and there, close up
to the warmth, sat Dr. Jekyll, looking deathly sick. He did not rise to meet his visitor, but held out a cold
hand and bade him welcome in a changed voice.
Chapter 5 – Utterson’s office
Presently after, he sat on one side of his own hearth, with Mr. Guest, his head clerk, upon the other, and
midway between, at a nicely calculated distance from the fire, a bottle of a particular old wine that had
long dwelt unsunned in the foundations of his house. The fog still slept on the wing above the drowned
city, where the lamps glimmered like carbuncles; and through the muffle and smother of these fallen
clouds, the procession of the town’s life was still rolling in through the great arteries with a sound as of a
mighty wind. But the room was gay with firelight. In the bottle the acids were long ago resolved; the
imperial dye had softened with time, as the colour grows richer in stained windows; and the glow of hot
autumn afternoons on hillside vineyards, was ready to be set free and to disperse the fogs of London.
Insensibly the lawyer melted. There was no man from whom he kept fewer secrets than Mr. Guest; and he
was not always sure that he kept as many as he meant. Guest had often been on business to the doctor’s;
he knew Poole; he could scarce have failed to hear of Mr. Hyde’s familiarity about the house; he might
draw conclusions: was it not as well, then, that he should see a letter which put that mystery to right? and
above all since Guest, being a great student and critic of handwriting, would consider the step natural and
obliging? The clerk, besides, was a man of counsel; he could scarce read so strange a document without
dropping a remark; and by that remark Mr. Utterson might shape his future course.
Chapter 8 – ‘chase across London’
It was a wild, cold, seasonable night of March, with a pale moon, lying on her back as though the wind had
tilted her, and flying wrack of the most diaphanous and lawny texture. The wind made talking difficult, and
flecked the blood into the face. It seemed to have swept the streets unusually bare of passengers, besides;
for Mr. Utterson thought he had never seen that part of London so deserted. He could have wished it
otherwise; never in his life had he been conscious of so sharp a wish to see and touch his fellow-creatures;
for struggle as he might, there was borne in upon his mind a crushing anticipation of calamity. The square,
when they got there, was full of wind and dust, and the thin trees in the garden were lashing themselves
along the railing. Poole, who had kept all the way a pace or two ahead, now pulled up in the middle of the
pavement, and in spite of the biting weather, took off his hat and mopped his brow with a red pocket
handkerchief. But for all the hurry of his coming, these were not the dews of exertion that he wiped away,
but the moisture of some strangling anguish; for his face was white and his voice, when he spoke, harsh
Chapter 9 – ‘the transformation’
He put the glass to his lips and drank at one gulp. A cry followed; he reeled, staggered, clutched at the
table and held on, staring with injected eyes, gasping with open mouth; and as I looked there came, I
thought, a change he seemed to swell his face became suddenly black and the features seemed to melt
and alter and the next moment, I had sprung to my feet and leaped back against the wall, my arms raised
to shield me from that prodigy, my mind submerged in terror.
“O God!” I screamed, and “O God!” again and again; for there before my eyes pale and shaken, and half
fainting, and groping before him with his hands, like a man restored from death there stood Henry
What he told me in the next hour, I cannot bring my mind to set on paper. I saw what I saw, I heard what I
heard, and my soul sickened at it; and yet now when that sight has faded from my eyes, I ask myself if I
believe it, and I cannot answer. My life is shaken to its roots; sleep has left me; the deadliest terror sits by
me at all hours of the day and night; and I feel that my days are numbered, and that I must die; and yet I
shall die incredulous. As for the moral turpitude that man unveiled to me, even with tears of penitence, I
cannot, even in memory, dwell on it without a start of horror. I will say but one thing, Utterson, and that (if
you can bring your mind to credit it) will be more than enough. The creature who crept into my house that
night was, on Jekyll’s own confession, known by the name of Hyde and hunted for in every corner of the
land as the murderer of Carew.