American Gothic The Darker Side of Life
Meaning of Gothic • ‘to do with the Goths’ – referring to the barbarian tribes of Northern Europe • Comes to signify all things medieval – architecture, art, and literature • Synonymous with uncivilized, uncultivated, and chaotic • Use of medieval, wild, or mysterious elements in literature
European Gothic • “Gothic” usually applied to a group of novels by such authors as Ann Radcliffe, Horace Walpole, and Mary Shelley.
Common Elements in Gothic Literature • Old or archaic settings – castles, manors, basements • Mysterious and gloomy settings • Horrifying events • Use of the supernatural • Stereotyped characters • Suspense
American Gothics • Heavily influenced by Puritanism • Sin and guilt are prominent • Prevalent darkness- physical and emotional • Main authors - Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allen Poe
Conventions of Gothic Literature • hero/heroine • villain • Travel • transports character from everyday life • educates reader on foreign lands • casts an aura of mystery