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Year 8 Gothic Horror
Transcript of Year 8 Gothic Horror
What do you know about them?
How do they make you feel?
Where might these be from?
What is Gothic Horror?
In pairs, make a list of ten basic features of gothic horror (films and stories)
e.g. scary old houses, moonlight, vampires.
Analysing Gothic Horror Film Posters
I was not alone. The room was the same, unchanged in any way since I came into it. I could see along the floor, in the brilliant moonlight, my own footsteps marked where I had disturbed the long accumulation of dust. In the moonlight opposite me were three young women, ladies by their dress and manner. I thought at the time that I must be dreaming when I saw them, they threw no shadow on the floor. They came close to me, and looked at me for some time, and then whispered together.
Two were dark, and had high aquiline noses, like the Count, and great dark, piercing eyes, that seemed to be almost red when contrasted with the pale yellow moon. The other was fair, as fair as can be, with great masses of golden hair and eyes like pale sapphires. I seemed somehow to know her face, and to know it in connection with some dreamy fear, but I could not recollect at the moment how or where. All three had brilliant white teeth that shone like pearls against the ruby of their voluptuous lips. There was something about them that made me uneasy, some longing and at the same time some deadly fear. I felt in my heart a wicked, burning desire that they would kiss me with those red lips.
It is not good to note this down, lest some day it should meet Mina's eyes and cause her pain, but it is the truth. They whispered together, and then they all three laughed, such a silvery, musical laugh, but as hard as though the sound never could have come through the softness of human lips. It was like the intolerable, tingling sweetness of waterglasses when played on by a cunning hand.
Dark, black colour used as it represents fear/danger. Some people are afraid of the darkness/bad things happen in the dark.
Vampire-like creature is a typical
character/villain in gothic horror.
This vampire seems fairly stereotypical - big, crooked nose, sharp teeth/fangs, widow's peak hairline.
The colour red is reminiscent of blood and gore; also anger and danger.
The title is fitting because gothic horror
normally happens in darkness/at night. The
fact that it suggests that the people in the film
will be stuck in darkness for 30 days would also
create tension because we can't always see what
else is lurking in the darkness.
This appears to be blood spatter. Blood is a common feature of gothic horror, especially where vampires are involved. They drain the blood from their victims to survive.
Edgy, scratchy font hints at violence and terror. The zero looks like an eye, which would unnerve the audience/reader because it is almost like someone, or something, has been watching them from the darkness.
The vampire looks as if he has been killed.
This would give the reader/audience hope
evil can be overcome. This is sometimes, but not always, the case in gothic horror.
For each of the Gothic Horror Film Posters on your sheet, see how many key features of the genre you can identify and explain.
An Introduction to Gothic Horror
Aims: To identify some typical features of gothic horror
To understand how specific language is used for effect
As I read, I would like you to think about the following, and annotate your extracts:
- Can you identify the key features of gothic horror?
Then, answer the following questions in your exercise books:
- What sort of setting is created?
- What is the reader made to feel?
- How does the writer achieve this?
Ext. What words can you think of that would describe the mood of this setting?
Using PEE (Point, Evidence, Explanation)
When you have finished annotating, answer this question on the sheet, in full sentences, using PEE.
1. Make a point about the writer's use of language. E.g Stoker uses...
2. Find some evidence from the text to support your point.
3. Explain how the language used in your piece of evidence makes the reader feel (don't forget to read between the lines!)
How does Bram Stoker use language devices to make the reader feel uneasy in this extract?
Bram Stoker uses many language features to make the reader feel uneasy, one of which is repetition. He repeats the word 'moonlight' three times, in as many sentences,when describing the setting. The repetition of the word makes it stick in your mind. This makes the reader feel a sense of foreboding or dread because, in gothic horror, moonlight is associated with darkness and shadows. This makes us concerned that the beautiful women are not as innocent as they first appear to be.
Why is this PEE example a Level 6?
Level 5 - Most students can explain some implied meanings, spot and briefly explain various features of writer's word choices, and give some explanation of the overall effect on the reader.
Level 6 - Some students can recognise and comment on implied meanings and how textual details interact, explain - with apt terminology - how language is used, clearly identify the effect on the reader and explain how this effect is achieved.
Level 4 - All students can point out some aspects of content, characters or situations, point out some basic features of a writer's choice of language and comment simply on the overall effect on the reader.
Have a good look at your PEE paragraphs. How do you think you did? Give yourselves a level and a target for improvement. Use your green pens to do this.
Make sure you refer to gothic features in your answer
THE FIGURE IN THE GRAVEYARD
To understand why writers choose specific words for effect
To practice choosing words carefully for a desired effect
To rewrite a short text to create an effective atmosphere.
What is the effect on the reader?
Why is this so important, particularly in Gothic Horror?
Reading the Extracts
Some of you will be given one extract, and some of you will have the other. As you read/after you have read:
Use your table to note down as many effective words as you can find
See if you can explain the effect of each of the words you have selected
In pairs, choose three words or phrases from the extract that you found most effective.
Write three PEE paragraphs, explaining the writer's choices, and whether or not you believe they had the 'desired effect' on the reader.
As a writer, you need to keep WAF2/7 in your mind all the time. The language choices you make are extremely powerful. If you want your reader to feel tense, anxious, frightened or uneasy, then you must make sure you are choosing the most effective word choices (particularly verbs and adjectives).
How do I make my writing suitable for a Gothic horror text?
It was dark outside the house. It was cold and I breathed heavily. Trees swayed in the strong wind. There was no one around and I felt a bit anxious. There was a strange noise and something moved in the shadows. My heart skipped a beat. I was on edge; scared of what awaited me inside the old house. Slowly, I walked towards the door and twisted the handle...
The phrase 'extreme bleakness' is really effective because it describes the spooky atmosphere of the extract and makes the reader feel that nothing good could happen here...
They have been able to establish and sustain the main purpose of my extract (to make the reader feel uneasy). They have chosen words for particular effect, though they may not always use them correctly - Level 5
They have used, and often varied, the features of the chosen form to suit purpose and reader. Most of the words they have chosen have been carefully selected, so that they are right for the desired effect, purpose and audience/reader - Level 6
They clearly match their style and form to purpose and reader. They consistently choose words that are just right for the reader and successful in creating the desired effect - Level 7
A Recipe for Gothic Horror
Aim:To explore and comment on how writers create atmosphere and effective settings
Discuss - When have you experienced tension?
Waiting for test results
Having an argument
Watching a football match
What causes tension?
With your partner, decide on some key factors that contribute to feelings of tension and, come up with your own definition for tension.
Background - An ordinary young woman has just married Maxim de Winter, a wealthy aristocrat. He is driving her, for the first time, to his family home, a famous country mansion called Manderley. The new Mrs de Winter is very nervous about her arrival in her new home.
As we read, try to spot some of the ways in which the writer chooses words and styles of sentence to create an uncomfortable or ominous setting/atmosphere
THINK, PAIR, SHARE
Pair up with the person opposite you and share your ideas with them. Add any new ideas to your spider diagram in a different colour
Still in that pair, share your ideas with the rest of your table, making sure that you listen carefully to each other, and record any new ideas in another different colour.
You have two minutes to write down, in a spider diagram, your immediate thoughts about how the writer chooses words and styles of sentence to create a setting/atmosphere that sets the scene for terrible things to happen.
How is atmosphere created?
Make sure you refer to the text in your answer
Long, 'breathless' sentences
First person narration
Making the reader wait
Description of feelings
Dark, or sinister, comparisons
'The gates had shut to with a crash behind us, the dusty high-road was out of sight...'
In this section of the text there is a sense of isolation as the main road disappears. It is as if she has turned off into the 'unknown.'
Your current tables are your 'Home' groups.
When I give the signal, you will move to the table that corresponds with the number you have been given.
You will have 15-20 minutes at the table.
Each table will have one atmosphere/setting-creating technique.
Using the sheet provided, you must re-read the extract, note down any examples of where your technique has been used, and how it affects the reader.
When I say 'home', you must return to your original table and feedback to your group. The rest of your group is relying on you to provide them with information that they do not have, so make sure your notes are detailed.
- To recap the typical features of gothic horror
- To understand how specific language is used for effect
Analysing a Gothic Text
Researching Gothic Horror
- To explore avenues of research, and formulate questions
Over the next few lessons you will be focusing on research skills.
What do you know?
What do you want to know?
Frankenstein was written in 1818 by Mary Shelley. It is a story about a young man who becomes obsessed with Science, and decides to create a grotesque monster as part of an experiment.
Now you have heard the extract, what do you want to find out?
Do you have questions...
...about the author?
...for the author?
...about the cultural context of the novel?
In small groups, see if you can come up with some key questions and sub questions, and fill in your sheet. For example:
KEY - How did people feel about science in 1818?
SUB 1 - What science did they have in 1818?
2 - Where did Mary Shelley get the idea of a person creating a life form?
3 - Were people worried about scientific discoveries?
What words would you use to describe this image?
- To understand how a writer designs sentences for deliberate effect
RAF 5/WAF 5
What is the difference between simple, compound and complex sentences?
Uses lots of commas or semicolons to separate detailed information
Often doesn't use connectives
Often used to build suspense
Used to build pace
Used to create tension
Often used to build description
Shows one idea
Combines two ideas, using a conjunction
It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! yes, it was this! He had the eye of a vulture --a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees --very gradually --I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever.
- Can you identify some of the narrator's feelings?
- How are a variety of sentences used to help express these feelings?
What influences us to form judgements about others?
something that can be implied -
'I know you are looking at me with a puzzled expression.'
something that is a proven fact -
' I can infer that you don't understand what I am talking about.
What do we know about him?
What can be inferred?
His skin was, as always, smooth, hard, and very cold. He gave my fingers a gentle squeeze. I looked into his liquid topaz eyes, and my heart gave a not-quite-so-gentle squeeze of its own. Hearing the stutter in my heartbeats, he smiled again.
What is TENSION?
How do writers create tension?
How does it make you feel?
Where do you feel tension?
1. the state of being stretched tight.
"the parachute keeps the cable under tension as it drops"
synonyms: tightness, tautness, tenseness, rigidity; More
pull, traction, stress, strain, straining, stretching
2. mental or emotional strain.
"a mind which is affected by stress or tension cannot think as clearly"
synonyms: mental/emotional strain, stress, anxiety, anxiousness, pressure; worry, apprehensiveness, apprehension, agitation, nerves, nervousness, jumpiness, edginess, restlessness; suspense, uncertainty, anticipation, excitement
Tension is quite a physical thing...
Use your template of the Gothic character to identify and explain where, and why you might feel tension. What are the effects?
If what we have discussed is true, and that tension can have very physical and mental effects, then how are writers able to create these effects from the pages of a book/story?
Cause and Effect
Tightening of muscles
Increased heart rate
1. In the table provided, under the column 'Character', identify from the choices above, and record, the main feelings/effects the narrator experiences throughout the story
2. Then identify and record the feelings/effects experienced by the reader.
3. Are there any other examples that you can identify that are not listed above?
Mental and emotional tension manifests in the body in different ways. Warning signs often appear in a tightening of the muscles in the jaw, neck, shoulders and the diaphragm. The body is unconsciously trying to create a body armour to protect one from the impact of daily stress. This physical discomfort can lead to negative emotions and creates a vicious cycle that repeats itself if intervention does not occur.
Creating Tension in Gothic Horror
Aim: To identify and explore tension, and how writers create it
she followed Valentina around the flat, turning lights on and off
Sometimes Elspeth followed her, and sometimes she let her escape.
Elspeth illuminated the lightbulbs in the wall sconces
cast a shadow
Most of her knowledge of the hard sciences came from quiz shows and crossword puzzles
She walked over the piano keys, stomping as hard as she could in her yellow Doc Martens
Valentina imagined a vaporous slimy dead thing climbing over the cemetery wall
Valentina looked around the room, which was bright with morning sun
Her Fearful Symmetry
- To explore other, less typical, types of Gothic Horror
- To investigate the ways in which writers present/create impressions about their characters
What sort of a ghost is Elspeth?
What are your expectations of ghostly characters in Gothic stories?
Impressions of Elspeth
The impression the reader is given of Elspeth is that she is...
I know this because...
This suggests that...
Audrey Niffenegger gives the reader the impression that Elspeth is a fairly stereotypical ghost because she makes things 'float' and can fly and pass through walls.' However, she does not seem to be malicious or evil as she states 'she had been giving serious thought to haunting', suggesting that she is not there to cause harm to others unnescessarily. It also shows that she is intelligent, rational and almost still like her former human self.
What sensory adjectives can you come up with to describe this image to make the setting ominous?
Is this passage effective?
Rank order the quotations below from the most,
to least likely to appear in a gothic story
Drama - Role Play
Elspeth is watching Valentina and Julia eat dinner...
What might she do to try and make the girls feel her presence?How might she behave?
1. Read through the story again.
Stop at each paragraph, and decide how tense the story is for the reader, at that point.
Plot your ideas on your tension graph.
2. Look at the paragraphs that are very tense.
How does Poe create tension here? What methods does he use?