Gothic Horror Complete Unit

Here is a Gothic Horror unit I use with middle schoolers, although the language in these antiquated texts is complex enough that it could be done with high school students as well.  This unit can take between 4 and 6 weeks, depending how much is done for homework.  Throughout the unit, we read excerpts form The Castle of Ontranto, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Red Room, Frankenstein, Dracula, and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

We begin by analyzing the historical context of the genre, as well as identifying common Gothic Horror motifs.  We focus heavily on identifying and interpreting uses of imagery, and using mentor sentences to write descriptively.  To hit on some grammar objectives, we also use the mentor sentences to expand simple sentences into compound and complex sentences, with a focus on punctuating simple, compound, and complex sentence  accurately.

As a summative assessment, students workshop their own creative writing piece inspired by Gothic Horror to showcase what they have learned about the motifs and conventions of the genre.

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*Note: Many of these 18th and 19th century texts have copious sophisticated vocabulary, so if you plan to have students reading these texts independently, try this handout for reading for vocabulary.