Background In his seminal essay, “Supernatural Horror in Literature,” H.P. Lovecraft claims that “[t]he oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear.” Certainly, fear has played a powerful role in shaping the arts. As we have seen so far this semester, the literature of fear has a rich history and continues to play a significant role in modern culture, and we can trace many contemporary horror tropes, themes, and styles to the Gothic tradition. Continuing this examination will be your task for this project.
The Assignment For this essay, you will conduct individual research in order to respond to the question: How has the Gothic tradition influenced modern horror?
This is a broad question, so in order to craft an effective essay, you will have to narrow your focus and examine specific examples. Select at least one work of horror (short story, poem, novel, or film) to analyze. Through your research you will examine how the text you chose demonstrates the way contemporary horror responds to, evolves, or challenges the Gothic tradition and/or specific Gothic texts.
Is We Have Always Lived in the Castle a haunted house story? What does it mean for a house to be haunted, and how does Shirley Jackson build on or challenge the Gothic tradition in this novel? Remember, you may also find other primary texts on your own, and you may also make comparisons between modern texts and classic Gothic texts (either that we have read or that you find on your own). Some places to look for other texts that you can read for free include:
Nightmare Magazine (Links to an external site.) (for contemporary short horror fiction) Kanopy (for films, accessed through the library databases; first, create your individual account) Project Gutenberg (Links to an external site.) (for classic Gothic short stories, poetry, and novels in the public domain) Professor Parypinski (for personalized reading recommendations) The Research This essay will require substantial research in order to create an informed argument about your chosen text(s) that demonstrates awareness of what other scholars have said about your topic. You must include cited information (quotation and paraphrase) from at least 6 sources (including the primary text(s) you are analyzing). Your research will involve both primary and secondary sources.
Primary Sources include original literary texts and works of art (novels, short stories, poetry, films, etc.), as well as any historical documents from the time period in which the work was created (letters, diary entries, news articles, etc.). Secondary Sources include scholarly books and articles about the literary work, historical information written after the time period in question, and biographies. Assignment Requirements Your essay should be at least 8 full double-spaced pages with 1” side margins, 1” header and footer margins, Times New Roman, 12 pt font. Your introduction should include a thesis that gives your readers a main claim or guiding idea specific to your focus, which will be developed throughout. Your essay must include direction quotations from your chosen contemporary text and should include summary where relevant. It must also include cited references (quotation and/or paraphrase) of at least 5 sources that you have found in your research. Cite all sources in MLA format (in text), in addition to a Works Cited page. Use Purdue OWL (linked on Canvas) to look up proper MLA in-text citations and Works Cited formatting. Proofread for mistakes and edit for clarity. Consider paragraph organization and appropriate transitions to lead your reader through your discussion.
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