common themes include violence W r i t i n g

common themes include violence W r i t i n g

For something a little different as you take a break from working on your research papers, this week’s readings all incorporate a spooky or suspenseful theme in honor of Halloween. As a reminder, two are in the Norton textbook:

  • Edgar Allan Poe, “The Raven” (p. 621)
  • Flannery O’Connor, “A Good Man is Hard to Find” (p. 356)
  • The third, Angela Carter’s “The Lady of the House of Love,” is provided as a PDF earlier in this module.

The stories and poem we’re reading this week all incorporate elements of Gothic literature, which as a genre often involves elements of mystery and terror and is set in wild, remote, or foreboding locations, like ruined castles. Common themes include violence, fear, and manipulation, and an emphasis on strong emotion. O’Connor’s story, as an example of the Southern Gothic subgenre, uses such elements of the Gothic to critique aspects of culture in the early/mid-20th century American South; racism, classism, and the decay of the old social structure all come into play in “A Good Man is Hard to Find.”

Choose any two of this week’s assigned works by Poe, O’Connor, and Carter for your main discussion post and examine how your selections build a sense of terror or suspense. How do the authors use details like (for example) language and setting to achieve this? Poe, for instance, makes use of repetition and rhyme in “The Raven,” while Carter’s lush, dense prose brings the vampire in her disintegrating castle vividly to life (so to speak). Meanwhile, O’Connor’s story invokes the idea of a remote, crumbling castle with its reference to the old plantation house and the lonely dirt road where the family finds themselves stranded. You might also discuss how your chosen stories (or story and poem) offer social commentary or critique.

A main post and a minimum of two response posts are required to receive passing credit. Your main post is due by 11:59pm Thursday. All responses to peers should be posted by 11:59pm Sunday, with posts spread out so that you’re participating on three separate days.

Your main post should also incorporate quotations from your chosen texts. For the Carter story, the PDF is from a literary magazine, so use the following format for the Works Cited:

Carter, Angela. “The Lady of the House of Love.” The Iowa Review, vol. 6, no. 3, 1975, pp. 134-148,