English - Terrifying tales to go

26th October 2012 at 01:00

What it's all about

"There's one heck of a storm coming." That's the tagline of the Hurricane Sharon trailer used for the return of the character Sharon to EastEnders, writes Julie Greenhough.

From the eerie swing and creak of the Queen Vic's signage to the swirling debris in the market square and the torrential rain, the 40-second footage is a homage to the Gothic, and Sharon is depicted wearing a white wedding gown. It makes an excellent resource for teaching the Gothic motif and conventions in writing, and for prompting pupils' own writing.

Ask the art department for images of the Gothic landscape or download the stark black-and-white photographs of Fay Godwin to use as a springboard for writing on setting.

For real fright factor, try the isolated house in the film The Others, with its endless corridors, locked rooms and permanently drawn curtains. Be they houses in Albert Square or Castle Dracula, buildings make great prompts for writing.

All of this links well with the book Crime and the Gothic, in which author Sian MacArthur explores the way modern writers of crime adapt features of traditional Gothic fiction. She shows how the fusion between Gothic and detective fiction produces chilling narratives and explores the Edinburgh of Inspector Rebus in Ian Rankin's novels to reveal the city as a physical metaphor reflecting the mindset of the villain - a chief intent of early Gothic writing - and parallels this with The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

What else?

Help pupils to write their own Gothic stories in a lesson on techniques from TESEnglish. bit.lyGothicWriting.

Introduce the conventions of the Gothic genre using a PowerPoint shared by stephrenn. bit.lyGothicGenre.

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