Writing Prompts

  • Oscar Wilde believed in “art for art’s sake,” or that art should simply be beautiful instead of having a deeper meaning or social lesson. Write a response agreeing or disagreeing with this statement and use quotes from this week’s readings to support your viewpoint.
  • Compare and contrast how Dracula and The Picture of Dorian Gray Gothic use elements to critique one of the following Victorian ideas: imperialism, gender fluidity (e.g. the New Woman and the aesthete), moral duplicity, the duality of self, public versus private life, and repression. Quote from both texts to support your points.


  • The excesses, stereotypes, and frequent absurdities of the traditional Gothic made it the perfect target for parody and this week you read one of the most famous parodies of the Gothic in Jane Austen’s novel Northanger Abbey (1818). Using your knowledge of the conventions of Gothic fiction (the supernatural, gloomy exotic settings, a lecherous villain etc.) pen your own brief Gothic parody (300-500 words). The subject does not have to be spooky (a parody would actually work better if it’s not) and can be about anything (getting up in the morning, going on a date, working out, scrolling through Facebook) as long as you use Gothic elements to write about it. You will be graded on how well you deploy stock Gothic elements in your parody.


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

A Guide to the Gothic Copyright © 2019 by Jeanette Laredo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book