Gothic Fiction Lesson Plan

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

With this lesson plan, your students are going to learn about characteristics, stylistic elements, and authors of Gothic fiction. They will analyze a work of Gothic fiction, and expand this style into their own creative writing.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Define Gothic literature
  • Identify major goals, stylistic elements, and authors of Gothic literature
  • Critically analyze and discuss important works of Gothic literature


120-180 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or informal tone).


By the end of grade 9, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 9-10 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

By the end of grade 10, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, at the high end of the grades 9-10 text complexity band independently and proficiently.


  • Copies of the Lesson Quiz, one for each student
  • Copies of selections from Gothic poems and novels


  • Ask students if any of them like vampire novels. Ask them if they know where this tradition began. What is the point of literature like this? What sorts of themes does it explore?
  • Begin video lesson Gothic Fiction: Definition, Characteristics & Authors. Pause video at 1:31 and discuss as a class:
    • What is Gothic fiction? What are its defining traits or characteristics? In what ways was it romantic? What was the purpose of the dark settings and themes? What ideas were Gothic authors interested in exploring?
    • What do we know about the world in the 1700s? What were some of the major events, attitudes, or changes during this time period? How might those have impacted the rise of Gothic fiction?
  • Resume and complete video. Discuss this information as a class:
    • Have you heard of any of these authors or stories before? What do you know about them? What are some of the main themes or ideas?
  • You may test student understanding with Lesson Quiz. Review answers as a class.

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