Gothic Novels Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

What elements contribute to the Gothic novel? This lesson plan introduces students to Gothic novels through a simple video lesson. An activity reinforces key content as it connects students with popular Gothic novels.

Learning Objectives

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

  • explain what a Gothic novel is
  • summarize the history of Gothic literature
  • list key characteristics and themes of Gothic novels


45 to 90 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.


Determine a central idea of a text and analyze 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 a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language of a court opinion differs from that of a newspaper).


  • Paper copies of the worksheet from the associated video lesson
  • An assortment of popular Gothic novels


  • Begin by writing the following term on the board for the class to see: 'Gothic.'
    • What is meant by this term?
    • What characteristics might be present in a Gothic novel?
  • Play the video lesson Gothic Novels: Characteristics & Examples, pausing it at 1:18.
    • What is Gothic literature?
    • When was the first Gothic novel penned?
    • Have any of you read any of the Gothic novels presented in the video lesson?
  • Play the video lesson again and pause it at 2:14.
    • What elements and themes are common in Gothic novels?
  • Play the video lesson and pause it at 3:34.
    • What is meant by the term 'supernatural'?
    • Why are supernatural themes common in Gothic models?
  • Play the video lesson. Pause it at 4:56.
    • Why was the idea of madness or insanity commonly included in early Gothic novels?
  • Play the remainder of the video lesson for the class.
    • What does the theme of romance add to Gothic novels?
  • Review key facts about the Gothic novel with students before continuing.
  • Distribute the worksheet to the class, one to each student.
  • Have students work independently to complete the worksheet using what they learned about Gothic novels from the video lesson to do so.
  • When everyone has completed the worksheet, review each question and answer with the class as students self-check their papers.

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