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Relating a P.B. Shelley poem to Gothic Lit Hi! I'm writing a paper for Gothic Lit...

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keerazee | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted November 27, 2009 at 11:44 AM via web

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Relating a P.B. Shelley poem to Gothic Lit

Hi! I'm writing a paper for Gothic Lit class. We have a few texts and handouts. We must take 1 handout, relate it to 3 texts, and use our analysis to argue a thesis about Gothic Lit.

The handout I’m using is Shelley's Hymn to Intellectual Beauty. I started with Radcliffe's On The Supernatural in Poetry, but wasn't into it. I want something more interesting than finding examples of horror and terror. We get graded on originality. I think the best focus for Hymn is its theme - but themes sometimes confuse me. I want to address Shelley's idea of Beauty/Spirit being fleeting, something man pursues, but is overcome by evil, darkness, etc. Any other element that works better?

The texts I must choose 3 from: The Castle of Otranto; The Rime of the Ancient Mariner; Jane Eyre; Frankenstein; and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I want to use Mariner, Jekyll and Hyde, and Frankenstein. If others from that list fit better, please let me know. I feel my choices show darkness consuming characters who wanted enlightenment. Any other ways to say "darkness?" My thesis is: Gothic Lit looks at our darker natures to learn about ourselves.

Am I on the right track? I’d like suggestions on connecting the texts to the poem. I think it’s almost like a compare/contrast essay. My intro will ID Hymn’s main ideas, and the rest of the paper will show how the texts relate to the ideas I identify (hopefully with your help!). I'm working on this all weekend, so I need help! All feedback welcome! Thanks!

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kwoo1213 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted December 1, 2009 at 3:10 PM (Answer #2)

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You do sound like you are on the right track with this!  This sounds like a very interesting paper, in my opinion!  I believe you have chosen the right pieces to work with. I love all 3 of the ones you chose.  You might want to reword your thesis statement to polish it up a bit.  It is worded a bit awkwardly.

You do not necessarily have to compare each piece of literature as it relates to the poem...you could discuss each without comparing them.  Remember that your thesis should reflect the MAIN IDEA of your essay.

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keerazee | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted December 1, 2009 at 7:16 PM (Answer #3)

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Hi Kwoo,

I do have a much tighter thesis statement, but did not want to put it on the internet in case the prof uses some kind of service that checks the web for plagiarism.  I know his prompt for this paper, and my idea for responding to it is unique but I didn't want to take any chances of my thesis floating out there in cyberspace.

Thanks for letting me know I'm on the right track - I've been working diligently on it and am almost done (starting my Conclusion), but yesterday I was overcome with the thought, "What was I thinking?  This stinks!"  Not about my writing, but about my argument (supporting paragraphs).

The paper has turned into one about ambivalence in Goth fiction more than anything else.  What do you think of that?


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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 11, 2010 at 10:42 AM (Answer #4)

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Regarding the question on another word for the dark side of nature--preternatural is a word that Nathaniel Hawthorne uses in his works; perhaps, it will serve you.  The concept of ambivalence is interesting as the line between sanity and madness is often unclear in such works as The Castle of Otranto and some of the others mentioned.

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