• 12th Grade Gothic Tradition of Literature and Film Summer Reading Assignments


              a. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (if you intend to take the course for Honors credit)

              b. A book by Stephen King (CP credit)

    You may choose to take the class for Honors or CP credit in the Fall, but you should read The Picture of Dorian Gray if you intend to take the course for Honors creditIf you find The Picture of Dorian Gray is too challenging, try reading a book by Stephen King and plan to enroll in the CP section. 
     **Be prepared for an assessment on these books during the first week of school.**

    2. REQUIREDONE book by a different author from the following list: 

    The Shining by Stephen King (CP recommendation)

    The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (CP recommendation)

    The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde(CP choice, Honors level difficulty

    The Time Machine by H.G. Wells (CP & Honors recommendation) 

    The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (Honors recommendation) 

    The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole (CP recommendation)

    Rebecca by Daphne DeMaurier (Honors recommendation)

    Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (Honors recommendation)

    The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
     **Be prepared for an assessment on these books during the first week of school.**
    3. REQUIRED: College Personal Essay Brainstorming: Due the first week of school

    One of the best methods of brainstorming for your college essay is to begin with a grand list of potential topics and slowly let the best rise to the top. In order to generate a laundry list of important people, events, accomplishments and activities in your life, fill in the worksheet below. 

    Click here to access the Brainstorming Worksheet

  • 1a. REQUIRED: If you intend to enroll in the Honors course.

    The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

    Written in his distinctively dazzling manner, Oscar Wilde’s story of a fashionable young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty is the author’s most popular work. The tale of Dorian Gray’s moral disintegration caused a scandal when it first appeared in 1890, but though Wilde was attacked for the novel’s corrupting influence, he responded that there is, in fact, “a terrible moral in Dorian Gray.” Just a few years later, the book and the aesthetic/moral dilemma it presented became issues in the trials occasioned by Wilde’s homosexual liaisons, which resulted in his imprisonment.


    “A lush, cautionary tale of a life of vileness and deception or a loving portrait of the aesthetic impulse run rampant? Why not both?”
           - Amazon Review

    “Historical information helps readers place the novel in proper context and gives insight into its characters.”
           - Karen Hoth

    Read ONE book by a different author from the nine listed below.




    The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

    First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a "haunting"; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.


    “Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House has unnerved readers since its original publication in 1959. A tale of subtle, psychological terror, it has earned its place as one of the significant haunted house stories of the ages.”
           - Amazon Review


    The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

    A very young woman's first job: governess for two weirdly beautiful, strangely distant, oddly silent children, Miles and Flora, at a forlorn estate...An estate haunted by a beckoning evil.
    Half-seen figures who glare from dark towers and dusty windows- silent, foul phantoms who, day by day, night by night, come closer, ever closer. With growing horror, the helpless governess realizes the fiendish creatures want the children, seeking to corrupt their bodies, possess their minds, own their souls... But worse-much worse- the governess discovers that Miles and Flora have no terror of the lurking evil. For they want the walking dead as badly as the dead want them


    ''This enigmatic, chilling, classic ghost story is especially well told in semivoiced narrations.'' 
           - Amazon Review

     ''In rich and mellow tones, Vance dramatically introduces this classic ghost tale . . . Benjamin's reading of the story, in a sweet British accent, is a calming contrast . . . but when appropriate, Benjamin's tones alter the mood dramatically . . . Benjamin's accent and emotional undercurrents are just right. This excellent production highlights James' gorgeous prose and skill at creating and sustaining a mood of growing unease and horror.''
           - Booklist


    The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

    So begins the Time Traveller’s astonishing firsthand account of his journey 800,000 years beyond his own era—and the story that launched H.G. Wells’s successful career and earned him his reputation as the father of science fiction. With a speculative leap that still fires the imagination, Wells sends his brave explorer to face a future burdened with our greatest hopes...and our darkest fears. A pull of the Time Machine’s lever propels him to the age of a slowly dying Earth.  There he discovers two bizarre races—the ethereal Eloi and the subterranean Morlocks—who not only symbolize the duality of human nature, but offer a terrifying portrait of the men of tomorrow as well.  Published in 1895, this masterpiece of invention captivated readers on the threshold of a new century. Thanks to Wells’s expert storytelling and provocative insight, The Time Machine will continue to enthrall readers for generations to come.


    "This is an invaluable edition of a text with a crucial role in modern culture. Wielding his meticulous scholarship and wide-ranging knowledge, Ruddick produces a splendid introduction and a rich selection of contextual materials."
           - H. Bruce Franklin

    The Shining by Stephen King

    Danny was only five years old but in the words of old Mr Halloran he was a 'shiner', aglow with psychic voltage. When his father became caretaker of the Overlook Hotel his visions grew frighteningly out of control. As winter closed in and blizzards cut them off, the hotel seemed to develop a life of its own. It was meant to be empty, but who was the lady in Room 217, and who were the masked guests going up and down in the elevator? And why did the hedges shaped like animals seem so alive? 
    Somewhere, somehow there was an evil force in the hotel - and that too had begun to shine...


    “A master storyteller.”
           - Los Angeles Times

    “Scary! . . . Serves up horrors at a brisk, unflagging pace.”
           - The New York Times

    “This chilling novel will haunt you, and make your blood run cold and your heart race with fear.”
           - Nashville Banner



    Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

    The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady's maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives--presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave. 


    ''A work of immense intelligence and wit, elegantly written, thematically solid, suspenseful.''
           - Washington Post

    ''Daphne du Maurier created a scale by which modern women can measure their feelings.''
           - Stephen King

    ''Du Maurier is in a class by herself.''
           - New York Times


    Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

    Wuthering Heights is a wild, passionate story of the intense and almost demonic love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, a foundling adopted by Catherine's father. After Mr Earnshaw's death, Heathcliff is bullied and humiliated by Catherine's brother Hindley and wrongly believing that his love for Catherine is not reciprocated, leaves Wuthering Heights, only to return years later as a wealthy and polished man. He proceeds to exact a terrible revenge for his former miseries. The action of the story is chaotic and unremittingly violent, but the accomplished handling of a complex structure, the evocative descriptions of the lonely moorland setting and the poetic grandeur of vision combine to make this unique novel a masterpiece of English literature.


    “A somber tale of consuming passions and vengeance played out against the lonely moors of northern England, the book proved to be one of the most enduring classics of English literature.”
           - Amazon

     “A masterpiece of imaginative fiction, Wuthering Heights (the author's only novel) remains as poignant and compelling today as it was when first published in 1847.”
           - Amazon


  • The Bell Jar


    The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

    Esther Greenwood is brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under—maybe for the last time. In her acclaimed and enduring masterwork, Sylvia Plath brilliantly draws the reader into Esther's breakdown with such intensity that her insanity becomes palpably real, even rational—as accessible an experience as going to the movies. A deep penetration into the darkest and most harrowing corners of the human psyche, The Bell Jar is an extraordinary accomplishment and a haunting American classic.