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

    Honors/CP

    The English Department recommends that, if possible, students read the texts listed for each English class, as the texts provide a baseline for the coursework in that class. If that is not possible, read any book that is representative of the course.  Click on your class link for details. Check your local libraries for print books, eBooks and audiobooks. For some free ebooks, go to https://www.hoopladigital.com/

    1. If possible, read one of the titles from the list below, AND one book of your choice. If that is not possible, read any book by Stephen King.

     

    The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (Honors)

    The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

    The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole

    The Time Machine by H.G. Wells 

    The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

    Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

    The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

    Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

    The Shining by Stephen King (or any novel by Stephen King)

     

    1. 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

     

    The Public Libraries in Topsfield and Boxford have some Masco owned books that you can keep for as long as you need them. Give them a call and support your local library! 

    Topsfield Public Library 978-887-1528

    Boxford Public Library 978-887-6352

     

  • (Honors)
     

    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.

     Reviews

    “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

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    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.

     Reviews

    “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

  • Amazon.com: The Castle of Otranto (Dover Thrift Editions ...

    The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole

    This novel is the story of Conrad, son of Manfred of the house of Otranto. This thrilling tale abounds in adventure, suspense, and supernatural occurrences. Crammed with invention, entertainment, terror, and pathos, the novel was an immediate success and Walpole's own favorite among his numerous works. This work initiated a firestorm in this literary genre and was easily one of the most popular novels published in the late 18th and early 19th century.

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    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

     Reviews

    ''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

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    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.

    Review

    "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

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    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. 

    Reviews

    ''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

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    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.

     Reviews

    “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.

     

     

  • Amazon.com: The Shining (9780307743657): King, Stephen: Books
     
    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...

     Review

    “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