It seems the world has gone mad for spooky stories: Frankenstein’s back in fashion; Stranger Things’s supernatural themes have young and old captivated; and Sansa Stark has become a Gothic heroine for the modern age. The fascination with what lies beneath keeps us guessing: Is the Thane of Cawdor to be trusted? Are the gum trees really calling us? What is all that noise in Mr Rochester’s attic?
Gothic texts are not new to us at Girls Grammar. Macbeth has long been part of our literary repertoire—madness, murder and, of course, witchcraft, make for exciting analysis. This year, the English Faculty has expanded our exploration into the world of the gothic novel and Year 12 students have been dabbling in perhaps one of the most iconic gothic novels of all time—Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre.
The first students studying the new subject of Literature have been exploring Australian Gothic in Picnic at Hanging Rock, and Oscar Wilde’s classic, The Picture of Dorian Gray, has been the inspiration for a multimodal, which brings old themes to new audiences. In our Literature classroom, Dorian has escaped the confines of his painting and has landed on Instagram, Snapchat, and WhatsApp. In creating their own stories, our litterateurs have dealt with demons and manipulated modern ghosts to learn, and teach, important lessons.
We are studying these texts not because they are fashionable again—though we do like to think ourselves couturiers—but because one of the main themes of Gothic fiction is that things aren’t always what they seem. At Girls Grammar, we want girls to be curious—to seek to find truth. The critical thinking that Grammar girls have been doing in English and Literature classrooms arms them with the skills to engage with ideas, ask difficult questions and look beyond the façade.
Acting Director of English, Ms Jo Genders and Head of Literature, Miss Meghan Parry