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JANE EYRE and Gothic literature

Jane Eyre graphic for FBOur first research article explores Gothic literature as a genre and asks whether  fits the definition of this category.  Molly Steffen, a English teacher at Blackhawk Christian School, contributed this article. She plays Amy Eshton and Diana Rivers.


The Gothic Novel and Jane Eyre by Molly Steffen

Gothic house

The term “gothic” as it applies to literature was first used by Horace Walpole for his novel The Castle of Otranto in 1764. According to John Mullan (1), it seems as if he intended the term to mean “something like ‘barbarous’, as well as ‘deriving from the Middle Ages’ ”. Over time, the genre of the gothic novel has come to signify certain characteristics, several of which appear in the novel Jane Eyre.

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Presenting JANE EYRE

Four years ago all for One staged Jane Austen's Emma, a literary classic. For the first time, our cast members actively participated in the research process, and the result was so much valuable material that afO created a blog site,…

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Timeline of a Turtle Hunt

Reprinted from  the Indianapolis Star,  with the kind permission of author John Gutowski. The bold green print indicates events depicted in some form in Turtle Soup. 1898: Reports of a giant, prehistoric turtle in Oscar Fulk's lake. July 27, 1948:…

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A Brief Quiz–to be Taken AFTER you see “Just So Stories”

See if you can match up the main animal character with its country or the geographic element mentioned, AND the secondary character that appeared in its story:

1.  CAMEL                      A.  LIMPOPO RIVER                a.  DINGO

2.  RHINO                       B.  WOLGAN RIVER              b.  PARSEE

3.  KANGAROO              C.  DESERT                              c.  PYTHON

4.  ARMADILLO              D.  AMAZON RIVER                 d.  DJINN

5.  ELEPHANT                E.  RED SEA                             e.  JAGUAR

The Answer Key, O Best Beloved, will be revealed when you click on “Continue reading”: 

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A brief biography of Rudyard Kipling, author of JUST SO STORIES

Rudyard_Kipling_(portrait)British author Rudyard Kipling was born in Bombay (now Mumbai), India, on December 30, 1865, to British parents John Lockwood Kipling and Alice (née MacDonald) Kipling, who had settled there, India being a colony of Great Britain at the time. John Kipling was an artist and head of the architectural sculpture department of the Jeejeebhoy School of Art in Bombay.

As was common in that day, Kipling and his sister Alice were sent to England to be educated. They stayed with foster parents, the Holloways, from 1871 to 1877. Kipling later wrote about his mistreatment at the hands of the Holloways. His parents finally removed him and placed him in a boarding school in Devon, where he flourished, and first began to find his voice as a writer.

Academically, he was not brilliant enough to go to Oxford or Cambridge on scholarship, and his parents could not afford to send him otherwise.

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Design Elements in JUST SO STORIES

JSS show artElsie Kipling and her friends are using their imaginations to act out stories about animals in far-off lands. Not too different from how children have historically played–using furniture and blankets and other found objects to become the scenery of their world.

A good theatrical design needs to take the context of the play into account, and create a world which seems effortless and inevitable. In the case of The Just So Stories, the director first had to decide how the characters in the play would interact with the stories:  would they obviously be children pretending (and letting their child-character show through) or would they, when acting out each story, become fully invested in their animal-character?

(This is not an unusual dilemma. Any time there is a “play within a play” we need to ask these questions. An O. Henry Christmas two years ago required similar decisions to be made.)

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