Carrie and Columbine: American Gothic

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Carrie, by Stephen King, and the Columbine High School Incident; looked at separately, they are to things that have nothing to do with each other. Carrie was Stephen King’s first major novel and a New York Times bestseller. Columbine was and incident in Colorado that happened in 1999, where two high school seniors orchestrated a bloody massacre at their high school. The two events occurred over twenty-five years apart, but when juxtaposed we can see many similarities between the book ant the incident, the fact that they are gothic in nature in particular.
Gothic Literature is a literary style made popular during the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th . This style usually portrayed fantastic tales dealing with horror, despair, the grotesque and other "dark" subjects. Gothic literature was named for the apparent influence of the dark gothic architecture of the period on the genre. Also, many of these Gothic tales took places in such "gothic" surroundings, sometimes a dark and stormy castle as shown in Mary Shelly's Frankenstein, or Bram Stoker's infamous Dracula. These stories were romances, due to their love of the imaginary over the logical. Gothic literature gave birth to many other forms, such as suspense, ghost stories, horror, mystery, and also detective stories. Gothic literature wasn't so different from other genres in form as it was in content and its focus on the "weird" aspects of life. This movement began to slowly open may people's eyes to the possible uses of the supernatural in literature.
This brings us to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Here we see the emergence of writers such as Edgar Allen Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne. These writers used the gothic format in their writing but tweaked the traditional form to start a new style with an American twist, hence, “American Gothic”. These stories of darkness occur in a more everyday setting, such as the quaint house where the man goes mad from the "beating" of his guilt in Edgar Allan Poe's “The Tell-Tale Heart” and the quaint little village in Shirley Jackson‘s “The Lottery”. The stories often involved farms and farmers and besides having a surprise twist at the end, usually some form of mass murder or death, they also used dark humor had and underlying theme, such as religion and social order.
As we move even further down the timeline, we come across “new-age” gothic writers.

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