The Dark Days of Future Past: Exploring the Gothic and Dystopian Fiction as a Genre Studies Elective
Allen William Drinkwater
B.A., Emmanuel College
MA, University of Massachusetts Boston
Directed by Professor Alex Mueller
This curriculum project not only maps out and justifies The Dark Days of Future Past – a high school literature elective exploring Gothic and dystopian fiction – but does so with the intention of actually proposing the course’s addition to the program of studies at Wakefield Memorial High School in Wakefield, Massachusetts. Consequently, the project is designed with both breadth and depth in mind, giving the reader an overview of the year-long trajectory of the course and offering a representative sample unit.
To achieve these ends, the project has been divided into several subsections. The first subsection consists of a written rationale which illustrates the value of a genre studies elective at the high school level. To demonstrate the aforementioned value, this subsection justifies the employing of Gothic and dystopian texts by offering pedagogical justifications, drawing heavily from Cristina Vischer Bruns’ Why Literature? and Sheridan Blau’s The Literature Workshop. The rationale concludes with an overview of the subsequent subsection: a ten-lesson unit plan. This expansive section forms the bulk of the project’s “hands-on” material by presenting not only ten detailed lesson plans, but all of the accompanying handouts/rubrics/slideshows/artifacts necessary to implement said unit. Moreover, this unit is particularly representative of The Dark Days of Future Past as a whole as it is posited as a year-end capstone which requires students to review the defining characteristics of the Gothic and dystopian fiction while juxtaposing two seminal texts: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. The last subsection of this project consists of an extensive annotated bibliography which covers not only the primary and secondary sources used in the creation of this project but also those found on The Dark Days of Future Past’s reading list (also attached).
Summarily, the ultimate aim of this project is introduce a course that enables students to explore both Gothic and dystopian fiction in an elective setting.