Short Story Unit #2
“The Gift of the Magi”
“The Necklace”
“The Sniper”
“The Cask of Amontillado
“The Paperhanger”
Periods in Literature
• There are specific characteristics in written
pieces that take shape due to the time period
in which they were written.
• These periods have been given names,
depending on what ideas and philosophy was
shaping the world at the time they were
• ?-476
• Characteristics: epic struggles, religion,
quests, tragic heroes, interaction between
men and gods, morality
• Famous Authors: Sophocles, Homer,
(Greek/Roman mythology) (The Bible)
Characteristics: religious overtones, courtly love
(non-sexual), knights, chivalry, blend between
fantasy and reality
Famous Authors: Beowulf, Chaucer (The
Canterbury Tales), Dante (Dante’s Inferno)
Renaissance (England)
• 1500-1670
• Characteristics: idealism of classical
civilizations (Greek/Roman), humanism
(feelings/emotions), focus on protagonist-to
tell story
• Famous Authors: Milton (Paradise Lost),
William Shakespeare
• 1700-1800
• Characteristics: intellectual, philosophical,
cultural and social movement, scientific
• Famous Authors: Ben Franklin
Romantic Period
• 1798-1870
• Characteristics: Shift from reason to senses,
feelings, and imagination. Shift from urban focus
to rural and natural. Focus on individual
intuition, imagination and emotions. Rebellious
against oppression
• Famous Authors: Shelley (Frankenstein), Jane
• 1837-1901
• Characteristics: Pure romance to realism,
reflects daily life and practical problems,
hardships of working class (industrialism),
moral purpose, age of doubt/pessimist
• Famous Authors: Joseph Conrad, Charles
Dickens, Rudyard Kipling, Bram Stroker
• 1830-1860
• Characteristics: the existence of an ideal
spiritual reality that transcends the empirical
and scientific and is knowable through
• Famous Authors: Emerson, Hawthorne,
Whitman, Thoreau
• 1820-1920
• Characteristics: contains aspects of Victorian,
but focuses on plight of individuals,
breakdown of traditional values, regional
locations, urban poor, focus on characters
more than plot, realities of life
• Famous Authors: Twain, Sinclair
• 1870-1920
• Characteristics: used detailed realism to suggest that
social conditions, heredity, and environment had
inescapable force in shaping human character,
influenced by Darwinism, Naturalistic works exposed
the dark harshness of life, including poverty, racism,
violence, prejudice, disease, corruption, and filth
• Famous Authors: Jack London, Steinbeck, Hemingway,
Faulkner, Edith Wharton
• 1850-today
• Characteristics: concerned with the concept of
human existence. Everything is centered around
the individual’s experience on earth and the
limits one must endure for being human.
Existentialists believe the human condition leaves
us fully free to make our own decisions (with no
guidance) and therefore completely responsible
for their repercussions.
• Famous Authors: Camus, Kafka
• 1910-1965
• Characteristics: new technology combined with
horrors of WW I and II made people question the
future of humanity, focus on inner self. People
felt alienated, worried about the decline in
• Famous Authors: Steinbeck, Joseph Conrad, T. S.
Eliot, Sam Beckett
Post Modernism
• 1965-today
• Characteristics: combination of elements
from previous genres, uses humor, irony and
dark comedy, novels that fictionalize actual
historical events and characters
• Famous Authors
Gothic Literature
• Gothic fiction, is a genre or mode of literature that
combines fiction, horror and Romanticism. The effect of
Gothic fiction feeds on a pleasing sort of terror, an
extension of Romantic literary pleasures that were
relatively new at the time of Walpole's novel. It originated
in England in the second half of the 18th century and had
much success in the 19th as witnessed by the works of
Edgar Allan Poe. Another well known novel in this genre,
dating from the late Victorian era, is Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
• The name Gothic refers to the (pseudo)-medieval buildings
in which many of these stories take place. This extreme
form of romanticism was very popular in England and
Southern Gothic
• Southern Gothic is a subgenre of Gothic fiction
unique to American literature that takes place
exclusively in the American South.
• Common themes in Southern Gothic literature
include deeply flawed, disturbing or eccentric
characters who may or may not dabble in
voodoo, ambivalent gender roles and decayed or
derelict settings, grotesque situations, and other
sinister events relating to or coming from
poverty, alienation, racism, crime, and violence.
Class Literature
• To Kill A Mockingbird: Post modernism,
elements of Southern Gothic
• Anthem: Modernism, Distopian
• The Most Dangerous Game: Postmodernism
• The Monkey’s Paw: Romantic
• Sunday in the Park: Postmodernism
• The Rocking Horse Winner: Modernism
Class Literature Cont.
The Gift of the Magi: Realism/Romanticism
The Necklace: Realism/Victorian
The Sniper: Modernism
The Cask of Amontillado: Romantic, Gothic
The Paperhanger: Postmodernism, Southern
Class Literature Cont.
Fahrenheit 451: Modernism/Distopian
The Odyssey: Ancient
The Jungle: Realism
Shakespeare: Renaissance