22 May 2013

AQA Lit B A2 English Literature 'Elements of the Gothic': Exam Questions Past Papers

Get all Gothic Resources: Macbeth, Bloody Chamber, Wuthering Heights


Get plenty more Gothic Resources for the A2 exam here

Elements of the Gothic Section B exam questions for AQA Lit B A2 Written Paper:

Gothic writing has been attacked as ’a species of brutality’. With reference to three texts, to what extent have you found this view to be true?

‘Four hundred years of excess, horror, evil and ruin.’ Is this a valid assessment of the gothic literature?

To what extend does gothic literature rely on visual imagery?

“Despite various attempts to define it or pin it down, the gothic remains an elusive literary genre.” To what extent have you found this comment to be true? 

“The gothic is essentially backward looking: nostalgic, escapist and merely titillating.” Is this a valid description of the gothic?

“Gothic literature is more interested in cheap thrills than serious intellectual debate.” Is this a valid description of the gothic?

“Either shameless harlots or trembling innocents.” Is this your view of how women are presented in gothic texts?

To what extent have you found the gothic texts you have studied to be linked by the horrifically macabre?

How significant is transgression in the texts you have studied?

Gothic literature has been accused of relying not only on the improbable but also the impossible to engage its audience. To what extent have you found this to be true?

Gothic protagonists often arouse an ambivalent response in the audience. To what extent have you found this to be true in the texts you have studied?

‘Gothic protagonists are usually laughable and powerless’. Does your study of the gothic support this statement?  



Effective gothic literature goes beyond the cliches of dark castles and flickering candles and actually reveals something about humanity. How do you read this view?


‘A sensational and shocking genre.’ How far would you agree with this assessment of the Gothic genre?


Gothic texts show the supernatural intertwined with the ordinary. Discuss this view in relation to your three chosen texts.


‘If a text is to be labelled Gothic, it must convey a sense of fear and terror.’ Discuss this view in relation to the texts you have studied.


Explore the view that the endings of gothic texts are concerned with reinforcing the accepted social and moral order.


How far do you agree with the assertion that the Gothic is ‘a male genre which either excludes women or presents them negatively’?


‘Many central characters in Gothic texts are outsiders who feel divorced from their society.’ Consider this view in relation to your texts.

Gothic literature is concerned with the breaking of normal moral and social codes. Discuss this view in relation to your three texts.

To what extent is death and suffering central to the concerns of the authors in your texts?

Setting in Gothic literature is crucial to the atmosphere of the text. Conider this view in relation to three of your texts.

Consider the view that Gothic fiction is concerned with opposition and contrasts.

Gothic literature is melodramatic and superficial with no real depth. Discuss this view in light of your three texts.

To what extent are places the most memorable aspect of Gothic fiction?

Gothic texts show the supernatural intertwined with the ordinary. Discuss this view in relation to your three chosen texts.

‘If a texts is to be labelled Gothic, it must convey a sense of fear and terror.’ Discuss this view in relation to the texts you have studied.

‘Religion is central to readings of Gothic texts.’ How far do you agree with this view?

Consider the view that gothic writing explores the nightmarish terrors that lie beneath the orderly surface of the civilized mind.

‘In gothic writing, women are presented either as innocent victims or sinister predators or are significantly absent.’ How do you respond to this view?



‘A melodramatic genre, where extremes of emotion have disastrous consequences.’ How far would you agree?

Consider the view that literature within the gothic genre is always shocking.

‘Characters in Gothic fiction are haunted by their past mistakes and often have to face terrible consequences.’ How far do you agree?

‘Gothic literature demonstrates the consequences of disrupting the natural order of things.’ Consider the texts you have read in light of this comment.