Identifying Genre

For this assignment, you should highlight moments or passages within a story that conform to one or more of the genre conventions above–of either Magical Realism or the Gothic. A quick reminder (Note that these are not complete definitions. They are meant to trigger your memory about our class discussion.)



THE GOTHIC is literary genre that expresses anxieties about vulnerable boundaries between life and death, as well as the boundaries of human subjectivity—i.e., the limits of identity. There is often anxious uncertainty between Paranoia &  Persecution, Madness &  Supernatural Elements, Living & Dying.

MAGICAL REALISM is a narrative technique that blurs the distinction between fantasy and reality. It is characterized by an equal acceptance of the ordinary and the extraordinary. Magic realism fuses (1) lyrical and, at times, fantastic writing with (2) an examination of the character of human existence and (3) an implicit criticism of society, particularly the elite.

Here’s what to do:

1. Open one of the following stories in Word: “Axolotl,” “A House Taken Over,”  “Continuity of Parks,”  “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings.”

2. Save the file to the desktop.

3. At the top of the document, type your name, genre, feature 1, and feature 2

4. Highlight each feature with a different color.  Feel free to check out the sample on magical realism and the sample on the gothic.

5.  Go through one page of the story–any page you like–and identify these genre features. Highlight them in the colors you’ve selected.

6. When you’ve finished marking up as much of the story as you can, save the document and send it to me and yourself.


“A House Taken Over”

“Continuity of Parks”

“A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”

Sample–Magical Realism



Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+