EPQ Presentation


My Initial Research

From the outset, I knew I wanted my EPQ to focus on Gothic literature. My first proposed titles all centred around the topic, however, it was the final suggestion that set me on track to focus on female representation.

My first aspect of research focused on the Byronic hero: a dark, mysterious, often morally-grey character. Examples include: Mr Rochester from Jane Eyre, Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights and Mr Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. I soon realised that these characters, so commonly seen in Gothic literature were all male.

I then proceeded to research the lesser-known concept of the Byronic heroine. I soon found that there was not a lot of information on this topic, so I increased the scope of my research to encompass all attributes of women in Gothic literature.

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As I am a visual learner, I created a moodboard to help stimulate ideas surrounding the topic. I found this particulalry helpful as gothic literature is often underpinned by the gothic architecture for which it was named.

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Time Management

As illustrated through this Gantt chart, I had a tendency to underestimate how much time a specific part of my EPQ would take me.

I sectioned the task into 6 parts: the introduction, themes 1 2 3, my conclusion, and the abstract. In every circumstance I took more time than I had anticpated, instead of in the writing of the abstract.

I feel this occured due to the fact that by the time I was ready to write my abstract I had a clearer view of how I wanted to articulate my argument.

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My Novels

The four gothic novels I chose were:

  • The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (which is considered to be a parody on the genre)
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, and
  • Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan le Fanu
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Planning Methods

After choosing the six female characters I wanted to focus on, I began to assess how their roles differed. In my essay, I only included five of the six as the ones I finally chose were more developed and more could be said about them to further my argument. 

I found that creating colour coded mindmaps was very helpful, as it allowed me to visualise the different characters.

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The main type of research material I used was found in the form of scholarly articles. I found that most of these were submitted in part to achieve a Masters degree within English literature and related subjects. This gave me confidence that the sources I was using were reputable.

Additionally, I also used criticism found in books of published essays. In particular, Fred Botting's Gothic was useful to me, as I found that the extended format of a book, as opposed to a thesis created scope for more developed arguments.

Fred Botting discussed the rural and the city gothic which I found fascinating. The older texts such as Northanger Abbey and Carmilla are set against a rural backdrop, such as the abbey and Laura's schloss, whilst The Picture of Dorian Gray and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde are set within a city location.

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The first, and arguably most influential problem arose through my initial plan to include five novels, with the fifth being Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. Whilst this would have created more room for discussion, I soon discovered that there was not adequate space to appropriately explore and analyse all texts in detail if this fifth was included.

I decided to drop this particular one for several reasons: firstly, it was the longest text so therefore required the most analysis, which I tjought would detract from the other texts. Secondly, I found the least amount of criticism surrounding this text, so I thought my arguments would be stronger with more evidence to back up my claims, as found in the other texts.

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My Strengths

I found that most of my strengths came from being able to overcome problems I had discovered during my research. For example, making the decision to drop Wuthering Heights required pragmatic thinking to create the best outcome for my epq.

I have also found a strength in being able to discern important and relevant information from that which is less so. For example, within the scholarly articles I used, some were less relevant and provided less information than others, and so I was able to decide which would better further my project.

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