Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2023

Author's School

Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts

Author's Department

Graduate School of Art

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Illustration & Visual Culture

Degree Type



From the inception of the genre, Gothic horror has been fixated on the domestic space in distress. This essay explores domestic archetypes and roles of the Gothic novel, serving as a “tour of the house”, analyzing the iconography of the dark castle, and how it externalizes and exacerbates the fears and behaviors of its inhabitants. The power dynamic of the household is starkly divided by the expectations and authority of masculine and feminine figures. In turn the “house” becomes a vehicle for the anxieties of the inhabitants—both experienced and inflicted—regarding gender, sexuality, isolation, and abuse. Exploration of the visual and thematic vocabulary of the genre allows for discussion of the afterlives of the tradition, and how the scaffolding of the genre can be used to address issues of domestic abuse and gendered violence in a nuanced way.



Program Chair

John Hendrix