25. “Identical Boxes Spreading like Gangrene”: Defining the Suburban Gothic

  1. Charles L. Crow
  1. Bernice M. Murphy

Published Online: 13 SEP 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118608395.ch25

A Companion to American Gothic

A Companion to American Gothic

How to Cite

Murphy, B. M. (2013) “Identical Boxes Spreading like Gangrene”: Defining the Suburban Gothic, in A Companion to American Gothic (ed C. L. Crow), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118608395.ch25

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 13 SEP 2013
  2. Published Print: 25 NOV 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470671870

Online ISBN: 9781118608395

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Keywords:

  • Suburban Gothic;
  • Landscape;
  • Environment;
  • Anxiety;
  • 1950s;
  • Richard Matheson;
  • Shirley Jackson;
  • Stephen King;
  • Haunted Houses;
  • Economic Anxiety

Summary

This article defines the Suburban Gothic as a sub-genre of the wider American Gothic tradition, citing major tropes, themes, and texts from 1948 to the present. It briefly discusses the work of authors working within this mode such as Richard Matheson, Jack Finney, Shirley Jackson, Stephen King, Lionel Shriver and Alice Sebold, as well as films such as Poltergeist, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Paranormal Activity, Donnie Darko, Take Shelter, Ginger Snaps and The Amityville Horror, and the television series Bewitched, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Desperate Housewives. In addition, the article discusses the way in which the subgenre adapts or reconfigures traditional gothic tropes such as the invasion narrative, the imprisoned heroine, the haunted house, the doppelganger, the return of the repressed – in order to reflect specifically twentieth and twenty-first century concerns and preoccupations.