The southern gothic tradition is a literary genre that emerged in the American South in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It is characterized by its dark, macabre, and grotesque themes, as well as its depiction of the South as a place of moral decay and corruption.
One of the key features of southern gothic literature is its focus on the grotesque and the macabre. This includes the use of supernatural or otherworldly elements, such as ghosts or monsters, as well as the portrayal of disturbing or grotesque events or characters. These elements serve to highlight the darker side of the South and to expose the corrupt and disturbing aspects of its society.
Another key feature of southern gothic literature is its portrayal of the South as a place of moral decay and corruption. This includes the depiction of corrupt or flawed characters, such as corrupt politicians or decadent aristocrats, as well as the portrayal of societal problems, such as racism and classism. These elements serve to expose the underlying flaws and problems of the Southern society and to critique its values and morals.
One of the most well-known examples of southern gothic literature is William Faulkner's "Absalom, Absalom!" This novel is set in the South and features a number of grotesque and macabre elements, such as the portrayal of a family torn apart by greed and jealousy, as well as the depiction of a corrupt and decadent society. Other notable examples of southern gothic literature include Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man is Hard to Find" and Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood."
Overall, the southern gothic tradition is a literary genre that explores the dark and disturbing aspects of the American South and exposes the underlying flaws and problems of its society. Its use of grotesque and macabre elements serves to highlight the corrupt and disturbing aspects of the South and to critique its values and morals.
Southern Ontario Gothic
Right in the place where it happened. She eventually turns into a pariah, and the townspeople report hardly seeing her at all. Richard Wright, 12 Million Black Voices 1941; repr. Though she… Ethical Traditions In Shirley Jackson's The Lottery Change is a great and a necessary evil. She could start dating and her father could not chase them away anymore. Retrieved November 20, 2022. The Pulitzer Prize-winning To Kill a Mockingbird 1960 is told by the tomboy Scout and draws on Gothic traits to examine boundaries of race, class, and gender in the 1930s South.
Often, their physical disfigurements—limps, wooden legs, cross-eyes, crippled limbs—serve as markers of a corrupt moral compass and point to the ways in which writers of Southern Gothic engage with the discrepancy between perceived, heteronormative normalcy and the repressed realities beneath that assumption. Thomas Ærvold Bjerre and Beata Zawadka Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars, 2014 , 84. Joe Christmas, a black man passing as white, is accused of sleeping with and murdering a white woman. The clash between Old South and New South takes on a Gothic hue in which the suppressed sins of slavery, patriarchy, and class strife bubble to the surface in uncanny ways. Susan Castillo Street and Charles L. The style of writing has evolved from the American Gothic tradition, which again evolved from the English Gothic tradition.
A Rose for Emily Literary Context: Faulkner and the Southern Gothic Tradition Summary & Analysis
If they're all alike, why do they go out of their way to despise each other? Toni Morrison, Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination New York: Vintage, 1992 , 38. For now, my purpose in mentioning the uncanny is simply to point out that the grotesque plays a similar role in distorting our perception of reality. Themes of legacy are prevalent, as well as a sense of mourning for Southern times gone by — some characters mourn the loss of a supposed halcyon time, while other mourn the enduring pain of a traumatic time. Eric Gary Anderson et al. In other plays, such as The Glass Menagerie 1944 , A Streetcar Named Desire 1947 , and Sweet Bird of Youth 1959 , Williams created Gothic spaces of boundary crossings as well as other familiar tropes of the Southern Gothic, such as disintegrating southern families, alienation, loneliness, alcoholism, and physical and psychological violence. She had become humanized". If you enjoyed this post, share it with your friends! The history of the South is represented through the settings of the stories.
When in the sixteenth century, underground rooms, covered with artwork, were uncovered, the public began to refer to this style of art as grotesque — referring to its source. Changes are not easily made in life. Retrieved November 22, 2022. For instance, Miss Emily kept her late father's body and refused to give him up, showing an inability to let go. His fictional Yoknapatawpha County was home to the bitter Civil War defeat and the following social, racial, and economic ruptures in the lives of its people.
Sally and Robert Fitzgerald New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2000 , 28. Although they are initially relieved when help comes, they realize that it is 'the Misfit,' an escaped convict who has stopped. I grew up in an era with the company of a unique mix of culture from China, Japan, and other western countries. But scholars still struggled with the legitimacy of the genre. The renewed academic interest in the American Gothic spilled over into southern studies and led to monographs focusing on Gothic elements in specific southern writers. Summary Southern Gothic is a mode or genre prevalent in literature from the early 19th century to this day. Tom is convicted and killed when he tries to escape.
William Faulkner, Requiem for a Nun 1951; repr. Scholars have long argued about the differences between the two terms, and many simply equate the two and use them interchangeably. This cast of characters includes: a tomboyish girl eager to grow up and start her music career, the observant owner of the cafe Singer eats at daily, an angry drunk, and an idealistic but disheartened African-American doctor. In others, it drives home the point that reality can be even darker than monsters and ghosts. The authors wrote fiction, but included supernatural and romantic elements. The Grotesque Married to Theme Of course, as in all Gothic writing, the tropes are used to make Gothic themes clear to the reader. What readers come to discover is that the skulking Lester is also a hermit and necrophiliac murderer.
The Importance Of Traditions In Southern Gothic Literature
Martin and Eric Savoy Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1998 , 99. Southern Gothic and African Americans African Americans have long had their own unique perspective on Southern Gothic and the repressed racial tensions at the heart of the genre. Many of the characters are broken in spirit and struggling to find a place in society once again. . Cormac McCarthy, Child of God 1973; repr. The aggressive title character of Martin Faber 1833 is a perverse Byronic figure, who confesses to murdering the innocent maiden Emily so he can marry the affluent Constance.
This trope describes, to a T, the setting of Other Voices, Other Rooms , a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel by an only twenty-three year old Truman Capote. What is Southern Gothic Literature? Many protagonists will be juxtaposed by a moral less antagonist; usually the epitome of evil. Historical Dictionary of Gothic Literature. Before we had reality television to gift us visceral thrills from the safety of our living rooms, we had Truman Capote. It delves into a nightmarish past and present with the intimacy of a lullaby, in the way only a really good Southern Gothic novel can. American Gothic fiction generally takes place in a distinctly American setting and tends to be characterized by themes and anxieties that were especially important to American discourse, such as religion, racial tension, nature and wilderness, and rationalism vs. Miss Emily's isolation is external with society and also resonates….
And when he marries into a respectable family, his journey to achieving that goal begins. You could use a werewolf to represent the inner rage and capacity for violence that all or some specific group of people have. And frequently it is an action in which the devil has been the unwilling instrument of grace. Many of the events contained in the stories are linked to racism, violence and poverty. The plots of Southern Gothic stories can be disturbing and some do include supernatural elements.
“A Rose for Emily”: Southern Gothic Literary Tradition Essay Example
The stories of Southern Gothic are, of course, set in the South. Yet he feels haunted by Christ and by gothic nightmares of being buried alive. While Poe is a foundational figure in Southern Gothic, William Faulkner 1897—1962 arguably looms the largest. Scout, I think I'm beginning to understand something. While Gothic writing initially began in England, American Gothic literature began in the 19th century, with short stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe. Teresa Goddu, Gothic America: Narrative, History, and Nation New York: Columbia University Press, 1997 , 3.