Elements of Southern Gothic Literature
Literature comes in all types of styles and one type is Southern Gothic. But what makes a story develop into this type of Southern Gothic style? There are many characteristics that are apparent in literature, so what conditions are distinct that would give them the term Southern Gothic literature? What kind of elements do we call for when trying to find this type of literature?
Southern Gothic is a literature that has a style all its own. It has it unique elements such as being Southern based (characters or place), then we have characters with these righteous attitudes, and then it would not be Gothic without a tragedy. Now in Wikipedia we have Southern Gothic literature being defined as “relying on supernatural, ironic or unusual events to guide the plot.” It also state that “one feature of Southern Gothic is “the grotesque” -this includes characters with a cringe-inducing quality.” The word grotesque comes up many times when defining this style of writing as Di Renzo describe it “…freaks and cripples who wear their physical and mental deformities like badges” (4). The setting in this style of writing is an eerie, or unusual place, or circumstance. So these are the things that help define Southern Gothic literature.
These are the kind of things we will look for in three of the stories we are going to review to see if we can find the stuff that make them Southern Gothic. But first we have to to take a look at two of the authors of these stories to see if we could get a better understanding of their writings. And in addition get some background into their style of writing.
Two authors that are very well known for this type of Southern Gothic literature are William Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor. William Faulkner as stated in “The Mississippi Writers Page” was born in Mississippi. He never finished High School but, later joined the Royal Air Force. Faulkner later told many stories about his experiences in the Royal air force that were very untrue. Like faking injuries, and also faking his status in the Royal Air Force. Faulkner had many obstacles in his life like drinking and debt issues. But Faulkner was a great writer he was so great that he was awarded the Noble Prize (MWP). The story of Faulkner’s life is very similar to that of Southern Gothic Literature.
Then we have Flannery O’Connor she “…was a devout Roman Catholic, with a Southern upbringing” (Whitt 1). All of O’Connor’s writings are done in a Southern scene with a Christian theme, but they end in tragedy. As Di Renzo stated “her procession of unsavory characters “conjures up, in her own words, “an image of Gothic monstrosities”… (2). Flannery O’Connor was highly criticized for her work as a writer, because of her style of writing, and her use of God. It was stated that “…whatever the stories may have meant to her, they often send a quite different message to the reader”… (Bandy). But the stories of O’Connor take a...