Gothic Literature : The Southern Gothic Fiction

1476 Words Dec 8th, 2014 6 Pages
Authors use morbidly dark and eccentric characters combined with southern charm and the ever-present gender divide to tell stories that represent a writing style known as southern gothic literature. “Southern Gothic is a subgenre of Gothic fiction unique to American literature that takes place exclusively in the American South. Elements of a Gothic treatment of the South were apparent in the 19th century, ante- and post-bellum, in the grotesques of Henry Clay Lewis and the de-idealized visions of Mark Twain.[3] The genre came together, however, only in the 20th century, when Dark Romanticism, Southern humour, and the new Naturalism merged into a new and powerful form of social critique.” (Wikipedia) Almost all stories told in the southern gothic genre have blemished characters that act in strange and weird manners, often told with dark, deadly humor. Set in the south, story lines are always ominous and disastrous focusing on poverty, estrangement, illegal activity and/or brutality. These writings are fraught with gender bias and typically centered on common southern themes such as the downfall of the southern upper class and the futility of the southern plantation. Southern gothic style attempts to uncover social issues specific to the south with the use of ghoulish and ironic events, disturbing and damaged characters, and grotesque themes ultimately revealing a less than desirable culture. Perverted countryside settings became the norm, with southern gothic writings…
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