The southern gothic
"Gothic literature", as is defined by Dictionary.com, represents "noting or pertaining to a style of literature characterized by a gloomy setting, grotesque, mysterious, or violent events, and an atmosphere of degeneration and decay" genre that can be found in "The Cask of Amontillado" written by Edgar Allan Poe. On the other hand , we have another literary genre, the "Southern Gothic" which in most of the times is characterized by some grotesque, macabre, or fantastic incidents, clearly represented in "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" written by Flannery O'Connor.
In this essay, I will try to analyze how "the cask of Amontillado" and "A Good Man Is Hard to find" fit into the category of "Gothic" and "Southern Gothic" respectively, showing some examples of that. In Gothic fiction, is normally to find a lot of disturbed spaces, castles and described places. Allan Poe is a good exponent of all those descriptions in Gothic fiction.
In 'The Cask of Amontillado', we can find illusion, and I think in same way some kind of terror. The point of view is most of the times in the first Person and the narrator is the protagonist. The situation, in this genre is Gothic horror, and usually that uses to be the most important element of the writing. The writer focuses more on describing the scene than the characters.
On the other hand, we have "A Good Man is Hard to Find" which is one of the most famous examples of "Southern Gothic" literature by Flannery O'Connor. This literature, is writing been focuses on some specific events, to create a picture of life in the American South. In general, these kinds of stories usually describe the tragic history of slavery with a bad ending. People, places, and events in "Southern Gothic" literature appear to be normal at the beginning, but they eventually show themselves sometimes horrific. Flannery O'Connor was one of the best writers in this "Southern Gothic" genre giving realism to her novels and short stories. As early gothic writer she used the genre in part to writers criticized southern America. We can find in her works some realistic actions and choices making then in my opinion really interesting to read.
In "The Cask of Amontillado", there is a classic example of the "perfect crime". The story characteristic is revenge and secret murder, the permanent horror of the story is the fact of criticism without evidence. the narrator in some parts of this story gives the impression of missing information to create more suspense and to make the reader more interested, in my opinion Allan Poe also uses language to create a sense of coming death in "The Cask of Amontillado" One of the keys to the suspense that carries through the story is to creates a sense of place as well as premonition. The story "The Cask of Amontillado"use descriptive words and images to create a sense of specific atmosphere typically in the Gothic genre of literature.
Allan Poe, carefully chooses words that create more tension for the reader. One example of that can be found in this sentence: "It was about dusk, one evening during the supreme madness of the carnival season". Instead of being given a representation of light environment, the end of the day and much like the narrator's intentions, it is create a clear darkness. The atmosphere created by Poe looks like if the situation taking place during a time of "highest madness". In this story, there is an atmosphere of madness and chaos rather than joy and fun.
Ones again I find that in this other example, is a clear image of Gothic literature "putting on a mask of black silk and drawing a roquelaire closely". Not only do we have mysterious and chaotic scenery, but now I imagine might look like death itself a very dark and typically Gothic image fitting perfectly the story in the genre of gothic literature.
On the other hand Flannery O'Connor in "A Good Man is Hard to Find" includes Christianity and religions in her story, basically because she had an important influences of Christian and Roman Catholic faith in her life, creating a debate of those topics in her story. She gets into and question of what really defines someone as being "a good man". Gothic writing gives a generally of dark mood to the story. Images of the grotesque and the idea of irony is known during all Gothic writing.
In "A Good Man is Hard to Find," O'Connor uses the key elements of Gothic style, and places them in a Southern situation, to examine society's attitudes towards social class, violence, religion, and family relationships. O'Connor tries to define Southern Gothic writing by using some Southern stereotypes. The Grandmother is the typical Southern woman. She is distant from the real world, her only knowledge coming from television and newspapers
She is preoccupied by her manners and her vanity, and is constantly remarking about the family's lack of respect for their elders. She even dresses in her Sunday best clothes for the car ride to Florida, so we can appreciate it in this sentence "case of an accident, anyone seeing her dead on the highway would know at once she was a lady." The author uses these to show up and criticize the themes and values of the American South.
O'Connor uses the gothic genre in which she tries to reflect violence as the same time that humor and good to give a clear understanding of the story. The author uses her religious beliefs and thoughts in her stories.
In the story "A Good Man Is Hard To Find, O'Connor focuses on mainly on two characters; the grandmother and the Misfit. In Each character O'Connor wants to reflect her understanding of spiritual and Southern American culture. O'Connor was able to communicate her southern gothic manners into each character, which brought life into the story. The beginning of the story, my reactions to the grandmother was that she was one who did now wrong. For all reasons I mentioned earlier, this story perfectly fits in the "Southern Gothic" literature.