• The grotesque (freakish)
• The outsider
• Imprisonment (castle/house/jail)
• Strong Sense of Place
• Woman in distress
The grotesque (freakish)
• Horror elements as in Poe
• Madness is a form of the grotesque, as in Poe,
but also in Faulkner and The Yellow wallpaper
(not a southern story, but borrows from the
• Deformed characters as in O’Connor
• Also may go to an overwhelming sensual
effect…the accumulation of images as in The
Yellow wallpaper and in O’Connor
• May be a witness, as in Fall of the House of
• May be a victim like Homer Barron.
• May be one of the grotesque’s, as in the Misfit
• Look for outsiders who are also insiders like
• Big element in Poe…live burial/claustrophobia.
• Used by some women to suggest the
oppression of women (The Yellow Wallpaper).
• Has its roots in the European haunted
castle…look for buildings that
oppress/limit/conceal (House of Usher, Yellow
Wallpaper/Miss Emily’s house)
• Connects to imprisonment and the grotesque.
• Is the defining feature of the gothic.
• Characters rely on violence to resolve
• Violence often feels inevitable, fated.
• Southern writers in particular conjure a strong
sense of place.
• True more for Faulkner and O’Connor than
• Places become characters of their own…the
human characters ay be tied to the places.
Woman in Distress
• This is an old literary convention (think Iliad).
• Tied to the Gothic’s reliance on medieval ideas
• Used (flipped, almost sampled) by female
writers to demonstrate the extent of male
• Poe: death of a beautiful woman evokes