Monday, March 12, 2018

A Monstrous List of Southern Gothic Elements


Photo by Ashley Knedler on Unsplash

I'd honestly love to see more Gothics set in the American South. So, I'm hoping to spark some writerly imaginations by providing a list of Southern and Appalachian Gothic elements. It would even be great to see some of these elements in a Dark Fantasy, Gothic Romance or some other unexpected Dark Fiction. Here's to your journey into the deeply dark and at times grotesque, but always disturbing, world of the Southern Gothic.



Settings
Decaying Plantations
Tin roof shacks in the woods
Swamp shacks
Bayou
Wilderness
Derelict old houses
Swamps
Southern Appalachia
Mississippi River
Deep South

Characters
Hellfire and brimstone preachers
Steely matriarchs
Henpeck husbands
Redneck/Hillbilly
Patriarchs
Moonshiners
White suited plantation owner
Sherriff
Corrupt government official
Southern Belles
Scantily-clad country girls
Shut in
Locked up grotesque, physically deformed or mentally deficient
Outsider
Loyal housemaid/servant

Themes
Family Secrets
Dark History
Southern values
Hypocrisy
Moral integrity
Demoralization
Sexism
Incest
Alcoholism
Slavery
Racial oppression
Violence
Domestic Violence
Rape
Social issues – Family, Race, Poverty
Decaying morals, decaying society
Mental disorders
Isolation

Other Southern Gothic Elements
Rusty farm equipment/implements
Cotton gins
Spanish moss
Alligators
Voodoo/Hoodoo
Snakes
Decay
Cotillions
Pageantry
The Klan
Lynching/Lynch Mobs
Corncob pipes
Chain Gangs
Shotgun weddings
Good O’Boy network
Civil War and the Confederacy
Dismemberment
Disfigurements
Heat/oppressive humidity
River baptisms
Southern hospitality

Notable Southern Gothic Authors and Reads
William Faulkner. As I Lay Dying.
Harper Lee. To Kill a Mockingbird.
Flannery O’Connor. A Good Man is Hard to Find.
Cormac McCarthy. Outer Dark.
Truman Capote. Other Voices, Other Rooms.

There are many more by these authors and others, you can find more suggestions for Southern Gothic books.

What other elements would you add to this list? Do you have a favorite Southern Gothic novel? Are you using any of these elements in your writing? I'd love to hear about it. Let me know in the comments below.

Always stay Beautifully Haunted,

♥  Shadow.

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3 comments:

  1. God and the Devil, ghosts and ghouls, witchcraft, graveyards

    ReplyDelete
  2. Do you think new Orleans is the literary capital of the south

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When it comes to history culture and architecture
      It has swamps, plantations
      Antebellum mansions in the garden district the beautiful and alluring French quarter
      The eerie above ground cemeteries
      New Orleans was the wealthiest city in America in the early to mid 1800s
      And was the main leading city of the south until the 1950s
      New Orleans to me seems to be at least one of the main literary capitals🤓⚜⚜⚜

      Delete