Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in English and University Honors
incest, southern, gothic
In this paper, I am exploring the topic of incest through the lens of the Southern Gothic literature genre. I am interested in why the American South has the stereotype of having more prevalence of individuals who engage in incest in mountain communities versus other parts of the communities in America. I explore the intersectionality of race, geographic isolation, religion, and the taboo of incest in a small community. I use the texts of William Faulkner, Cormac McCarthy, and Breece D'J Pancake to do in-depth analysis of Southern Gothic themes such as taboo, family secrets, Christianity, and the grotesque. By doing analysis of fiction the fictional works of these writers, I am able to gain a better understanding of why the south has a reputation for inbreeding. I also look at modern examples from a video project done by Mark Laita which shows the heavy inbreeding of a family in Odd, West Virginia. My reasons for writing this thesis is to shine light on the dark secret of incest and discover why certain parts of America may prone to engaging in acts over other parts.
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Young, Grace I., "Understanding the Taboo of Incest in the American South Through Analysis of Southern Gothic Literature" (2021). University Honors Theses. Paper 1141.