Close: A Collection of Southern Gothic Short Stories

Open Access
Utter, Meghan Page
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Leisha J Jones, Thesis Supervisor
  • Xiaoye You, Honors Advisor
  • Southern Gothic
  • short story
  • death
  • mental illness
  • depression
  • lesbian
  • supernatural
Southern Gothic is a subgenre of Gothic literature, characterized by its setting in the American South and inclusion of macabre, supernatural, grotesque, and ironic elements. Authors of Southern Gothic used the genre to criticize problematic aspects of culture at the time of the Reconstruction Era. Three common features of this genre are its heteronormativity, death and decay, and inclusion of handicapped characters. This collection will challenge these tropes. The first story, Life Keeps Going, will include a mentally ill person, but stray away from portraying him as an innocent or a menace, a common dichotomy in Southern Gothic literature. The second, That’s Everything, deals with death and decay, but contrasts the violent death commonly found in the genre by portraying a more peaceful death. The third story, Witch One, will challenge the heteronormativity of the genre by centering on a same-sex couple.