Southern Gothic Literature

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Brianna Smith
March 8, 2012
Honors English II
Southern Gothic Literature
Southern Gothic Literature is a genre that focuses on events occurring in the American South after the Civil War. It involves supernatural events, monsters, heroes, and must reveal social and cultural issues. Boo Radley, a character who lives in Maycomb, fits the supernatural role in Southern Gothic Literature. To fit this role, ironic and unusual events should occur involving that person. Boo does a lot of unusual things throughout the story. He lives in an old, eerie house which reflects his character, “the misery of that house began many years before” (9). Scout and Jem were born after Boo Radley started staying inside, and Boo ended up being hidden for years. He is sheltered, deprived, and keeps to himself. The house begins to represent Boo and how he lives in “misery.” This is ironic because most people like to be social when living in a neighborhood like his, but it’s his choice to be kept up inside. If he’s really miserable, you would think he would change the way he’s living. He “dined on raw squirrels and any cats he could catch,” which isn’t the normal for most people (13). In fact, it’s quite disturbing. Including the fact that he dines on raw squirrels and cats helps his character fit the role even better because this is very unusual. The fact that he hasn’t made any physical appearances yet shows that he is only viewed in spirit; he is truly a supernatural creature. When the kids thought they “saw an inside shutter move,” it gave the readers a hint that Boo Radley might actually be the “malevolent phantom” he’s portrayed as (12). This isn’t unusual in the sense of him eating squirrels, but unusual as in he’s never been seen by Scout, Jem, or many others, but it seems as though he’s getting curious. Whether or not he fits the title given to him by the people of Maycomb, they are going to believe whatever they hear because it has been a controversial topic for fifteen years....
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