Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Robert Snyder Ph.D.


Automobile, William Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, Gothic, Violence


Southern literature, from the first half of the twentieth century, deals primarily with the transition from an agrarian to an industrial society. The conflict in the Southern novel is a result of the protagonist's inability to transition from the structure of the Old to the New South. The Southern protagonist is often quite unconscious of his inability to adapt to the modern world because he suffers from a "diffusion of time perspective." As the protagonist struggles to find a harmonic balance between traditional and modern, he is ultimately unable to avoid a tragic fate. The "violence" that must take place in Southern literature is often a final resort of the character when all other alternatives have failed. He is inevitably drawn by fate (or by the hand of God) towards the crossroads where a choice must be made between the agrarian or industrial, between archaic morality or modern atheism, a collision that must be radically violent to be justified. This violent collision reaches its pinnacle of expression in violence involving the automobile.