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ENG L357 Southern Gothic Literature

This course guide is intended to help students in L357 complete their final papers.

Always Cite Your Sources!

Why cite your sources in the first place? Well, citing is a way of giving credit where credit is due and ensures that you won't get blamed for claiming another person's work as your own. 

For proper citation guidelines for MLA style, check out the library's MLA style guide cheat sheet. The Purdue Owl Online Writing Lab also has a fantastic breakdown of all the variables that come into play when citing using this format. Check out their section on MLA Formatting for more information.

Having Problems?

If you get stuck during any part of your research, feel free to contact me, Nora Wood, the subject librarian in charge of this course guide. Email me at and I will help you work through your struggle!

Welcome to the L357 Southern Gothic Literature course guide!

This class is a survey course of the literature of the American Southern Gothic tradition. Elements that differentiate this type of literature from others are a focus on the grotesque, damaged or disturbing characters, settings and buildings in various stages of decay, and dark events arising from crime, racial tensions, and alienation. This course specifically focuses on the literature of Flanner O'Connor (Wise BloodThe Violent Bear It Away, selected short stories from A Good Man is Hard to Find short story collection), William Faulkner (As I Lay DyingAbsalom, Absalom!The Sound and the Fury), Walker Percy (The MoviegoerLost in the Cosmos, and selected essays from Signposts in a Strange Land), Cormac McCarthy (The RoadAll the Pretty Horses), with excerpts from Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, and Carson McCullers' short stories.


Your Assignment:

The final course paper allows you to choose a particular work that you read this semester, select a particular or several related particular thematic elements, and write a research paper of 12-15 pages in length with a minimum of 15 citations. Given the breadth of topics covered, this course guide provides multiple means of finding valuable resources (from books to journals and articles) that will enhance your knowledge of the subject and provide helpful criticism already written to amplify your findings.

Resources about Literature at Indiana University

Before beginning a search, it's important to note what kind of resources your institution makes available to you.

  • English and American Language and Literature
    The librarians at Herman B Wells Library have been hard at work, creating a subject page devoted to English and American Language and Literature to assist you with all your needs. This provides a vast breadth of databases relating to any and every aspect of the broader field of English and American Language and Literature, and serves as a good starting place to dabble with various resources.
  • American Language and Literature Concentration
    Within the broader concentration listed above, you can choose a number of specific concentrations (e.g., Indexes & Databases, Reviews & Criticism, World, etc.) to access resources more related to your particular subject area. Perusing the databases and resources assigned to the American Language and Literature concentration will give you a better idea of those areas of particular interest to you in your studies.