Date of Award

2010

Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Department

Religious Studies

First Advisor

Kevin Lewis

Abstract

This project explores the influence of literature on the religious South's progression beyond the civil religion of the Lost Cause. In this examination, I trace the development of the Southern mind from its inception into the Jim Crow South. In doing so, I contend that portions of the religious South became so entranced by their region's mythologized past that the Lost Cause grew to be the object of their ultimate concern. The negative effects of this brand of worship are at the forefront of the selected works of the three literary giants. Through an examination of William Faulkner's Light in August (1932), Flannery O'Connor's "The Displaced Person" (1954), and Eudora Welty's The Optimist's Daughter (1972), I illustrate how these authors critiqued the failures of a region that is haunted by its past and therefore unable to live up to the religious ideals that it professes.

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