Flannery O'Connor was a Southern gothic writer, a subgenre of Gothic fiction. Edgar Allan Poe, the father of Gothic fiction, contributed substantially to it. Many gothic elements of O'Connor are from Poe. These two writers have been from the same region. Her fiction does not include the exact writing style of Poe. Despite that, she has successfully used gothic elements slightly differently than he had and altered its elements in her writings.
She has imbued mental and physical alienation, confinement, grotesque, macabre, and isolated places with a gothic motif in her short stories, 'The Life You Save May Be Your Own', 'Good Country People' and 'A Good Man Is Hard to Find'. Her characters do not have supernatural elements in her selected short stories, but they are harmful and flawed. They elicit sympathy from the readers for their plight but do the opposite to their appearance. It adds grotesque, a gothic fiction sub-element. It makes her short stories compelling.
Unlike Poe, her villain and evil characters usually do not directly kill. They try to mentally hurt the victims, as in the first two stories. The story revolves around the idea of alienation. While decaying and desolate surroundings create an isolated zone in Poe's writings, self-absorption is the primary cause of alienation in O'Connor's works. Swindling individuals’ entails macabre, such as confinement in O'Connor's stories. On the contrary, it is supernatural in Poe's work.
In terms of location, the stories’ settings are similar. Alternatively, the story's primary storyline and climax are often confined inside a small area. Many of these elements are apparent in Poe’s ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’, ‘The Cask of Amontillado’ and ‘The Pit and the Pendulum’. This paper will study how O’Connor has traced Poe in her selected short stories.
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