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Spring 2014 Books & Film Class Topic – Faulkner & Flannery: Exploring the Southern Gothic Held Wednesdays through February 26 at UL Lafayette Instructor: Dr. Mary Ann Wilson This is the final set of class notes on this topic.  In the final class, we watched John Huston's 1979 film version of Flannery O'Connor's Wise Blood. Reading the book wasn't required and the movie can stand alone, but Wise Blood is a wacky story and a must-read for any O'Connor fan. Her first novel, Wise Blood was published in 1952 and received little attention at the time. The first chapter is an expansion of her master's thesis, "The Train,' from the University of Iowa, and other chapters are reworked versions of short stories she wrote. You'd never know that from reading it though. Wise Blood is a cohesive story that's very clearly written. While strange and extreme, it's also very O'Connor and incorporates all of her favorite themes to perfection. If you consider the time period, O'Connor was working on her prayer journal, released earlier this year, at the same time as Wise Blood. She was envisioning herself as a writer like she never had before and also struggling with her faith, asking God to "make me a

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Spring 2014 Books & Film Class Topic – Faulkner & Flannery: Exploring the Southern Gothic Held Wednesdays through February 26 at UL Lafayette Instructor: Dr. Mary Ann Wilson Notes will be updated each Friday through February 28; comment to join in the discussion. On Wednesday, we delved into Faulkner's second novel As I Lay Dying. His most well known and the one that's taught in high school English, this novel has all the elements of the Southern Gothic. "You can't get more Southern Gothic than carting your mother's rotting corpse across the state for burial," says Dr. Wilson. As I Lay Dying is also one of the few books by Faulkner that has much humor in it, but not everyone in class agreed with that. Some viewed the novel as quite dark, but I can admit I chuckled a few times, especially in some scenes with Anse Bundren. It also helps to consider the time period this book is set in — the Depression-era South — and that the Bundren family is poor white trash, only a step up from the African Americans, who are mostly absent in this book. Most of them have their own motives for wanting to go to Jefferson to bury their mother,

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