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Dreadfulness of Modern Experience

Powerful Essays
Tennessee Williams described Sothern Gothic literature as a style that captured “the underlying dreadfulness in modern experience” (Hemmerling). The literature intended to reveal the social issues surrounding the time period. Features of this literature, “includes situations and places as well as unsavory characters that are often racist, religious fanatic, egotistical or self-righteous” (Kullmer). This description of Southern Gothic literature also fits other genres of post Civil War American literature. Works by authors such as Mark Twain, Charles Chesnutt, Sui Sin Far, Henry James, Kate Chopin, Zora Neale Hurston and Earnest Hemingway also contain characters, situation, and places revealing similar social controversies displaying racism, sexism, and egotistical behavior.
In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, Twain’s main characters depicted the societal issues of racism in the South. Huck Finn, a poor white boy, and Jim, an African American slave, both encounter situations that cause these characters inter turmoil because of the societal standards of the time. According to Mark Twain in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,
It was fifteen minutes before I could work myself up to go and humble myself to a nigger—but I don’t it, and I warn’t ever sorry for it afterwards, neither. I didn’t do him no more mean tricks, and I wouldn’t done that one if I’d knowed it would make him feel that way. (Vol. C, 183).

This quote displays dreadful contemplation Huck Finn encounters when he self reflects on his actions towards Jim. Huck Finn must decide between what he feels is appropriate verses what society deems as acceptable. Huck battles with himself because in his heart he knows a friend would to apologize for ca...

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...rs and situations to help explain the societal issues surrounding the time period. The dreadfulness comes from the controversial issues and feelings these characters experience. These characters must overcome these dreadful experiences in order to change what society deems as acceptable in the future.

Works Cited

Baym, Nina, and Robert S. Levine. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. 8th ed.
Vol. C. New York: W. W. Norton &, 2012. Print.

Baym, Nina, and Robert S. Levine. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. 8th ed.
Vol. D. New York: W. W. Norton &, 2012. Print.

Far, Sui Sin. Mrs. Spring Frangrnace. N.p.: Literacy Classics of the US Inc, 2009. PDF.
Hemmerling, Jane. "Exam Final Prompt." 13 Dec. 2013. Prompt.

Kullmer, Katharina. Tennessee Williams' Play "Orpheus Descending" - an Analysis. N.p.:
GRIN Verlag, 2009. Google Play. Web. 13 Dec. 2013.