Presenter(s): Leah Tripp
Title: Nefarious Nurturing: Gothic Mothering and Wise Blood
Developed under the guidance of Dr. Sherry Truffin , English
Mothers and monsters. Two entities that, at first glance, seem opposite to one another. But what happens when mothers become monsters? Hazel Motes, the protagonist of Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood, provides a glimpse into the impact of distorted motherhood. Hazel’s journey appears to be centered around starting a religion void of Christ, but closer examination suggests that his anger towards religion has as much to do with his mother’s influence as it does with God. This essay explores Motes as a matrophobic character (one who fears separation from and identification with the mother) and matrophobia in Gothic literature overall.