Date of Award


Thesis Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Liberal Studies


Dr. Gail Sinclair

Second Advisor

Dr. J Thomas Cook


In his novel Winesburg, Ohio, Sherwood Anderson describes a grotesque as someone who has “snatched up” a “truth,” “called it his truth, and tried to live his life by it” (23-4). This one defining “truth” manifests in the grotesque’s life in the form of a number of significant psychological deformities such as fanaticism, denial of reality, and turning inward upon oneself, isolating the grotesque from those around him and arresting his emotional and psychological growth. Using Anderson’s paradigm, this thesis explores the pervasive use of the psychological grotesque in modern American literature by examining the overlapping features of grotesque characters in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom!, and Flannery O’Connor’s The Violent Shall Bear It Away as well as the incongruities and paradoxes of the modern American experience revealed through the use of the grotesque.

Rights Holder

Amanda Rainwater Turnbull