In Southern Gothic, the most important concept is the grotesque. With the grotesque, reality is distorted into ugly and absurd shapes. “I use the grotesque the way I do because people are deaf and dumb and need help to see and hear,” Flannery O’Connor once said. By exaggerating reality, we are able to actually see it. The grotesque is a balance of contradictions. It creeps and crawls between repulsion and attraction, the real and the unreal, and humor and horror. The sublime floats in the mind, but the grotesque is experienced in the body—in turning stomachs, goose bumps, and sweat.
I understand this life, I am matter,
your father, I made you, when I say now that I love you
I mean look down at your hand, move it,
that motion is matter’s love, for human
love go elsewhere.
Sharon Olds, My Father Speaks To Me From The Dead, The Father