Nothing Is as It Seems: Reading Deviance in Faulkner's Sanctuary and McCullers' Reflections in a Golden Eye

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Johnson, Amanda Rachel
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Middle Tennessee State University
Both William Faulkner and Carson McCullers question distinctions between deviance and normalcy through characters that challenge parameters of socially accepted behavior. In Sanctuary (1931) Faulkner presents the seedy underworld of a Memphis brothel; he entices readers into this social abyss while prompting them to investigate the crimes presented and to ponder the cloudy sources of deviant behavior. In Reflections in a Golden Eye (1941) McCullers portrays a commonplace world--that of an army base--in opposition to its commonplace depictions; in the process, she transforms readers from mere voyeurs into voyeur creators. Although McCullers, the younger writer, was influenced by Faulkner, she did not slavishly imitate his ideas. Instead, she employed a process of narrative inversion that expands upon Faulkner's own manipulations of the detective genre. When read together, the two novels highlight ways in which presentations of voyeurism, deviance, and normalcy extend the range of the modern southern grotesque.
Deviance, Faulkner, McCullers, Reflections in a Golden Eye, Sanctuary