Southern Capitulation—written in the Southern Gothic tradition.
Walker Percy argued that in the early 70’s, southern literature was preoccupied with race…that
is no longer the case.
“The south had become American, no better, no worse.”
Modern day tradition of the Southern Gothic literature deals with depravity, sacredness, the
Christian condition, dealing with our own fallibility, recognizing the demon that is within the
self, suffering as a consequence of our delusions, and attempting to gloss over deep, dark
mysteries that tend to be dealt with in a very superfluous kind of way—which always gets us in
Who is saved and what is salvation?
The mere fact that we get this southern suburb without a name or a state it is rich in gothic
religious sensibility and the teenage world of sex, drugs, rock and roll, and abductions.
What is causing 14-year old blondes to be abducted every week?
Is it simply horrible guys or is
there something in the culture.
Ginger, the daughter of a widowed Lutheran minister and Sandy (who needs to be read very
carefully) that has been abducted from her summer camp.
The narratives alternate between both
girls—we here the story of each girl.
Does one have to be sacrificed in order for the other to live?
Can they both survive?
, Steinke is intent not only on sketching out the lives of the two main
characters, she also wants to expose the community that the characters have grown up in—the
surreal landscape of strip malls, fast food restaurants, modern technology (cell phones) and
deserted parking lots and make them into a gothic and timeless place—but also a world where
little girls disappear and hippies announce that Jesus has turned into a redneck.
Description of the people in the parish—Steinke is engaging the myth of the suburbs.
suburbs used to be considered perfect after WWII, but it’s not perfect…but there is the
undercurrent of dirt—not everything happens in the urban areas, it also happens in the suburbs—
even more so—you get everything here, in the suburbs.
“Mrs. Hofner, who told everyone her husband died of a heart attack, had actually
nudged an electric radio into his hot bath; or the Koenigs, whose eldest son hung
himself in the backyard wearing his sister’s prom dress and the Robertson newlyweds,
who got involved with cocaine and kinky sex and were still in a detox center in West
Then there were the more mundane confessions, the loneliness of the older
members, the disappointments of middle-aged ones.
Sometimes her father saw people
in his home office and Ginger would put her ear to the door, listen to a woman