Honors Program

Honors in English

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Michael Cody

Thesis Professor Department

Literature and Language

Thesis Reader(s)

Jesse Graves, Tom Lee


In both Outer Dark and Child of God, McCarthy does a masterful job of blending the elements of Appalachian Gothic to present a novel that is darkly suspenseful and grimly thought-provoking. Outer Dark focuses on the complex incestuous relationship between a brother and sister and their interaction with others. The novel follows the two on a journey through the wilderness where they must cope with the unknown qualities of that wilderness, as well as the guilt stemming from their own behaviors. In Child of God, McCarthy explores the grotesque nature of a life lived in isolation and poverty in the mountains. This novel focuses more on an individual descent into the gruesome depths that illustrate the main character’s depravity. In these two novels McCarthy examines the darker side of life in Appalachia, and forces readers to question the purpose and meaning for the characters’ lives and actions.

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Copyright by the authors.