Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Mark Noble

Second Advisor

Dr. Paul Schmidt

Third Advisor

Dr. Robert S. Lightsey


Lester Ballard’s character in Child of God is one example of a socially marginalized outcast who figures prominently in Southern Gothic literature. Furthermore, he is ostracized from a homogenous community and propagates terror in its outskirts. Ballard’s disturbingly quotidian life allows for a werewolf motif to emerge, echoing the werewolf mythos of ancient Greek and Medieval tales. Placing Ballard’s violent delights within the context of werewolf studies illuminates a series of questions concerning identity, existentialism, and alterity in a text devoid of the supernatural. This thesis contends that the text’s lycanthropic links manifest not through traditional werewolf conventions but as an effect of revestimiento near the climax of the plot, allowing Ballard to assume (an)other body. Deconstructionist and existentialist approaches towards the text make Lester Ballard’s werewolf subjectivity a unique ground for discussing the broader issues of identity, monstrosity, and alterity in the context of monster studies.


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