Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Martha E. Cook, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Candis LaPrade, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Michael Lund, Ph.D.


The strange mixtures of opposites in the south often provide a fast-moving culture not easily recognized or categorized. The opposition to Christianity does not often deal specifically with Jesus Christ, the New Testament, or other Christian philosophies. Rather, the Christianity in conflict is usually symbolized by the church, a preacher, or other Christian rituals and traditions. Thus, it is the system of Christianity that is in conflict with many of the characters’ freedom, not necessarily the philosophy of Christianity. The struggles against religion in Ernest J. Gaines’s writings Love and Dust and A Lesson Before Dying are displayed through character beliefs and experiences.

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