To study Southern literature is to inevitably study the search for Southern identity. Challenged by issues of gender, race, and class, the Southern literary tradition is immersed in the search for a static, definitive concept of Southern identity. Southern writers attempt to define this identity through an understanding of the past. But the South is a region with a particularly troubled history, marred by the ghost of slavery; as such, the South has essentially become the nation's "other," what Teresa Goddu calls "the repository for everything from which the nation wants to disassociate itself." In spite of its dubious reputation, Southern writers seemingly take pride in the region's status as "other," reflecting on human experience through the lens of the "outsider." Canonical Southern works, most notably the novels of Faulkner – such as Absalom, Absalom!, Light in August, or Sanctuary – typically present issues of racial or gender othering, using the other to question conventional codes and explain experience. In this study, I examine four contemporary novels – Cormac McCarthy's Outer Dark (1968) and Child of God (1973), William Gay's Twilight (2006), and Harry Crews's A Feast of Snakes (1976) – and suggest that these authors no longer focus on the racial or gendered other, but instead consider the other, the outsider, as the sexual deviant. I argue that these authors, in an attempt to decode Southern experience through their respective treatments of incest, necrophilia, and bestiality, reveal and question the cultural and ideological contradictions of Southern convention, ultimately as an indictment of Southern social values. In doing so, this study will posit that McCarthy, Gay, and Crews recontextualize the concept of the "other" as an attempt to also recontextualize existing definitions of Southern identity.