Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.689888
Title: The segregated town in mid-century southern fiction
Author: Lennon, Gavan
ISNI:       0000 0004 5921 0467
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2016
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Abstract:
This thesis examines how southern novelists at mid-century used the fictional small town to critique racial segregation. Depictions of segregated towns across a selection of representative fictions share a typology of people and institutions – what I term offices – that combine to make these towns seem integral and functioning. In the segregated southern town, the community is contaminated by segregation and the paradoxes it engenders are revealed through the typology I uncover and explore in this thesis. The racial landscape of Maxwell, Georgia in Lillian Smith’s Strange Fruit (1944) exposes how points of intersection in the town’s supposedly rigid racial geography highlight the weakness of segregated structural integrity. In The Hawk and the Sun (1955) Byron Herbert Reece examines the relationships of a farmer and a teacher with other offices, representatives of the bank and the church, in the Appalachian town of Tilden, Georgia. Carson McCullers set each of her novels in the town of Milan, Georgia but this consistency only becomes clear in Clock Without Hands (1961), in which she focuses on the roles a judge and a pharmacist play in defining the town’s collective identity. The courthouse square in William Faulkner’s Jefferson, Mississippi represents the identity of the town and, in The Reivers (1962), a narrator attempts to rewrite the history of the town by insinuating himself into Faulkner’s existing typology. In A Different Drummer (1962) William Melvin Kelley positions his imagined town of Sutton, in an unnamed southern state, at a moment of historic change and explores this change from the vantage point of the archetypal porch of a general store. This thesis contributes to a developing literary history of racial segregation by conducting detailed close textual analysis to argue that the ostensibly benign setting of the small town exposed the fallacies upon which the segregated South operated.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.689888  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PS American literature
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