Month: June 2016

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What Does the Cover Say?

One topic that has always interested me is the visual representations of literary works. Visual artists from Gustave Dore and E.W. Kemble illustrated everything from Dante’s Divine Comedy¬†(1320) to Paul Laurence Dunbar’s The Strength of Gideon and Other Stories (1900). Thinking about these visual representations along with the text provides an interesting conversation, not just regarding how the images and texts interact but how … Read More What Does the Cover Say?

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Constructing the “Past”

At the end of William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom! (1936), Quentin and Shreve construct, without knowing the “true” events, the burning of the Sutpen house. Describing “the driver and the deputy” pulling Miss Colfield out of the inflamed house, the narrator states, “he (Quentin) could see her, them; he had not been there, but he could see her” (376). The construction of that scene conflates … Read More Constructing the “Past”

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Land in Ernest J. Gaines’s “A Gathering of Old Men”

Last post, I wrote about the appearance of the pronoun “they” in Ernest J. Gaines’s “The Sky is Gray.” In that story, “they” appears as a reference to ownership and power in the community that seeks to keep James and Octavia is subjugation so the invisible white landowners can maintain their position at the top of the social ladder. As James looks out of … Read More Land in Ernest J. Gaines’s “A Gathering of Old Men”

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The Ambiguous “They” in Ernest J. Gaines’s “The Sky is Gray”

As we discussed Ernest J. Gaines’s “The Sky is Gray” during the NEH Summer Institute a couple of weeks ago, one of the participants, Dianna Shank, pointed out the ambivalent use of the pronoun “they” throughout the text. At first, this did not necessarily strike me as anything warranting further exploration since the narrative comes to us from the point of view of an … Read More The Ambiguous “They” in Ernest J. Gaines’s “The Sky is Gray”

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Identity and Race in Two Hemingway Stories

I have written about Ernest Hemingway’s In Our Time (1925) a couple of times in relation to both Ernest J. Gaines and Langston Hughes. Today, I want to examine Hemingway’s “Indian Camp” and “Fathers and Sons” in relation to how he constructs identity and privilege for Nick Adams, the protagonist of each story. In both texts, Nick’s white privilege appears through the ways that … Read More Identity and Race in Two Hemingway Stories