Month: September 2019

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Southern Paradoxes in Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird”

Every time I read Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird (1960), I’m reminded of the book’s problematic nature. Why do we continue to put so much stock in Lee’s novel, teaching it in high schools across the nation? Alice Randall points out the problems within Lee’s novel and states, “Let’s be clear: “To Kill a Mockingbird” is not a children’s book. It is an … Read More Southern Paradoxes in Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird”

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How Do I Respond to “Where Are You From?”

Last year, in Norway, everyone I met would ask, “Where are you from?” This year, in Georgia, I get the same question. My answer to this question inevitably varies, but it follows a pretty similar formula. In Norway, I would reply, “I’m from Auburn, Alabama. I’ve been there two years. Before that, I was in Lafayette, Louisiana, and I’m originally from Northwest Louisiana.” In … Read More How Do I Respond to “Where Are You From?”

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The “Visceral Feelings” of Racism in Frank Yerby’s “Griffin’s Way”

Throughout his career, Frank Yerby confronted whiteness and white supremacy in his novels. He looked at the ways that racism, xenophobia, nationalism, and oppression affected the oppressor as well as the oppressed. This is what Lillian Smith does throughout her work. It’s what Harper Lee attempts to do in To Kill a Mockingbird. It’s what Toni Morrison says we should do in Playing in … Read More The “Visceral Feelings” of Racism in Frank Yerby’s “Griffin’s Way”

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The Mythologized South in Frank Yerby’s “Griffin’s Way”

I have to admit, when I started reading Frank Yerby’s Griffin’s Way (1962) I was not impressed. Having written 33 novels over the course of his career, I knew I wouldn’t like all of them, but Griffin’s Way struck me, from the beginning, as odd. I didn’t really like the organization of Candace Trevor’s section. It seemed really disjointed and not at all what … Read More The Mythologized South in Frank Yerby’s “Griffin’s Way”

“The Plantation System in Southern Life” and Plantation Tourism

In his documentary, Lillian Smith: Breaking the Silence, Hal Jacobs uses numerous historical clips. One that stood out to me, though, was a clip, which he showed three sections of, from a ten minute Coronet film entitled “The Plantation System in Southern Life” from 1950. The film presents the South as an idyllic destination, one full of nostalgia and agrarianism, a soothing balm against … Read More “The Plantation System in Southern Life” and Plantation Tourism