Appa-LAY-Shuh: Environmentalism and Challenging Appalachian Stereotypes in Ron Rash’s Serena

UNCA Author/Contributor (non-UNCA co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Margaret Grace Schermerhorn (Creator)
University of North Carolina Asheville (UNCA )
Web Site:
Erica Abrams Locklear

Abstract: Ron Rash flourishes in his depictions of the Southern Appalachian region and its people, both throughout history and into modernity. Within Serena, Rash challenges Appalachian hillbilly stereotypes and depicts the complexity of gendered stereotypes in Appalachia in order to defamiliarize preconceived notions of Appalachia. Rash presents the clash between outsiders and locals in the fight for the creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in a way that directly connects to modern Appalachian environmental issues, including logging within national parks, fracking, and mountaintop removal. In this paper, the author examines how the Appalachian region and its people have been portrayed in literature and film, and argues that in Serena, Rash lets readers gain a deeper understanding of the complex power hierarchy at play in Appalachian society and this ultimately allows them to empathize with the Appalachian characters regardless of any former hillbilly misunderstandings.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2016
Appalachia, Serena, hillbilly, stereotypes

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