"In a roundabout way": Evasive, Oblique and Indirect Discourse in Allen Tate, Tennessee Williams and Lewis Nordan

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Bethany Kathleen Perkins (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Scott Romine

Abstract: Allen Tate's The Fathers, Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie and A Streetcar Named Desire, and Lewis Nordan's Wolf Whistle represent a few of the numerous southern texts which demonstrate an historically evasive rhetorical style, particularly when dealing with difficult or socially taboo issues. Typically, the more important the subject, the less direct the approach. Preoccupation with hospitality, etiquette, and public appearance results in oblique discursive strategies which structure social norms and narrative practices in the American South. In each case, the author's self-identification with southern culture foregrounds his familiarity with these codes and the author's biographies, interviews and critical writings support his use of such systems. In addition, each author employs a generic device which furthers the elisions and circumventions exemplified by their characters. Tate, Williams and Nordan utilize techniques such as gothicism, plastic theater, and magical realism which blur the boundaries between reality and illusion. These conventions paradoxically distance the reader from the text, at times neglecting important matters and yet, at others, offering ambiguous spaces where contemplation of otherwise unspeakable concerns may occur.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2007
Southern Literature

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