Remembering Corporal J.Y. Joyner : An Historical Fiction

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Michael Brantley (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
Web Site:
Alex Albright

Abstract: This is a creative nonfiction narrative about the farm life and military service of a Nash County resident J.Y. Joyner. This narrative will be a combination of real-life facts reality-based situations and settings derived from extensive research and will be told from a fictional point-of-view. This style is influenced and inspired by the work of author/historian Stephen Ambrose (Band of Brothers Citizen Soldiers) Phillip Gerrard (Cape Fear Rising) William Faulkner (As I Lay Dying) and the books of Jeff and Michael Shaara (Killer Angels Gods & Generals The Last Full Measure). The work of these authors takes carefully researched time periods and settings factual events and in some cases -- particularly with the Shaaras -- uses a fictional character/observer/narrator to tell the story relate the events while adding interest and color. The projected length of this manuscript is approximately 50 pages. I will present this narrative in this format for several reasons. Joyner was killed in World War II and I first came across his name on a plaque at the Nash County Courthouse in Nashville NC listed along with other natives who died in wars. Years ago as part of an ongoing series of Memorial Day columns for the local newspaper I discovered I could find very little information about him. While working on a research project I discovered a headstone -- relatively new -- at Oakwood Cemetery in Spring Hope NC. As part of that project I was able to find out his unit where it was in action and where he was most likely killed -- just before the Battle of the Bulge. By using first person I will be able to disjoint time and present a unique approach and perspective to the narrative through the eyes of a detached observer. I want to use the first-person narrative to move Joyner from a name on a plaque to an identity of a young boy who was sent to war on a continent on the other side of the world. By closing the distance between the story and the narrator I intend to hold the reader's interest and involve them more deeply into the story. The narrative will cover the present in the form of finding this stone in the cemetery and seeing Joyner's name on a plaque at the Courthouse in Nashville; the time and place where Joyner was killed in action; and how his farm family back home dealt with the loss and also how it affected daily life on the farm -- which was very reliant on labor over machines at that point in history. The first part of the manuscript will be first-person from the point of view of the narrator who finds the marker in the cemetery; the second part of the manuscript will be from the viewpoint of Joyner's younger brother. The majority of my research will come from newspaper accounts websites unit records and books written about the war and the 1940s in America. Additional material will come from personal interviews of people who grew up on farms in southern Nash County era during this time. My interest in this project is to create a narrative that blends nonfiction and fiction but is researched based. By blending these genres filling in blanks where facts cannot be located I will create a narrative that will hopefully push boundaries and offer uncommon viewpoints and less stereotypical presentation of history -- especially with topics that have been written about so much: war the South and rural farm life.

Additional Information

Date: 2012
American literature
Joyner, Julian Y., 1922-1944--Fiction
World War, 1939-1945--North Carolina--Fiction
Nash County (N.C.)--Social life and customs--20th century--Fiction

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