The Construction Of Midwestern Literary Regionalism In Sinclair Lewis's And Louise Erdrich's Novels

Overview

This project is an interdisciplinary examination of the way specific cultural forces shaped Sinclair Lewis and Louise Erdrich's regional narratives. Five major trends shaped the beginning and the end of 20th century American letters: both see the influence of Frederick Jackson Turner's theories of the frontier and of the sections of the United States, share a distrust of rampant standardization and Americanization, see the effects of world wars and nation-shaping legislation, see the instability...
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Overview

This project is an interdisciplinary examination of the way specific cultural forces shaped Sinclair Lewis and Louise Erdrich's regional narratives. Five major trends shaped the beginning and the end of 20th century American letters: both see the influence of Frederick Jackson Turner's theories of the frontier and of the sections of the United States, share a distrust of rampant standardization and Americanization, see the effects of world wars and nation-shaping legislation, see the instability of regional culture, and hear distinct voices calling for regional culture. This dissertation defines regionalism in three parts: regionalism is an ecosystem engaging people and place, it defines key attributes of region, and it privileges its space without losing sight of its greater importance to the nation---making it more than just background. Into this space, Lewis introduces Carol Kennicott and Erdrich introduces Fleur Pillager, who make their own choices and mistakes as Midwestern women. They continually cross the lines dictating conduct set out by their communities, which benefits the community as it can enforce its standards by using Carol and Fleur as examples to unite against, providing a model of community group cohesion that explains the behavior of town insiders and outsiders. Though outsiders in literature are an archetype, their function in regionalism is to expose the place that they inhabit, showing the stereotypes of outsiders held by its insiders. Additionally, Lewis and Erdrich use weather to ground their characters in the region they inhabit, and use history to examine the connection between regional and national events and the effects those events have on regional citizens. As Lewis and Erdrich watch how outsiders affect the communities they live in, how development of the central city and suburbia affect others living in their communities, and understand how weather affects people on the plains, the authors respond by drawing on the Midwest's characteristics to explain what motivates Midwesterners to react in the ways they do. Regionalism's practitioners certify that their region's distinctiveness is not provincial, since it is instead as vital to the composition of the United States as it is to the region's identity.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781243626646
  • Publisher: BiblioLabsII
  • Publication date: 9/4/2011
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.69 (h) x 0.47 (d)

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