By Gary M. Ciuba
During this groundbreaking examine, Gary M. Ciuba examines how 4 of the South's so much probing writers of twentieth-century fiction--Katherine Anne Porter, Flannery O'Connor, Cormac McCarthy, and Walker Percy--expose the roots of violence in southern tradition. Ciuba attracts at the paradigm of mimetic violence constructed by way of cultural and literary critic Ren?© Girard, who continues that exact human nature is formed by way of the will to mimic a version. Mimetic wish could lead in flip to competition, cruelty, and finally community-sanctioned--and occasionally ritually sanctified--victimization of these deemed outcasts. Ciuba deals an impressively wide highbrow dialogue that provides common cultural intending to the southern adventure of wish, violence, and divinity with which those 4 authors wrestled and out of which they wrote. In a entire research of Porter's semiautobiographical Miranda tales, Ciuba makes a speciality of the prescribed function of girls that Miranda imitates and eventually escapes. O'Connor's The Violent endure It Away finds 3 characters whose scandalous animosity brought on by non secular competition results in the insufferable stumbling block of violence. McCarthy's protagonist in baby of God, Lester Ballard, seems because the end result of an extended culture of the sacred violence of southern faith, twisted into his personal bloody religion. And Percy's The Thanatos Syndrome brings Ciuba's dialogue again to the sufferer, in Tom Moore's renunciation of a society during which scapegoating threatens to turn into the root of a brand new social regime. From nostalgia for the previous order to visions of a utopian the next day, those authors have imagined the interrelationship of wish, antagonism, and faith all through southern background. Ciuba's insights supply new methods of examining Porter, O'Connor, McCarthy, and Percy in addition to their contemporaries who inhabited a similar tradition of violence--violence wanted, dreaded, denied, and deified.
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Additional info for Desire, Violence, and Divinity in Modern Southern Fiction: Katherine Anne Porter, Flannery O'connor, Cormac Mccarthy, Walker Percy (Southern Literary Studies)
Shelley’s father is aptly named Battle Fairchild because he embodies the pugnacious ethic that Troy has copied right up to this bloody moment of conﬂict. Battle’s daughter hardly wants to consider that her true-born Deltan sire might be just a facsimile and not the self-begotten source, the model of all mastery at Shellmound. She ﬁnds it more reassuring to deny the series of reﬂections upon reﬂections that undermines any notion of patriarchal originality. Shelley thinks her way backward from a moment of bloodshed to its origins in copying cultural prototypes, but she then goes beyond recognizing southern role-playing to a gasping intuition of universal mimesis that is just as unconscious as Girard claims.
From pop culture to high culture—and even to the seemingly sublime forms of cultic practice—the South has cultivated models that perpetuate an ethos of violence. TV, movies, and music mediate violence indirectly, but Redﬁeld’s 1880 study recognized how a more immediate kind of modeling might foster southern violence. It observed that “boys imitate their elders, arm themselves for selfdefence or to resist so-called insults, and season themselves to deeds of violence” (160). Redﬁeld’s was a classic southern explanation.
The closeness of blood kindred in southern life meant that such mimetic desire might easily propagate itself at home and proliferate with the kind of rapidity that makes ﬁre and disease into Girardian images for the spread of violence (Violence 29 – 31). Family members might rally to protect one of their own, and entire clans might oppose each other for generations (McWhiney 160 – 62). Twain recorded precisely such an ongoing circulation of reciprocal antagonism when the Grangerfords battled the Shepherdsons, their violent and honor-bound doubles, in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.