“Springtime in the South is Like a Song in My Heart”: Raina Telgemeier’s Drama, the Romanticization of the Plantation South, and the Romance Plot
This essay explores the complex relationship that exists between the romance plot and the romanticization of the antebellum South in Raina Telgemeier’s critically acclaimed and commercially successful graphic novel, Drama. The text’s use of a Gone With the Wind-style musical as its romantic and thematic pivot point complicates its political message and calls into question its seemingly progressive stance on social issues. While critics have praised Telgemeier’s text for its racially and ethnically diverse cast of characters, the moonlight-and-magnolias musical that forms the centerpiece to Drama traffics not simply in a historical myth, but in a white-centric fantasy. In so doing, the graphic novel demonstrates the limitations of LGBTQ youth advocacy that does not remain cognizant of intersectionality, while it also highlights the problem with millennial forms of liberal multiculturalism that omit critical discussions about race.
KeywordsGraphic novels Comics American culture Racism Southern history Antebellum plantations The American Civil War Southern mythology Raina Telgemeier
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