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Neohelicon

, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 557–573 | Cite as

Destination South: Lena Grove’s “Like a lady travelling”

  • Biljana OklopčićEmail author
Article
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Abstract

Unlike Southern women writers such as Kate Chopin, Eudora Welty or Flannery O’Connor, who in their fiction reject and subvert stereotypical representations of Southern womanhood of any race or class, William Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha fiction offers a rather stereotypical portrayal of Southern womanhood as he either turns his women characters into belles, mammies, tragic mulattas, spinsters, Confederate women and Dixie Madonnas, thus transforming them into the ghosts of their families’ pasts, or depicts his women characters as dominated by love and/or lust, transformed into the embodiments of male testosterone fantasy. The only detours in the two afore-mentioned “destinations” in Faulkner’s depiction of Southern womanhood appear in his portrayal of Linda Snopes Kohl (the Snopes trilogy) and Lena Grove (Light in August). This paper attempts to show how the travels that Lena Grove of Light in August (1932) engages in challenge the stereotypical notions of Southern womanhood present in Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha fiction. Beginning with an analysis of women travelers in fiction and non-fiction by Southern female authors and continuing with an exploration of women travel writing in the South, the paper tries to detect its traits in Lena’s journey through the South, Yoknapatawpha County included, and whether or/and how Lena employs or rejects them, thus setting new standards for the comprehension of women characters in Faulkner’s fiction. The paper concludes by considering, in the light of possible objections, some consequences of the proposed argument: it shows that Lena’s employment/rejection of “a lady travelling” in the South operates as the detour in Faulkner’s (stereo)typical “destinations” in his representations of Southern womanhood.

Keywords

Traveling Women’s travel narratives The American South William Faulkner Light in August 

Notes

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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Humanities and Social SciencesUniversity of OsijekOsijekCroatia

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