Blurring the Boundaries in Bobby Ann Mason's "In Country" (1985)

9783640916641: Blurring the Boundaries in Bobby Ann Mason's

Seminar paper from the year 2009 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Literature, University of Vienna, language: English, abstract: Bobbie Ann Mason is one of the most important southern female writers at the end of the 20th century. Joseph M. Flora in his contribution to the The History of Southern Women's Literature notes that "apart from Eudora Welty, few have more national visibility" (550). A number of Mason's short stories were re-published in anthologies (see KcKee 359); her novel In Country became part of the syllabus in many high schools and colleges since its publication in 1985, and the 1989 Hollywood film adaptation starring Bruce Willis made her work accessible to an even broader audience. The critics have also shown a keen interest in her work as the huge number of overwhelmingly positive literary reviews and academic publications demonstrate (see Flora, Fiction 282-285). The topics Mason raises in her work seem to strike a chord with both the general as well as the professional readers. As one scholar put it, the most important innovation of the contemporary realist authors such as Mason "is their ability to portray the experiences of people from a lower economic class with realism, complexity, and dignity". (Hovis, K Mart 395f.) In her work, Bobbie Ann Mason describes a contemporary southern society from a white working-class perspective, mostly places and characters that are well known to her, without looking down on what could be perceived as their lack of education or backwardness. It also reflects the socio-economic, historical and cultural changes and the loss of traditional certainties that the U.S., and in her case particularly the rural and semi-rural areas of Kentucky, have faced over the last century. In In Country, Mason pays homage to the countercultural movements of the 1960s and 1970s that have played a pivotal role in the shaping of western societies as we know them today; the all-pervading theme, however, is the V

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