Type of Document Dissertation Author Brown, Lillie Anne URN etd-11252008-163109 Title Movements in Dignity: A Critical Examination of Selected Works by Ernest J. Gaines Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department English, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Bruce Bickley Committee Chair Anne E. Rowe Committee Member Stanley E. Gontarski Committee Member Susan N. Wood Outside Committee Member Keywords
- Southern Landscape
- African Americans
- Southern Literature
Date of Defense 2008-10-09 Availability unrestricted AbstractErnest J. Gaines' work articulates the social, political, and economic position of society's most vulnerable citizens: the poor, voiceless, disenfranchised, and invisible. From his youthful days on the plantation to his adult years in California and to his eventual return to the Point Coupee Plantation, his affection for the land has not diminished. My examination of Bloodline (1968), Gaines' only collection of short stories, In My Father's House (1978), and A Lesson Before Dying (1993) will show how the central themes of his fiction have remained consistent throughout the years and how his sense of place has not wavered. Each work depicts the common strivings of the disenfranchised, the control of subservient labor by the majority class, and the folk culture that helps foster leadership and generate change. As Gaines writes openly and passionately about the common people of his childhood, the most critical aspect of each work in this study is the impact of racism upon black men -- especially husbands and fathers -- and the overall effect it has on the black family. Additional to this study is a personal interview conducted with Gaines at his residence in Oscar, Louisiana, on May 31, 2006.
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