As I Lay Dying

Similarities in New and Old Southern Literature College

Karen Russell’s modern Southern novel, Swamplandia! is informed by various works of Southern Literature through different time periods. It is through the use of themes and motifs specific to literature of the American South that Swamplandia! gets its confirmation as a modern interpretation of the genre. The themes of strong family bonds, storytelling styles, and the importance of names are seen in older and contemporary Southern literature alike. The presence of strong family bonds is evident in both Swamplandia! and William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, in the idolatry that is shared between Ava Bigtree and Addie Bundren for their mothers and sons. Storytelling is a device used as a means of preservation, in Swamdplandia! Ava uses it to protect her sense of self and sanity, whereas Flannery O’Connor preserves Mrs. Turpin’s old ways of thinking in her short story “Revelation”. Lastly, character’s names and the naming of certain items is a motif of the Southern genre that enhances a character’s presence and personality, and shows the importance of an object with a specific name. In Swamplandia! names show future aspirations and humor, and in Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire names represent the glorified past and...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 873 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 6695 literature essays, 1804 sample college application essays, 276 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in