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...

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