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Rough South, Rural SouthRegion and Class in Recent Southern Literature$
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Jean W. Cash and Keith Perry

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781496802330

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2017

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496802330.001.0001

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date: 20 July 2018

Kaye Gibbons: Tough Women in a Rough South

Kaye Gibbons: Tough Women in a Rough South

(p.135) Kaye Gibbons: Tough Women in a Rough South
Rough South, Rural South

Rebecca Godwin

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter discusses Kaye Gibbons's work, which portrays wise and hardworking women whose gumption improves the lot of the suffering lower class. Born Bertha Kaye Batts on May 5, 1960, Kaye Gibbons grew up in a Nash County, North Carolina, farming community named Bend of the River. When Gibbons was ten, her mother committed suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills; her father drank himself to death soon thereafter. Orphaned at age twelve, Gibbons lived briefly with an aunt and then in a foster home, before moving in with her married older brother. Gibbons learned early to love the written word, a key to her survival. Her first novel, Ellen Foster, was published in 1987, and its sequel, The Life All Around Me by Ellen Foster, in 2006. Gibbons's second novel, A Virtuous Woman (1989), features a character whose inner conflict highlights the tension between the Rough South and the working-class South her family represents. Gibbons's other novels include A Cure for Dreams (1991) and Charms for the Easy Life (1993).

Keywords:   women, Kaye Gibbons, Ellen Foster, A Virtuous Woman, Rough South, working class

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