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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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Jill McCorkle: The Rough South from One Remove

Jill McCorkle: The Rough South from One Remove

(p.171) Jill McCorkle: The Rough South from One Remove
Rough South, Rural South

Barbara Bennett

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter discusses Jill McCorkle's fiction, which reflects the whole South, rather than just its middle class. McCorkle did not grow up amid poverty, and in fact calls her upbringing in 1960s Lumberton, North Carolina, “very much middle-class”—even upper class by the standards of her elementary school classmates. Her 1990 novel, Ferris Beach, features a character named Kitty Burns, a transition figure between the old South, with its clear divisions of class, and the new, where what a person does is more important than where that person came from. Another character, Merle Hucks, at first seems to fit the “poor white trash” stereotype, and whose family encompasses all the Rough South stereotypes. Merle, however, transcends the Rough South stereotype and distinguishes himself from his family and friends. McCorkle also published a novel called Life After Life in 2013.

Keywords:   fiction, Jill McCorkle, South, middle class, Ferris Beach, poor white trash, Rough South, stereotypes, Life After Life

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