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Faulkner and the Native South$
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Jay Watson, Annette Trefzer, and James G., Jr. Thomas

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781496818096

Published to University Press of Mississippi: January 2020

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496818096.001.0001

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From the Mausoleum to a Spider Web

From the Mausoleum to a Spider Web

William Faulkner’s and Louise Erdrich’s Takes on Hybridity

(p.167) From the Mausoleum to a Spider Web
Faulkner and the Native South

Melanie R. Anderson

University Press of Mississippi

Critics have noted many connections between the work of William Faulkner and Louise Erdrich, from their penchant for creating sprawling series of novels that tease out place and community in their Southern and Midwestern settings to the link of the Mississippi River between their regions’ Native histories. Specifically, this essay focuses on the representations of Native characters in both writers’ fiction. On the one hand, Faulkner’s Native characters are often represented as ghosts fading into a dim past. Influenced by the myth of the Vanishing American, he creates Native characters of uncertain origins with no futures. On the other hand, Erdrich, a member of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa band of Ojibwe, portrays Native characters who are survivors into the twentieth century. While Faulkner’s Native characters have truncated genealogies that fall through the cracks of contact zones, Erdrich’s characters’ family trees extend and widen, emphasizing border crossing and Native resilience.

Keywords:   Faulkner, William, Native representation, Erdrich, Louise, The Beet Queen, Go Down, Moses

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