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Implied NowhereAbsence in Folklore Studies$
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Shelley Ingram, Willow G. Mullins, and Todd Richardson

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781496822956

Published to University Press of Mississippi: January 2020

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496822956.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM Mississippi SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mississippi.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Mississippi, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSSO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021

White Folks: Literature’s Uncanny, Unhomely Folklore of Whiteness

White Folks: Literature’s Uncanny, Unhomely Folklore of Whiteness

Chapter:
(p.169) Five White Folks: Literature’s Uncanny, Unhomely Folklore of Whiteness
Source:
Implied Nowhere
Author(s):

Shelley Ingram

Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781496822956.003.0013

This chapter looks at moments of constructed uncanniness and unhomeliness in Russell Banks’s Affliction and Eudora Welty’s Delta Wedding, two American novels in which whiteness is inextricably linked to the creation, through acceptance or rejection, of folk groups. Using critical race theory, this chapter argues that the tendency to exempt the literature of white writers from dominant conversations about folklore and literature helps reaffirm a dangerous hierarchical system of power in which whiteness is marked as absence. It argues through a close read of fiction that whiteness is not absent—instead, it is an identity which is guarded and negotiated through negotiations of folk groups. Banks and Welty both construct a whiteness that has stability and variation, that reacts to the presence of a folk Other, and that becomes part of a vernacular language of identity for those inside, outside, and on the borders of their groups.

Keywords:   Eudora Welty, Russell Banks, whiteness, absence, folklore and literature

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