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New Essays on Eudora Welty, Class, and Race$
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Harriet Pollack

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781496826145

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2020

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496826145.001.0001

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Insiders, Outsiders, and Class Anxiety

Insiders, Outsiders, and Class Anxiety

Eudora Welty and Bob Dylan on the Medgar Evers Murder

(p.150) Insiders, Outsiders, and Class Anxiety
New Essays on Eudora Welty, Class, and Race

Adrienne Akins Warfield

, Harriet Pollack
University Press of Mississippi

This chapter compares Welty’s “Where Is the Voice Coming From?” with Bob Dylan’s “Only a Pawn in Their Game,” exploring the relationship between class, racist violence, and regional identity through examining the common assumptions both artists shared about Medgar Evers’ murderer and his motivations. The essay argues that class anxiety manifests itself both in acts of racist violence like Beckwith’s and in artistic conceptualizations of such violence as the exclusive domain of the white Southern underclass. The chapter also analyzes the ways in which the revisions that Welty made to the story after Beckwith’s arrest were connected to the class status, Southern identity, and racial consciousness of the killer. The resemblances between Dylan’s and Welty’s responses to the Evers murder show that the tendency to associate racist violence with the economic resentments of lower-class whites is evidenced among both Northern “outsiders” and Southern “insiders.”

Keywords:   Welty, Where Is the Voice Coming From, Bob Dylan, Only a Pawn in Their Game, Class anxiety, Medgar Evers, Racist violence

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