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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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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: 26 September 2021

Ideology, Ethnicity, and Performativity in Eudora Welty’s Losing Battles

Ideology, Ethnicity, and Performativity in Eudora Welty’s Losing Battles

Chapter:
(p.214) Ideology, Ethnicity, and Performativity in Eudora Welty’s Losing Battles
Source:
New Essays on Eudora Welty, Class, and Race
Author(s):

Stephen M. Fuller

, Harriet Pollack
Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781496826145.003.0012

This chapter evaluates Losing Battles as a response to Civil Rights ferment, regarding the novel broadly through the prisms of Eagletonian Marxism and speech act theory. The analysis argues that the text’s primary formal characteristic, its epic blending of scores of vocal performances, typically spoken by senior members of the Beecham-Renfro family, disseminates and enforces a range of ideological conformities, including but not limited to those policing ethnicity. Through the delivery of these speeches, characters engage inadvertently or otherwise in speech acts that traumatize and dominate and reproduce chauvinistic and belligerent cultural narratives. Namely, Losing Battles reveals the mechanism of Althusserian interpellation as it operates in southern culture; however, outsiders and even a few insiders escape the authority of received ideas and, therefore, reveal emancipatory potential.

Keywords:   Civil Rights, Terry Eagleton, speech act, performativity, ideology

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