Elizabeth Spencer’s Complicated Cartographies: Reimagining by Catherine Seltzer (auth.)

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By Catherine Seltzer (auth.)

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Extra resources for Elizabeth Spencer’s Complicated Cartographies: Reimagining Home, the South, and Southern Literary Production

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The family’s traveling ends when Ruth’s father dies and they return to Louisville, Ruth’s mother’s hometown; however, the family remains “unsettled” when they are not welcomed by their extended family and are shunted to a cold, roach-filled house (31). Shortly thereafter, her mother dies and her only brother leaves to seek his fortune. Ruth is, in essence, homeless: her childhood is marked by temporary homes and her adolescence is SPENCER’S MISSISSIPPI NOVELS 39 defined by an alienation from both an identifiable physical home and from the family it suggests.

What are the Gerrards? . What is Ruth? . ” (37–38). His allegiance to Ruth, which seems to demand a break in his loyalty to his father, undermines his once certain belief in his own code of behavior and his incontestable knowledge of Tarsus as home.

Unlike Randall, however, Kinloch is not guided by an extreme self-consciousness: he is incapable of articulating his complex feelings toward Tarsus, and often is unable to interpret his own motives. Thus while Randall can thrill in the disorientation Ruth prompts in him, Kinloch feels he must resolve it, often to paradoxical ends. Kinloch’s own, more subtle, Quentinian “double consciousness” is evident early in the novel. He repeatedly refers to himself as a “stranger,” telling Ruth that “in a way that’s hard to explain we [Kinloch and Daniel] are outsiders here” (34).

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