By Joseph R. Millichap
" within the South, railroads have meanings: they're an financial strength which may maintain a city and they're a metaphor for the method of southern industrialization. spotting this duality, Joseph Millichap's Dixie restricted is a close examining of the complicated and infrequently ambivalent relationships between know-how, tradition, and literature that railroads symbolize in chosen writers and works of the Southern Renaissance. Tackling such Southern Renaissance giants as Thomas Wolfe, Eudora Welty, Robert Penn Warren, and William Faulkner, Millichap mingles conventional American and Southern experiences -- of their emphases on literary appreciation and evaluate by way of nationwide and local matters -- with modern cultural which means when it comes to gender, race, and sophistication. Millichap juxtaposes Faulkner's semi-autobiographical households with Wolfe's fiction, which represents altering attitudes towards the "Southern Other." Faulkner's later fiction is in comparison to that of Warren, Welty, and Ellison, and Warren's later poetry strikes towards the modern post-Southernism of Dave Smith. those disparate examples recommend the topic of the ultimate bankruptcy -- the continued look for post-Southern styles of patience and alter that reiterate, reject, and maybe reconfigure the Southern Renaissance. As we input the twenty-first century, that we bear in mind how a lot the twentieth-century South was once formed through railroads in-built the 19th century. it's also very important that we realize how a lot our destiny should be decided via the technological and cultural tracks we lay.
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Additional info for Dixie Limited: Railroads, Culture, and the Southern Renaissance
Ringo makes the association of the ruined Rebel railroad they find near Hawkhurst with the implacable movement of the freed slaves in the wake of the Yankee raiders who destroyed it. “It was as if Ringo felt it too and that the railroad, the rushing locomotive which he hoped to see symbolized it—the motion, the impulse to move which had already seethed to a head among his people” (Unvanquished 81). These scenes of massed black humanity moving silently northward through the night remain the strongest in the book, perhaps because their motion suggests an immutable historical reality extending from the Underground Railroad to the modern black exodus in the Great Migration after the First World War.
Jumpin’ ofen de bline side like a hobo” (Flags 10). Young Bayard’s other notable train ride in Yoknapatawpha takes place on Christmas night while returning from the MacCallums’ isolated farm, where he retreated in a guilt-ridden response to Old Bayard’s fatal injury as a passenger in his roadster. The grandson’s blind attempt to evade his own and his family’s past among poor white and black families in the scrubby hills of Yoknapatawpha ends as the Sartoris railroad bears him back to the family’s own “silent box-like flag station” (Sartoris 154).
These changes are nowhere more evident than in his use of railroad images and symbols. Even as railroad imagery becomes ever more pervasive in his writing, Wolfe’s emphasis shifts from the Southern prototypes of his past to the Northern, Western, and European trains of his present. Of course, these new subject matters are to some extent determined by his own biography as he ranges outside his Southern homeland, but their literary treatment develops as well, 44 Dixie Limited becoming more social, more realistic, and more insightful in terms of their relation to his own past.