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Dennis Covington’s Salvation on Sand Mountain: Descent and Vision in the Southern Memoir

Dennis Covington’s Salvation on Sand Mountain: Descent and Vision in the Southern Memoir Dennis Covington’s Salvation on Sand Mountain: Descent and Vision in the Southern Memoir by Michael Odom Southern memoirs often follow a conventional pattern: a writer grows up in the South, experiences a crisis of identity with the cultural values, and even- tually overcomes this tension by migrating North, through education, or both. A pattern typie fi d in Katherine Du Pre Lumpkin’s The Making of a Southerner and Lillian Smith’s Killers of the Dream, southern memoirs often depict a writer who flees to find herself, only later to emerge as a more objective critic of the South. Such memoirs by southern whites often come to terms with a moment of crisis centered on race. While these moments of racial awareness may center on pivotal childhood experiences — Lumpkin witnessing her father abusing a black servant and Smith being told that white and colored children cannot play together — they are recounted by an adult who has fled the South and metaphorically returned through the writing of the memoir. In the second paragraph of Killers of the Dream, Smith explains: This haunted childhood belongs to every southerner of my age. We ran away from it but we came back like http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Southern Literary Journal University of North Carolina Press

Dennis Covington’s Salvation on Sand Mountain: Descent and Vision in the Southern Memoir

The Southern Literary Journal , Volume 46 (1) – Feb 13, 2014

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 the Southern Literary Journal and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of English.
ISSN
1534-1461

Abstract

Dennis Covington’s Salvation on Sand Mountain: Descent and Vision in the Southern Memoir by Michael Odom Southern memoirs often follow a conventional pattern: a writer grows up in the South, experiences a crisis of identity with the cultural values, and even- tually overcomes this tension by migrating North, through education, or both. A pattern typie fi d in Katherine Du Pre Lumpkin’s The Making of a Southerner and Lillian Smith’s Killers of the Dream, southern memoirs often depict a writer who flees to find herself, only later to emerge as a more objective critic of the South. Such memoirs by southern whites often come to terms with a moment of crisis centered on race. While these moments of racial awareness may center on pivotal childhood experiences — Lumpkin witnessing her father abusing a black servant and Smith being told that white and colored children cannot play together — they are recounted by an adult who has fled the South and metaphorically returned through the writing of the memoir. In the second paragraph of Killers of the Dream, Smith explains: This haunted childhood belongs to every southerner of my age. We ran away from it but we came back like

Journal

The Southern Literary JournalUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Feb 13, 2014

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