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Disturbing the African American Community: Defamiliarization in Randall Kenan’s Let the Dead Bury Their Dead

Disturbing the African American Community: Defamiliarization in Randall Kenan’s Let the Dead Bury... Disturbing the African American Community: Defamiliarization in Randall Kenan's Let the Dead Bury Their Dead by Uzzie T. Cannon Signifying on diverse black, white, and Hispanic writers, Randall Kenan creates in his fiction a world of belief, disbelief, tragedy, and triumph, which establishes for his characters a sense of what it means to live.1 In his fictional central community Tims Creek, a southern community replete with a strong tradition, the inhabitants are either in harmony with their surroundings or victimized by them. The institutions or cultural artifacts that help define the South as arguably the most distinct geographical region in America--family, religion, racial tension, folklore--all appear in the stories set in Tims Creek. Interestingly, Kenan, as a gay writer, adds to these social spaces a unique focus on gender and sexuality, which challenges specifically the long-standing institutions of the family and the church in this predominantly African American community. Kenan recognizes that communal beliefs and traditions can prove compromising for those who support them; quite often, the African American community can leave its members tragically mangled and marginalized when they have chosen to participate in less than normative activities. In an interview with V. Hunt, concerning his "coming http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Southern Literary Journal University of North Carolina Press

Disturbing the African American Community: Defamiliarization in Randall Kenan’s Let the Dead Bury Their Dead

The Southern Literary Journal , Volume 42 (1) – Jan 27, 2009

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © University of North Carolina Press
ISSN
1534-1461
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Disturbing the African American Community: Defamiliarization in Randall Kenan's Let the Dead Bury Their Dead by Uzzie T. Cannon Signifying on diverse black, white, and Hispanic writers, Randall Kenan creates in his fiction a world of belief, disbelief, tragedy, and triumph, which establishes for his characters a sense of what it means to live.1 In his fictional central community Tims Creek, a southern community replete with a strong tradition, the inhabitants are either in harmony with their surroundings or victimized by them. The institutions or cultural artifacts that help define the South as arguably the most distinct geographical region in America--family, religion, racial tension, folklore--all appear in the stories set in Tims Creek. Interestingly, Kenan, as a gay writer, adds to these social spaces a unique focus on gender and sexuality, which challenges specifically the long-standing institutions of the family and the church in this predominantly African American community. Kenan recognizes that communal beliefs and traditions can prove compromising for those who support them; quite often, the African American community can leave its members tragically mangled and marginalized when they have chosen to participate in less than normative activities. In an interview with V. Hunt, concerning his "coming

Journal

The Southern Literary JournalUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Jan 27, 2009

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