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Transformational Spectacle in Bobbie Ann Mason's Feather Crowns

Transformational Spectacle in Bobbie Ann Mason's Feather Crowns Transformational Spectacle in Bobbie Ann Mason’s Feather Crowns by Rhonda Jenkins Armstrong Modes of spectacle and spectatorship can be found throughout Bobbie Ann Mason’s novels and short stories and, for the most part, Mason’s Kentucky characters serve as contemporary- era spectators, con- suming televised images and incorporating them into their own iden- tities. In Feather Crowns (1994), however, Mason turns to an earlier era whose characters — old enough to be the grandparents and great- grandparents of her usual characters — h ave less access to popular culture than their late- twentieth century counterparts. For these early twentieth- century characters, popular culture intrudes upon their lives when they become objects of interest to tourists and the press. Feather Crowns tells the story of Christie Wheeler, who in 1900 gives birth to North Ameri- ca’s first quintuplets on a rural southern farm. Based loosely on an actual event, the novel follows Christie as she and her babies become first a tourist attraction in their own home and then a sideshow attraction after the babies’ deaths. In the final two sections of the novel, Mason brings Christie into the future, first to 1937, when she travels to Canada to see the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Southern Literary Journal University of North Carolina Press

Transformational Spectacle in Bobbie Ann Mason's Feather Crowns

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2012 The Southern Literary Journaland the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of English and Comparative Literature.
ISSN
1534-1461

Abstract

Transformational Spectacle in Bobbie Ann Mason’s Feather Crowns by Rhonda Jenkins Armstrong Modes of spectacle and spectatorship can be found throughout Bobbie Ann Mason’s novels and short stories and, for the most part, Mason’s Kentucky characters serve as contemporary- era spectators, con- suming televised images and incorporating them into their own iden- tities. In Feather Crowns (1994), however, Mason turns to an earlier era whose characters — old enough to be the grandparents and great- grandparents of her usual characters — h ave less access to popular culture than their late- twentieth century counterparts. For these early twentieth- century characters, popular culture intrudes upon their lives when they become objects of interest to tourists and the press. Feather Crowns tells the story of Christie Wheeler, who in 1900 gives birth to North Ameri- ca’s first quintuplets on a rural southern farm. Based loosely on an actual event, the novel follows Christie as she and her babies become first a tourist attraction in their own home and then a sideshow attraction after the babies’ deaths. In the final two sections of the novel, Mason brings Christie into the future, first to 1937, when she travels to Canada to see the

Journal

The Southern Literary JournalUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Jul 19, 2013

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