Friday, March 10, 2023

Geo-Tagging + Characters

By Kenton Rambsy

Cultural geo-tagging draws attention to the significance of positioning. How a protagonist is placed in proximity to rivals and supporting characters calls attention to a given setting.

I created a dataset that focuses solely on all of the major and minor characters in the most frequently republished stories by the Big 7. I created various categories to understand how writers use characters to accent various geographic features.

There are multiple ways to describe the protagonists who appear in fiction, though a focus on geography prompts considerations for what I refer to as homegrown, outsider, and homegrown outsider characters.

• Homegrown characters are those native to a region who are familiar with the local environment and customs.

• Outsider characters are strangers or visitors to a region and its social norms.

• There are even homegrown outsiders—figures who are native to a region but, for some reason or another, are distant from those in their home environment.
The presentations of homegrown, outsider, and homegrown outsider characters in short stories constitute an element of cultural geo-tagging that further accentuates settings and ideas. Moreover, surveying several geographic factors accounts for how authors situate characters in cultural contexts and in relation to ideas.

This entry is part of a series--A Notebook on The Geographies of African American Short Stories.

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