Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Recurring stories and geographic locales

By Kenton Rambsy

The repeated inclusion of select African American short stories in anthologies established familiar geographic settings in literary discourse. Even though authors set their stories in a variety of locations, the thirty most frequently anthologized stories showcase the South and New York City.

Visions of the South presented in short fiction by Hurston and Walker highlight intraracial tensions in Florida and Georgia, while Wright dramatizes conflicts between Black and white people in Mississippi.

Ellison manages to include intraracial as well as interracial conflicts in a single story, “Battle Royal,” set in a small Alabama town, where the unnamed male narrator boxes against his Black teenaged peers for the amusement of wealthy, white businessmen. And Bambara project a range of different sights and sounds that Black people encounter in New York City.

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

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