Thursday, March 30, 2023

Three Notable Settings in Black Short Fiction

By Kenton Rambsy

Across Black short stories writers present characters across several different types of settings. Below, I’ve provided a list of notable settings that appear ins select stories by The Big 7, Edward P. Jones, and others.

Musical Settings
The following list includes stories that incorporate musical settings. These types of spaces are important locales for African American in storytelling. Settings like jazz clubs, theaters, and cabarets facilitate the gatherings for Black characters.

• Rudolph Fisher “City of Refuge” & “Miss Cynthie” 
• James Baldwin, “Sonny’s Blues” 
• Henry Dumans, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” 
• Amiri Baraka, “The Screamers”

This list documents stories that incorporate descriptions of open fields, wooded areas, ponds, and front yards, demonstrating an awareness of rustic sceneries. All of the stories that depict natural landscapes are set in the South.

• Charles Chesnutt “Po Sandy”
• Zora Neale Hurston “Sweat” “The Gilded Six Bits” “The Man Who Was Almost a Man”
• Richard Wright “Long Black Song” “Bright and Morning Star” “Big Boy Leaves Home”
• Ralph Ellison “Flying Home”
• James Baldwin “Going to Meet the Man”
• Alice Walker “Everyday Use”

The following list includes stories that incorporate prison settings. Typically, depictions of prisons and prisoners fall out of the purview of most short story writers, despite the high incarceration rates of Black people in the US.

• Charles Chesnutt “The Sheriff’s Children” 
• James Baldwin “Going to Meet the Man” 
• Edward P. Jones, “Old Boys, Old G

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

No comments: