One Southern Dimension

One Southern Dimension - One Southern Dimension Truman...

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One Southern Dimension Truman Capote’s set of characters in Other Voices, Other Rooms remain truly rooted in the Southern grotesque style. Capote describes his characters in intense vivid physical detail, creating cringe-inducing visuals in the mind of his reader. Unfortunately in some cases Capote’s over emphasis on the grotesque hinders the development of his characters. Undoubtedly the method of almost surreal imagery is effective in the physical explanation of his characters, however Capote falters in developing them thoroughly as human beings and not just as oddities. This is not only a shortcoming in Capotes work but also in the grotesque style itself. Characters are often created in the grotesque style to expand the narrative range and engage the more unpleasant aspects of Southern culture. It is no coincidence that the grotesque is often referred to as the literary aftermath of historical misfortune. Capote writes as if his characters are frozen in time, traveling on foot or in wagons, without indoor plumbing or running water. Many of Capote’s characters fall flat as human beings while trying to achieve the goal of relating the misfortunate Southern grotesque.
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Becoming so unbelievable at times the reader no longer sees them as people but rather creatures born from the imagination of the author. When introducing Joel’s father Mr. Sansom, Capote describes a sunken eyed man with “a shaved head lying with invalid looseness on unsanitary pillows” (121) This dilemma is not specific to the writing of Truman Capote, it is an idea addressed in length in Flannery O’Connor’s essay “Some Aspects of the Grotesque in Southern Fiction”, O’Connor emphasizes that the semi- believable aspects of Southern grotesque writing are key ingredients in creating an affective moral. O’Connor writes, “Today many readers and critics have set up for the novel a kind of orthodoxy. They demand a realism of fact which may, in the end limit rather than broaden the novel’s scope” (39) O’Connor believes that without many of the
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course LLIT 505 taught by Professor Schmitt during the Spring '08 term at New School.

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One Southern Dimension - One Southern Dimension Truman...

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