Month: January 2016

Mary Thomas and Randall Curb: Authors of the Deep South

My take on Deep South is beginning to sit on opposite ends of the extreme- at times I enjoy Theroux’s interactions with the older individuals of the decaying communities, while I simultaneously feel the need to correct his utterly biased representation of the South and its trying people. (more…)

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“Ones Born Today Don’t Know How It Was”

Part two of Deep South held a separate tone from that of part one. Theroux discusses past tragedies experienced by the young, black individuals of the several poor communities which make up the Deep South. It seems as if Theroux is justifying his earlier claims. He automatically believes the animosity displayed by many of the black men and women he comes across arises from their life of injustice- it couldn’t possibly be his privileged demeanor. For this reason, he defines such injustices within part two of his book and consequently rationalizes his biased assumptions. (more…)

Falling Deeper into the Deep South

I’ve continued reading Deep South with a few of Thompson’s key points in mind, such as Theroux’s subjective author bias. Theroux is a privileged white male from New England embarking on a Southern journey. He has little in common with those he comes into contact with throughout the Deep South. However, I believe Theroux is genuine in his writings. He does seek out the poorest areas, but he also exposes the economic downfall of many southern regions which citizens and politicians tend to ignore. (more…)

Theroux and Thompson 

Prior to starting Deep South, I hadn’t been introduced to the travel writing genre. But much to my surprise, I enjoy Paul Theroux. I turned to the first page assuming the author would essentially walk me through his journey, detailing the landscape and neighborhoods. If anything, I expected a novel similar to those Theroux pulls apart. The author discusses the falsehood surrounding many great American travel texts, such as John Steinbeck’s Travel’s with Charley: “This occurrence of the mock ordeal became a feature of travel narratives in America that has persisted to our own time” (Theroux 13). Likewise, Carl Thompson explains the debate surrounding the “typical” travel writing: “With the so-called ‘cultural’ or ‘literary’ turn of the 1970’s, the supposedly scientific objectivity of the geographic or ethnographic text was called into question” (4). (more…)