Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
The clash of folk and popular cultures is central to the work of contemporary Southeastern American author Bobbie Ann Mason. Though Mason is often classified as a Kmart realist because of her style’s emphasis on the minutia of mass-produced culture, a more nuanced understanding of her work can be reached via a focus on the way she explores the complex, evolving relationship between folklore and popular culture. This thesis is a folkloristic literary analysis of selected Mason fiction and memoir. It examines the interplay between homogenized American popular culture, region-specific rural Southeastern American folk culture, gender roles, subregional history, and twentieth-century economics in order to explore and articulate the cultural collision of folk traditions and popular culture defining Mason’s rural/small-town Western Kentucky landscape. I highlight Mason’s portrayal of intangible folklore (folk speech and behavioral customs) and material folklore (foodways and quilting) in Nancy Culpepper Stories, “Love Life,” and Clear Springs.
Newman, Sally J., "A Folkloristic Literary Analysis of Cultural Collision in the Work of Bobbie Ann Mason." Thesis, Georgia State University, 2013.