Author: Matthew J. Ferrence
Publisher: Univ. of Tennessee Press
Category: Literary Collections
Examining the icon's foundations in James Fenimore Cooper's Natty Bumppo--'an ideal white man, free of the boundaries of civilization'--and the degraded rural poor of Erskine Caldwell's Tobacco Road, Matthew Ferrence shows how Redneck stereotypes were further extended in Deliverance, both the novel and the film, and in a popular cycle of movies starring Burt Reynolds in the 1970s and '80s, among other manifestations. As a contemporary cultural figure, the author argues, the Redneck represents no one in particular but offers a model of behavior and ideals for many. Most important, it has become a tool--reductive, confining, and (sometimes, almost) liberating--by which elite forces gather and maintain social and economic power. Those defying its boundaries, as the Dixie Chicks did when they criticized President Bush and the Iraq invasion, have done so at their own peril.