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ERIC Number: ED445333
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-Mar-16
Pages: 7
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
At the Edge of the Past: Appalachian Issues and English Composition.
Pendarvis, Edwina
In Appalachian life and literature the past is intensely present. Many Appalachian college students buy into the myth of meritocracy, a myth which blames poverty on the poor and refuses to acknowledge the financial and social resources needed for success in this country. Part of their disregard for themselves and/or their neighbors has to do with language, especially how their language is different from standard English and how they are portrayed in literature. The southern Appalachian rural dialect is considered a signal for correction by most classroom teachers. An educator tries to help her English composition students recognize the importance of the past, but avoid simplistic, rosy pictures of bygone times, places, and people. She discusses why some grammars are considered more acceptable than others by teachers, and students are asked to read Thomas Hardy's "The Ruined Maid" as a model of the related pleasure and danger in using dialect. Students then are asked to write a poem in dialect, but to treat the subjects more respectfully than Hardy does. The impossibility of distinguishing the relative contributions of class bias and geographical bias are discussed, as is code-switching. Whether Hardy's poem patronizes rural women is also discussed. Modern Appalachian authors' works are also read, authors whose poems provide a complex picture of the present and the past and recognize the strengths of Appalachians without exaggerating stereotype characteristics. (NKA)
Publication Type: Guides - Classroom - Teacher; Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A