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Southern Literature: A Matter of Heart

Much has been written about Southern literature, suggesting that major issues are dealt with such as difficult family relationships, the importance of place, and racial injustice to name a few. While it does address these and other matters, all of these roads lead to the Rome of Southern literature, the human heart. Conflict and connecting in this genre is about our search for understanding beauty in ourselves and in others, and learning what truth this beauty conveys.

This search for beauty, however, does not mean trying to arrange a date with the pretty girl or the handsome boy next door. Well, it may, but the search goes much deeper, to the joyful experience of being totally alive, to the experience of giving and receiving love.

Keeping in mind this search for beauty in Southern literature, we can see what beauty the sixteen-year-old Trussell Jones has found in his journey through the pages of Meet Me on the Paisley Roof.

For one thing, he is so attracted to the beautiful Ellen that he hesitates to call her. Even the thought of her saying "no" has frozen him. Does he start the search at all or just stay frozen? It's in the book!

And is Trussell aware of the strength he draws from the well of friendship? His younger friend Ronnie puts it to him directly: "Do you love me?" Does Trussell toss the question off with a joke or does he respond? It's there!

Trussell's journey down the roads of Southern literature also lead to piano music, to his neighbors, to his Aunt Cora, and to his stepmother, Loretta.

This literature is not about finding a dead mule or live freaks. It is about a journey anyone would want to take very carefully.

Looking for good Southern literature? Get your copy of Meet Me on the Paisley Roof today!


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