Mountain Identity and the Global Society in a Rural Appalachian County
Identity in Appalachia is characteristically defined in terms of social class identity, for the common paradigm used to interpret the region is one of class oppression (e.g. Billings & Goldman 1983; Eller 1982; Gaventa 1980; Lewis et al. 1978; Whisnant 1980). This paradigm leads to an emphasis on socioeconomic divisions within the region’s population and the development of internal class conflict. It also promotes the study of poverty and powerlessness, which pervade Appalachian studies (see Billings & Blee 2000; Salstrom 1994; Stewart 1998, for recent examples).
Expanding the Tradition: Resistance in Denise Giardina’s Storming Heaven and The Unquiet Earth and Barbara Kingsolver’s Prodigal Summer
Denise Giardina’s Storming Heaven and The Unquiet Earth and Barbara Kingsolver’s Prodigal Summer, novels set in Appalachia, continue a long tradition of resistance to exploitation of the people and the environment of the areas in which they are set. Both Giardina and Kingsolver are aware of the interconnectedness of all life, the dependence of species on the “inanimate” world, and the need, through the emotion that is transmitted through fiction writing, to bring these concerns alive for readers through characters that readers are able to care about.