The duality of Joel Chandler Harris
Khoury, Natalie Marie
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This thesis examines the presentation of mob violence and lynching in Joel Chandler Harris’s fiction. It will first address Harris’s childhood and discuss how his adolescent experiences would later lead to his position at the Atlanta Constitution and greatly influence his writings. Next, it will reveal the presence and depiction of mob violence and lynching in his first published collection of stories, Uncle Remus: His Songs and His Sayings, both in the written text and illustrations. Finally, this thesis will examine one of Harris’s last projects, the Uncle Remus’s Magazine, to see how these patterns developed. In addition to his contribution to American fiction and culture by his preservation of American Folklore, as well as providing one of the more authentic depictions of an African-American character to its date, this thesis will suggest that Harris should also be credited for being one of the germinal figures in exposing lynching in American fiction.