Wendell Berry and the physical self
Karoglou, Nicholas Theodore
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Wendell Berry’s fiction focuses primarily on a fictional town in rural Kentucky called Port William. The “Port William Membership,” as he calls it, has a rich genealogy and shared history that can be traced through several generations of the various intertwined families in the community. Two of the Port William novels, in particular, tell moving, yet deceptively simple stories of love, sacrifice, loss, and redemption: The Memory of Old Jack and Remembering. What is unique about these two novels is their significant lack of dialogue. In most novels, the primary method of communication between characters is spoken dialogue. However, in these two novels, Berry emphasizes physical contact as a more meaningful communicative tool between characters. The characters in these novels also concentrate more on their physical selves during periods of introspection and self-examination. In this thesis I will examine Berry’s use of physical communication in his characters’ internal and external lives.