Invoking the Agrarian tradition
Martinez, Jennifer Johnston
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In response to criticism that denies the influence of the Southern Agrarians on the writings of Wendell Berry, this thesis examines the similarities between the 1930 symposium I’ll Take My Stand and Berry’s essays, fiction and poetry. Both Berry and the Twelve Southerners defend an agricultural way of life as opposed to an industrial lifestyle because they find that an agrarian lifestyle possesses certain values, including a work ethic that defines labor as a necessary and enjoyable activity, a reverence for family and community as an economic and emotional asset, and a reliance on art defined by the community in which the artist participates. Like the Agrarians, Wendell Berry also asserts that industrialism threatens or destroys traditional non-mechanized agricultural practices as well as the values and arts inherent in rural communities who practice such agriculture. He further expands the Agrarians’ defense of agrarianism as a regional and specifically Southern endeavor.