Dissertations and Theses

Date of Award


Document Type




First Advisor

Robert Higney


Twain, Faulkner, Vonnegut, white, identity, race


This thesis explores the concept of white identity as seen in literary works in four time periods: Reconstruction, the Great Depression, the Civil Rights Movement and the 21st century. It examines the work of Mark Twain, William Faulkner, Kurt Vonnegut and contemporary writers George Saunders, J.D. Vance, and Jonathan Franzen. It seeks to understand patterns in racism, white nationalism, and white supremacy as part of the fundamental construct of the literary white man, and follows the evolution of that construct over time.



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