Elbow Room Themes

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Implicit or explicit the twelve diverse stories in Elbow Room is the fact of a cultural and emotional gap between black Americans in the urban North and those remaining in the homelands of the South. This gap is a function of time, expressed in generations, since a given family departs the South and manifests itself in Northern condescension. For individuals, the movement from a easy-going rural life marred by strict segregation and violence, to an impersonal, mechanical environment is shown as sufficiently traumatic to create a murderer. Another ymigry to Chicago, bent on a successful career in the white world, takes care to purge his speech of all southernisms. Several stories show ymigrys to Northern cities settle in clumps defined by their ancestral roots not in Africa but in the southern states, and even form churches with a distinctive regional flavor (viz., Virginia vs. South Carolina). "A...

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This section contains 827 words
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