Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio Essay

James Wright
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Jeannine Johnson currently teaches writing and literature at Harvard University. She has also taught at Yale, from which she received her Ph.D., and at Wake Forest University. Her most recent essay is on Adrienne Rich's "To a Poet, " published in the Explicator. In the following essay, Johnson considers Wright's use of memory and geography in "Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio, " arguing that his commitment to place prevents him from inappropriately idealizing his subject.

In "Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio," James Wright offers a stark but loving portrait of his  postindustrial hometown. The human objects of Wright's attention are outsiders: they include "Po-lacks" and "Negroes," factory workers and neglected housewives, and an assortment of grown men living vicariously through teenage athletes. These are people who, by most social measures, have failed; or, if they succeed they do so only in their dreams and in their...

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This section contains 1,631 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.