Tomboys & Sissies: Queer Childhood in the Fiction of the Southern Renaissance, 1929-1961
Derrick, Scott; Howe, Cymene
Doctor of Philosophy
My thesis considers representations of childhood in the literature of the 20th Century American South. During the Southern Renaissance period, such authors as Harper Lee, Carson McCullers, Truman Capote, William Faulkner, and Tennessee Williams looked to the child – often the tomboy, or her male counterpart, the sissy – as a figure of resistance against adult society. In a region that still clung to antebellum ideals of female chastity, white supremacy, and benevolent paternalism, these characters served to interrupt the dominant cultural script, and thus reimagine queer counternarratives of racial, sexual, and gendered subjectivity.