County road 23
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] This dissertation is composed of a critical introduction and a creative manuscript. The critical introduction "Deindustrial Half-life: Decayed Whiteness in Postcards and Affliction," contributes to whiteness studies scholarship by arguing that the deindustrial shift from local to global economies in the late 20th century results in the representation of poor white rural New England characters as decayed bodies. The creative manuscript is County Road 23, a novel narrated by an omniscient voice that details the lives of the disenfranchised in rural 1980s Upstate New York. The narrative follows the Savages, a family of three impoverished middle-aged brothers who manage their fourth-generation dairy farm. The brothers' livelihood is threatened by low milk prices, high loan interest rates, and the impending development of a landfill used for surplus garbage shipped westward from the New York City boroughs. The novel leaps across time to reveal the conflict between the Savages and their neighbors, the Keegans, who live in a bordering trailer town. A deal between the Keegans' son and a land developer leads to a drowning as well as the death of the eldest Savage brother. While the novel is interested in the ramifications of disappearing family farms in the face of corporate land development, primarily it questions moral culpability, family allegiance, and the social stigmas regarding work, property, and land ownership in the impoverished rural community.
Access is limited to the campus of the University of Missouri--Columbia.