This essay argues that the southern courtroom genre is cathartic, since it transforms unpopular stereotypes of behaviour such as violence and bigotry into popular and attractive traits such as tolerance and respect for justice. It focuses on three novels and their subsequent film versions to illustrate this process: William Faulkner's "Intruder in the Dust", Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" and John Grisham's "A Time to Kill". In each, an underlying concern with miscegenation, as evidence of the final, closest and most personal connection between members of different races, is identified and examined in the context of the southern social history of the period. As these three examples of the courtroom genre suggest, the cathartic effect of recognizing the common humanity behind the superficial differences of race is a morally edifying and heartening process, one that secures the popularity of the form and promotes the best qualities of the south.
|Title of host publication||The (Un)popular South|
|Editors||Marcel Arbeit, M Thomas Inge|
|Place of Publication||Olomouc, Czech Republic|
|Publication status||Published - 2011|