Document Type

Dissertation

Publication Date

1976

Abstract

In 1939 Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Letters for her novel, The Yearling, and elected to the Academy of Arts and Letters. Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings wrote with a present concept of effectiveness. Her Theory of Composition as evinced by her personal papers, lecture notes, scrapbooks, newspaper articles, and correspondence housed in the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Collection at the University of Florida Library, was based up on the creation of a se4nse of reality, which she believed necessary in order to communicate beauty. Her theory incorporated the process of characterization, true-to-life depiction, universality, unity, the use of facts and details, objectivity, simplicity, and dialect.

Regionalism was the literary vehicle Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings chose for her novel, and in so doing, she responded rhetorically to an exigence, in accordance with the constraints of her personal theory of composition. Regionalism, at that point in history, served as a response to a crisis; that is, the untenable situation of a population in the midst of society's ills during the Depression. Her writing had as its purpose the communication of the beauty which Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings found in the Big Scrub country and its people, and by extension, of humanity in harmony with the environment. That Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings' purpose was effectively achieved has been borne out by thorough investigation of the responses of both her general readership and her professional critics.

This investigation places the effectiveness of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings' novel into the broader context of modern rhetorical criticism and attempts to illume the rhetorical interaction of sender, message, and receiver in which the author of a novel determines a method or theory of composition predicated upon the effect she wishes to achieve.

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