Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Theresa A. Lloyd

Committee Members

Michael A. Cody, Thomas A. Holmes


In his Kirkman tetralogy, Fred Chappell refutes ill-conceived Appalachian stereotypes via his refreshingly intelligent and sophisticated cast of mountaineer players. However, Chappell’s characters do not exist without flaws. Jess Kirkman, the tetralogy’s narrator, is a particularly tortured figure. Perpetually struggling to assimilate into his native mountain culture, Jess represents the Appalachian Other, an individual who is born into Southern Highland society, but who is, ironically, treated like an outsider by his peers. Throughout Chappell’s first novel, Jess’s inability to connect with his own family members becomes evident. In books two and three, readers see that, although several of Jess’s male relatives share his assimilative struggles, the women in his family are warmly embraced members of Appalachian society. While Jess desperately attempts to win the approval of his peers in novel four, he ultimately accepts his otherness, thus embracing the permanency of his outsider status.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.