USV – Messages Sages and Ages

JOHN KENNEDY TOOLE S “THE NEON BIBLE”: THE PSEUDO-MEMOIRS OF A DEEP SOUTH MARGINAL

Abstract:

The present essay explores J. K. Toole’s The Neon Bible as a Southern Gothic Bildungsroman wherein the teenage protagonist enacts an Oedipal scenario the stark dichotomies of which pervade the narrative at almost every turn: tenderness vs. violence, tolerance vs. bigotry, fertility vs. barrenness, light vs. darkness et al. It becomes apparent that the safest way to decode the novel is to trace the twofold evolution of its anti-hero: through both uplifting and overbearing experiences, David translates from contemplation to action as the narrator follows his becoming on two planes – as victimized member of the community and as autonomous individual surrendering to a hysteria of violence.

Dan Nicolae Popescu

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