Unpacking ‘something dark’: Narrating Southern female adolescence in Jill McCorkle's The Cheer Leader, Sylvia Wilkinson's Bone of My Bones and Thulani Davis's 1959

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This article explores the role the concept of ‘adolescence’ plays in the critical work of the Southern writer Jill McCorkle. It finds that difficulties in defining adolescence are caused by, and cause, close relations between adolescence and metaphor. Examination of how McCorkle figures adolescence is brought to bear on her own first novel, The Cheer Leader (1984), Thulani Davis's 1959 (1992) and Sylvia Wilkinson's Bone of My Bones (1982) to argue that in these texts, narrating the experience of female adolescence in the American South involves signifying on the South (through narrative acts of metaphorical unpacking) in order to relocate the narrators within South(s), which they endeavour to revise.

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