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The Return Home

The Return Home

Mythic Narratives and Family History

(p.97) Chapter Three The Return Home
All Stories Are True
Tracie Church Guzzio
University Press of Mississippi

This chapter discusses John Edgar Wideman’s belief in the family as the source of the story-literally and figuratively. In fact, more has been written about Wideman’s “family stories” and genealogical history than on any other characteristic of his work. A number of Wideman’s “Homewood” works are classified as autobiography or memoir, although they admit to some degree of fictionalizing. His emphasis on family history in these works serves multiple purposes. These stories operate as a lens by which Wideman views the history of his race and the historical consciousness of America, and he uses these family narratives to directly refute the stories written by outsiders to describe what it means to be an African American in this country.

Keywords:   family stories, genealogical history, Homewood works, historical consciousness, outsiders

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