Date of Award
Dr. Randall Wight
Dr. William Ellis
Dr. Trey Berry
Definitions oftentimes are not definite enough. By their very nature, those little clips of what is what in our world fail to capture anything but trivia or insignificance in their attempt to label Creation. Simple definitions fail because they do not prescribe to us our concepts of environment but describe our general ideas of that stuff around us. And it' s a great big world.
Try to define God. You cannot. He's too much; he's too all-encompassing; he's too personal; he's too far removed. But still, mankind knows Him. We know Him through our holy texts that discuss God in His fullness--and yet leave us lacking. We know God from ongoing description.
This is the stretch then: try to define the South. You can't. It's too much; it's too all-encompassing for those born and reared there, too vague for those not; it's too personal; it's a notion too subjective. But still, we Southerners know it as well as we know God. We know the South through our living its fullness. What we know, however, is never complete.
The South is the Southern Myth and Southern truth--a blaring former and subtle latter. It lives and dies by what it thinks of itself and what it can get the rest of the world to swallow. It's the haven of magnolia blossoms in April, cotton in June, and watermelons in late August. It's William Faulkner, Margaret Mitchell, Jimmy Carter, and Orval Faubus. It's the only place to be and someplace you wouldn't be caught dead.
What ain't the South we want to talk about and spread around a bit, we don't talk about. That part's up to a damn Yankee or two and those liberal sumbitches that skipped town early on because they couldn't take the heat, the humidity, the ignorance, or whatever it was that kicked the soap box up under their feet.
Williams, Paul Brent, "Pictures of the South: a Novella" (1997). Honors Theses. 151.