Poster Title

The Influence of Stereotypes on Culture Bearers: Storytelling in Rural Kentucky

Grade Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Major

Classics, Music

Institution

University of Kentucky

KY House District #

75

KY Senate District #

13

Department

Special Collections Research Center

Abstract

Widely published during his lifetime but little known today, Kentucky author James Hines (1926-2017) enjoyed a six-decade career as a freelance writer of short stories and articles in a variety of genres. Hailing from the small town of Rosine (hometown of Hines' longtime friend and pioneering bluegrass legend Bill Monroe), Hines readily incorporated his childhood experiences of life in a rural Kentucky town into his vivid depictions of life in the southern hill country. Several volumes of Hines' musical and literary works, donated from the 1960s onward to ensure their preservation, now form a permanent archival collection at the University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center. Through analysis of Hines' short stories, both published and unpublished, that are set in rural Southern environments, this project examined whether lived experience of local culture or capitulation to prevailing stereotypes of rural Southerners played a greater role in shaping Hines’ portrayal of rural Kentucky life. Analysis both of the prevalence of various “hillbilly” stereotypes and the frequency of autobiographical elements yielded the conclusion that Hines leaned more heavily on prevailing stereotypes than direct lived experience, but in several instances made use of stereotyped characters and presentations in order to make his retelling of stories from Rosine more accessible to a mainstream American audience.

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The Influence of Stereotypes on Culture Bearers: Storytelling in Rural Kentucky

Widely published during his lifetime but little known today, Kentucky author James Hines (1926-2017) enjoyed a six-decade career as a freelance writer of short stories and articles in a variety of genres. Hailing from the small town of Rosine (hometown of Hines' longtime friend and pioneering bluegrass legend Bill Monroe), Hines readily incorporated his childhood experiences of life in a rural Kentucky town into his vivid depictions of life in the southern hill country. Several volumes of Hines' musical and literary works, donated from the 1960s onward to ensure their preservation, now form a permanent archival collection at the University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center. Through analysis of Hines' short stories, both published and unpublished, that are set in rural Southern environments, this project examined whether lived experience of local culture or capitulation to prevailing stereotypes of rural Southerners played a greater role in shaping Hines’ portrayal of rural Kentucky life. Analysis both of the prevalence of various “hillbilly” stereotypes and the frequency of autobiographical elements yielded the conclusion that Hines leaned more heavily on prevailing stereotypes than direct lived experience, but in several instances made use of stereotyped characters and presentations in order to make his retelling of stories from Rosine more accessible to a mainstream American audience.