A Beloved Bunch of Books: Stories from the South, the Southern Belle.

Tales of the Southern Belle are always a good time.  In a completely cringe-worthy manner, many of us wonder what it would be like to wear a crinoline (I hear it itches) or to drink mint julep's on the porch (which you can easily do without wearing a crinoline).

More importantly, they are fountains of knowledge in what not to do.

While the elegance and charms of the South are well known, there were some fairly ugly habits hiding among the hoop skirts.

These books examine the charms and flaws of the privileged South.


The creme de la creme of all Southern Belle books is, of course, Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind.

Scarlett O'Hara is the ultimate belle and generally the one which comes to mind first.  She is also the character we all love to hate.

Margaret Mitchell won a Pulitzer Prize for the book in 1937.




Another Pulitzer winner is The Keepers of the House by Shirley Ann Grau.

The book features the consequences of having secret relatives, particularly if you married into Southern politics.

The author had a cross burned on her lawn after this book was published.

The Other Side of the Sun is about an English woman who marries into her Southern life of rank and privilege.

Written by A Wrinkle in Time author Madeline L'Engle, the book presents a dark, no-win situation that would have had me move back to England.


Next up is The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  This is the story about growing up in a certain role and realizing that your role is one you don't want and you don't agree with.

It will make you question the proper behavior of proper ladies.

It will also make you question your love of pie.


The final book on the list, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee doesn't contain a southern lady. Scout was a tomboy and questioned every spot of dust in her station of life.

The book also won the Pulitzer Prize.


Honorable mention to this list is Flannery O'Connor's tale, Everything That Rises Must Converge.

While the protagonist isn't a belle, the story is a great example of the attitude.


Enjoy!


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