Internal Colonialism and the Wasteland Theme in Ron Rash's Serena

  • Constante González Groba Universidade de Santiago de Compostela


Ron Rash’s Serena (2008) is about the clash between northern industrialists who cut timber in southern Appalachia and conservationists who want the area converted into a national park. Set during the Depression, it also addresses our own times of unchecked greed and environmental holocaust. This article relates the situation of internal colonialism, which turns the region into a sacrifice zone, with the theme of the wasteland. The latter is related in the novel not only to T. S. Eliot’s poem but also to other works that Rash acknowledgesas influences, including Moby-Dick, The Great Gatsby and Christopher Marlowe’s tragedies about the will to power. Characterized by what Erich Fromm calls the exploitative orientation, Serena Pemberton wields hard power and embodies the rapaciousness of economy, in contrast to a local female character, who stands for ecology and soft power.

Author Biography

Constante González Groba, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela
Constante González Groba is Professor of US Literature at the University of Santiago. His areas of research include literature of the US South and contemporary African American fiction. He has authored the book On Their Own Premises: Southern Women Writers and the Homeplace (Universitat de València, 2008) and edited Unsteadily Marching On: The US South in Motion (Universitat de València, 2013).


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