Anne Tyler American Literature Analysis
One reason that Tyler’s works are so fascinating is that they are difficult to classify. Although she was born in Minnesota, specialized in Russian, and married an Iranian, Tyler is considered a southern writer because her works are set in the South—the early ones in North Carolina, where she spent her adolescence and attended college, the later novels in Baltimore, where she has lived since the 1960’s. Tyler does not fit the pattern of many southern writers, however, whose characters, often like the authors themselves, are usually an integral part of rural communities where their families have lived for generations. Although the sense of place is important in Tyler’s novels, her emphasis is on the present. Instead of a rural home that a family has occupied for generations, her locale is more likely to be a house in Baltimore—perhaps rented, perhaps occupied for a generation.
Tyler is certainly in the southern tradition, however, when it comes to her emphasis on the importance of community. For example, in her second novel, The Tin Can Tree, she traces the ways in which the accidental death of one young girl affects not only her closest relatives but also the entire community in which the girl lived. The effect of the tragedy on this large group of interrelated people is confined, however, to the present and to the projected future. There is no conjecture as to patterns established in the past, as is found in so much southern fiction....
(The entire section is 4137 words.)
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