Social Concerns / Themes

A Place to Come To, Warren's final novel, provides an apologia and a valedictory comment on his career. Abandoning the baroque plots and the complex narrative devices of his middle period, Warren here tells a relatively uncluttered tale of a Southern writer from an obscure Alabama town. Jed Tewksbury's autobiographical narrative describes his career from his humiliating origin as the son of a roistering "redneck" in Dugton, Alabama, through a career as a graduate student at the University of Chicago, and then as a distinguished medievalist at a number of universities. Throughout the chronicle of Tewksbury's experience, however, Warren's focus is on his character's difficult effort to come to terms with his poor Southern background, and especially his father's status as a laughingstock in the undistinguished world of Dugton.

Clearly Tewksbury's drive toward intellectual success is motivated by his compulsion to put to rest the ghosts of his humble origin. Even Tewksbury's love affairs and failed marriage are dominated by his uneasy relationship with his widowed mother and his boyhood home, which he refuses to visit until his mother's death near the end of his career.

Warren's novel reflects the social theme of the struggle of the impoverished Southern white class — which is seldom at the center of Faulkner's work — to escape the stigma of poverty and social degradation and to find success in the prosperity of America in its...

(The entire section is 502 words.)