Skip to content
Vol. 18, No. 4: Winter 2012

“That Ain’t Your Name”: An Engaged Identity and Other Gifts from a Dysfunctional Southern Family

by Wade Clark Roof

“It was not until 1946 when my grandmother received a copy of the revised birth certificate in the mail from my father and blurted out to me, ‘That ain’t your name,’ that I really became aware of the problems. She quickly added, ‘Your mother, she never got it right neither.'”

The family saga as a literary form is common in much southern literature. Families are viewed as arenas where deep conflicts and mixed emotions play out, often across generations; where people’s identities and values are linked to a tragic past; where ties to the land are strong and a sense of providential order and destiny prevails; and where black and white, the poor and the privileged are inextricably bound.

This article appears as an abstract above, the complete article can be accessed in Project Muse
Subscribe today!

One South, a world of stories. Delivered in four print issues a year.