Collections > UNC Chapel Hill Undergraduate Honors Theses Collection > "What I stand for / is what I stand on": Sense of Place and the Work of Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry’s writing impresses upon his readers a very specific and intimate sense of place. In a tradition of Southern literary agrarianism, Berry’s ideology is distinguished by its emphasis on an agrarianism rooted in practice rather than merely policy. The Port William membership exists in a small town threatened by “big ideas” such as war, urbanization, the industrialization of agriculture, and conventional notions of self-improvement. In this thesis I will argue that Berry’s sense of place is grounded in care and belonging for people and places. To do so, the following chapters will explore themes of farming philosophies, river symbolism, racial wounds, and displacement in his work. The author’s biography helps to explain his interest in such subjects.