Toeing the Line: A Short Story Collection about Class and Government
Quinteros, Penny R.
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Toeing the Line: A Short Story Collection about Class and Government includes two parts: the first is an artist statement/poetics essay, the second is a creative ensemble of short stories. The essay delves into the understanding of poetics particularly as it relates to the working class. The author identifies the poetics of interruption as a function of being a working-class writer and elaborates on the challenges faced by writers who are also struggling with poverty. The creative piece interacts with the essay as an example of how the author uses poetics as an active tool of creativity rather than a passive tool of literary critique. Additionally the author uses her experiences with the government to inform the essay and discuss authority as a restriction on creativity. The second part of the thesis is a collection of short stories that are very dissimilar. They range from standard fiction to postmodern fiction and from fact to fantasy. The longer pieces are broken up (interrupted) by shorter pieces that are meant to act as a mental “pallet cleanser.” Despite their differences, they are all meant to share a similarity in discussing working-class characters. Frequently the government (of one variety or another) appears in the stories and acts as an antagonist or plays an oppressive role in the background. Collectively the stories serve to inform the essay and act as examples of both the poetics of interruption and active poetics.