The Gendered Language of Gravestones: A Comparative Study of Central and Northern Appalachian Cemeteries
- 33 Downloads
Cemeteries are cultural landscapes that reveal key details about their communities. The gravestone – its architecture, epitaph, iconography, and positioning within a cemetery – is a rhetorical device that reflects social and economic values of a particular era within the community. This qualitative study examines the gravestones of two public Appalachian cemeteries: one in a western Pennsylvania township of Northern Appalachia and the other in far southwestern Virginia in Central Appalachia. The data suggest gendered rhetorical patterns in how men and women have been represented in death from the late nineteenth century to present day. These patterns can be linked to sociocultural shifts in Appalachia in the past century and suggest that Appalachian cemeteries also function as sites of rhetorical power for the living.
KeywordsRhetoric Gravestone Gender Language Sociolinguistics
- Cooper, G. (2009). Stories told in stone: Cemetery iconology. Louisville: MotesBooks.Google Scholar
- Crissman, J. (1994). Death and dying in Appalachia: Changing attitudes and practices. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
- Edgette, J. J. (1989). The epitaph and personality revelation. In R. E. Meyer (Ed.), Cemeteries and gravemarkers: Voices of American culture (pp. 87–102). Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press.Google Scholar
- Herat, M. (2014). The final goodbye: The linguistic features of gravestone epitaphs from the nineteenth century to present. International Journal of Language Studies, 8(4), 127–150.Google Scholar
- Kyvig, D. E., & Marty, M. (2000). Nearby history (2nd ed.). New York: AltaMira.Google Scholar
- Pezzoni, J. D. (2002). Virginia to the grave: A portrait of the Commonwealth’s graveyards and memorial art. Virginia Cavalcade, 51(2), 62–71.Google Scholar
- Romaine, S. (1999). Communicating gender. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
- Stoner, M., & Perkins, S. (2005). Making sense of messages: A critical apprenticeship in rhetorical criticism. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.Google Scholar
- Sullivan, L., & Rodning, C. (2001). Gender, tradition, and the negotiation of power relationships in southern Appalachian chiefdoms. Retrieved: 4 Dec 2016 from: http://www.tulane.edu/~crodning/sullivanrodning2001.pdf.
- Tannen, D. (1996). Gender and discourse. New York: Oxford.Google Scholar
- Vitudis, R., & Lowe, V. (1980). The cemetery as cultural text. Kentucky Folklore Record, 26, 103–113.Google Scholar
- Wise County Historical Society. (2001).Google Scholar