How to Remain Childlike

Billy Ray Middleton

Abstract

How to Remain Childlike examines themes of place and identity, focusing on how regionalism impacts the individual's perception of self. The stories herein, set in the post-millennial South, focus on characters with a worldly recognition of prevailing misconceptions that cast Southerners as unsophisticated and anti-intellectual. Though these characters recognize the beauty of the South, they possess ambivalence toward the region, a desire to be less insular and more cosmopolitan. This ambivalence, a love for the South coupled with a longing to escape it, highlights the importance of place in the process of self-definition.