[UPDATE] Deadline Extended: Rural Survival Skills in an Urban Setting - MMLA 2014, November 13 - 16, Detroit
In Tillie Olsen's working class novel Yonnondio, the character Anna takes her children out, "looking for empty lots where dandelions grew," so they may harvest dandelion greens. It is here—foraging for food in Omaha, Nebraska—that we see a glimpse into Anna's rural past. The knowledge she has gained from her rural life allows her to supplement her family's needs when they could not afford to buy fresh food in an urban environment. Yonnondio is not unique in chronicling migration to the city for work; there are other novels about poor people with a rural knowledge base living in an intolerable urban culture. In these stories, what is lost or gained when one migrates or immigrates from the agrarian lifestyle to the urban?