chapter  IX
19 Pages

Thomas Wolfe's Quest for a Real Self—The Struggle

Thomas Wolfe's real self was as imprisoned by his defensive false self as his native town Asheville, North Carolina, was encircled by mountains.

His writing, through a unique combination of individual talent and acknowledgment of that talent by specific and important people in his environment, was the principal vehicle that freed the creative capacity of his real self from that prison just as, in one of his favorite metaphors, the train was the only "way out or escape to freedom from the encircling mountains of Asheville" (Wolfe, 1929).