One Southern novel shines light on racism, feminism, and surprising lesbianism. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café by Fannie Flagg, published in 1987, is about the different events happening and people living in Whistle Stop and Birmingham, Alabama. Fannie Flagg uses many powerful characters to enforce several themes. Idgie, Ruth, Evelyn, Mrs. Threadgoode, Big George, Artis, and Jasper are a few of the main characters that help Flagg show the themes though out Fried Green Tomatoes .
Fannie Flagg was born in Birmingham, Alabama on September 21, 1941. She was born as Patricia Neal but changed her name later (Thompson 186). William and Marion Neal were Flagg’s parents. At a young age Flagg fell in love with acting and writing plays. She went to see many films in the movie theater her father worked at and this made her love for acting and writing bloom.
In the fourth and fifth grade Flagg started struggling in school. She could not spell because she had dyslexia which had not been diagnosed at that point. The struggling with dyslexia continued into her teenage years. Flagg would have loved to pursue writing but instead started acting (Thompson 186). Upon receiving a scholarship from a beauty pageant competition, Flagg moved north to attend the Pittsburgh Playhouse. The troubling dyslexia caused her to drop out during her first year (186).
While attending college she changed her name from Patricia Neal. A famous actress also had her given name. Changing her name to Fannie Flagg seemed like the correct thing to do and this would also distinguish herself from the already famous actress. “I chose the name because it was the funniest one I could think of.” Flagg told reporter Kenneth R. Clark in an interview (186). Fannie Flagg is now a well known name in both film and literature.
After quitting school, Flagg went back home to Birmingham (Thompson 186). There, Flagg worked for a variety of local news programs but worked her way up to acting in movies, shows, plays, and musicals (186). She shifted to writing when she was in her late thirties. Now she lives in both Santa Barbara, California and Birmingham, Alabama.
Flagg started writing again because she felt something was missing from her life (Thompson 187). Flagg wrote a short story for the Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference and won first place. She started writing full-time after her first book did very well. Most of Fannie Flagg’s novels are set in small towns in the South (“Fannie”). She weaves themes of racism and feminism into her novels, because these are issues she feels strongly about (Stanley 86). Her novels give power to those who didn’t always have it, mainly women and African Americans.
Fried Green Tomatoes is one of Flagg’s novels that has themes about race and gender.
Fannie Flagg originally started writing Fried Green Tomatoes because she received a shoe box full of items from her Aunt Bess. The Whistle Stop Café was based in a café Bess...