Ron Rash’s One Foot in Eden is a story of desperation, longing, murder, and a disappearing way of life. It takes place in South Carolina in the 1950s. The story is told from five character’s points of view. It begins with Sheriff Alexander trying to solve a murder, while at the same time coming to grips with his own feelings about the mountain community and people he has left behind. He also has to contend with the exploitation of the community by Carolina Power Company, who is eager to flood the area. He is joined by Amy, the wife of a local farmer; her husband Billy; their son Isaac; and the deputy, Bobby in revealing the tale of the Jocassee community and its people. The story encompasses twenty years in the Jocassee neighborhood and along with the narrators; other characters important to the story are introduced to the reader. Widow Glendower is one of those characters.
Widow Glendower is perceived by some in the valley to be a witchy-woman. She is a mid-wife to many in the community, a doctor for their illnesses, and a seer of things to come. While she may appear to some as a way to tie the other characters together, she is an essential part of the story. The geography and people of Appalachia have historically been demoralized by outside influences. The land and people are extraordinary for numerous reasons, one of which is their resilience to the offenses they have suffered for the greater good of others. They have been repeatedly sacrificed for the good of people or businesses somewhere else. The endurance, faith and interdependence, of the people and the land, are embodied in Widow Glendower.
She symbolizes the culture’s endurance and sense of place. In an interview with Karen...
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Bjerre, Thomas Ærvold. “The Natural World Is The Most Universal Of Languages”: An Interview with Ron Rash.” Appalachian Journal 32.2 (2007): 216-227. Literary Reference Center. Web. 16 Nov. 2013.
Engel, Mary Ella. “The Appalachian “Granny”: Testing the Boundaries of Female Power in Late-19th-Century Appalachian Georgia.” Appalachian Journal 37.3/4 (2010): 210-225 Literary Reference Center. Web. 14 Nov. 2013.
Pierce, Peter. “Superstition In The Shadow Of The Appalachians.” Australian, The (2011): 23. Newspaper Source. Web. 19 Nov. 2013.
Rash, Ron. One Foot in Eden. New York: Picador, 2002. Print.
Shurbutt, Sylvia Bailey. “Burning Bright: The Language and Storytelling of Appalachia and the Poetry and Prose of Ron Rash.” Shepard University. 2011. Web. 10 Nov. 2013.
Zacharias, Karen Spears. "Ron Rash Speaks with Karen Spears Zacharias. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Nov. 2013.
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