James Still's River of Earth is a novel about life in Appalachia just before the Depression. Furthermore it is a novel about the struggles of the mountain people since the settlement of their region. However great it may be at depicting Appalachia's mountain people and culture, though, Still's novel has remained mostly invisible compared to other novels of the period which depict poor white southern life, such as John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath and Erskine Caldwell's God's Little Acre (Olson 87).
As scholar Ted Olson notes, there are several reasons for this neglect. First of all, Still's novel has been labeled as "regional" and therefore not as "universal" in its concerns and subject matters. And in 1940 when it was first published the American people were running low on desire to plod through more regional novels; even Faulkner was hardly read at this time (Olsen 92). In addition, we were at a period as a nation when people were coming off a decade of extreme poverty and did not want to hear or read about more poverty.
Still, in many ways it is hard to explain the longterm success of Grapes of Wrath and the longterm fadeout of River of Earth. To begin, Steinbeck's novel, which tells the story of the plight of a poor white family in Oklahoma during the Depression, is no less "regional" than Still's chronicle of poor white life in eastern Kentucky . Yet somehow Grapes of Wrath escaped the "regional" stereotype and went on to become an American classic.
Ironically, though, when the two novels were released, Still's grabbed more critical acclaim (Olsen 89). Though Grapes of Wrath did earn some rave reviews and was called the "great American book" by...
... middle of paper ...
...people anywhere. And refreshingly, Still's characters do not spend all their time trying to "rise above" their poverty. Instead they love their mountain world and take pleasure in the small but important things in life like a simple meal or a good laugh. They are not weighed down by the glittery world or overindulgent trappings of Jay Gatsby. Maybe that's the real reason most Americans couldn't handle the book then and now. Instead of presenting them with the excesses of a gilded age, it told them about a people content to enjoy a great spiritual wealth even if their economic conditions were supposed to make them "poor."
Cadle, Dean. "Man on Troublesome." The Yale Review 57 (December 1967): 236-255.
Olsen, Ted. "`This Mighty River of Earth': Reclaiming James Still's American Masterpiece." Journal of Appalachian Studies 1.1 (Fall 1995): 87-98.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Every year millions of children are abused and neglected worldwide. Child abuse is a global concern. It has severe outcomes on the children who are victims, and often the effects are long-lasting. Child abuse is a highly under-reported crime although of those reported, neglect accounts for the majority of child abuse cases (Pala, Ünalacak, & Ünlüoğlu, 2011). Neglect in children often has more dire consequences than other types of child abuse (DePanfilis, Children’s Bureau, & Office on Child Abuse & Neglect, 2006).... [tags: Attachment Disturbances in Neglected Children]
1904 words (5.4 pages)
- A story always has two side versions or maybe more depending on what prospective it is being presented in. Some stories have a good version and others have the bad “evil” depending on what it is about. However, a film that is trying to make an overall political statement of what is occurring at that time can be taken in differently by the viewer, since each hold distinct values. Depending on those values people could be open minded to new possibilities or continue to be restricted to having things and situations just the way they are.... [tags: Human, Race, Black people, White people]
1183 words (3.4 pages)
- Water in America: A Neglected Commodity Water may be the most vital resource for all life on Earth, yet only a marginal percent of it is drinkable. Water scarcity is not just a third world problem, but the need to conserve fresh is an issue that the United States is dealing with as well. The largest water reservoir in the United States, Lake Mead, water level reached a historic low in 2015 (Schwartz, 2015). In addition, Drought in California has forced the Governor Brown to issue a state of emergency in 2014.... [tags: Water, Drinking water, Water supply]
1447 words (4.1 pages)
- ... Now to see the big picture and bring all types of water in the hydrologic cycle. Liquid form can go two ways evaporation into water vapor or freezing going into ice. Water vapor can go two ways condensation which turns into liquid water and deposition turns into solid ice. Solid or frozen water can go two ways melting which turns into liquid water or sublimation which turns into water vapor. This is how the hydrosphere pertain to us and how we fit into this into it as well. Exosphere the outer fringe region of the atmosphere of the earth or a celestial body (as a planet)(Merriam-Webster Dictionary).... [tags: Earth, Water, Atmosphere, Precipitation]
1265 words (3.6 pages)
- Indigenes, the neglected people. Have you ever thought that some groups of native are reduced to 5% of their population size since 1500s. The indigenous life has been threatened by many factors. The problem begins during the colonization period, when the Europeans slaved many indigenous, explored the native 's land and spread disease among the indigenous. Even after this period, indigenes still remain threatened, by the government negligence, by the latifundium expansion and by the globalization that devaluates the native culture.... [tags: Indigenous peoples of the Americas]
1091 words (3.1 pages)
- Henry James’ Turn of the Screw is one of the most engrossing ghost stories of all time. On the surface, James creates a typical ghost story with a mysterious mansion, a young, innocuous governess, two seemingly innocent children, and two enigmatic ‘ghosts’. Upon closer observation, the plot may not be as simple as it seems. The ghosts only appear to the Governess, leading one to believe that they are simply a figment of her imagination and not actually ‘ghosts’ as they are originally characterized by the Governess.... [tags: Schizophrenia, Psychosis, Henry James]
1041 words (3 pages)
- ... When I got there, there were volcanoes erupting and the magma from it became hard. The magma becoming hard was how the islands were formed. I got bored after watching that for a little while and decided to go to 750 million years ago. I set that as the option and clicked go. There was heat escaping from the core and that heat was splitting a continent in 2. After that was over, I decided to go to the longest Ice Age that was 650 million years ago. I went there and it was freezing cold. There was so much ice on the earth.... [tags: Sun, Earth, Oxygen, Time travel]
1229 words (3.5 pages)
- The stuff from factory productions to people’s trash accumulation is destroying the planet earth at an alarming rate. Meaning that people are stripping the earth of its natural resources to mass produce products which is bought by consumers only to be disposed of quickly and either dump in a landfill or burnt up in an incinerator while the government stands by encouraging it to happen even quicker. Therefore, the earth is not able to keep pace with the stripping of it natural resources and will not be able to sustain human life at the velocity today’s society is consuming.... [tags: Earth, World, Natural resource, Planet]
1238 words (3.5 pages)
- “Dear friend and colleague,” Tamarind said in a hushed voice while embracing Surina and then Nieves. “Surina, you look well. You will soon be as thankful as I am to come to Gnaritus if you aren’t already. My children joined me on Gnaritus recently, so my family is now complete. Indeed, I spent the happiest years of my life right here. I have no fond memories of the rat race on the Earth. Only here did I understand the real meaning of gaining knowledge without an ulterior motive such as money or fame.... [tags: Earth, Universe]
1649 words (4.7 pages)
- A Difference in Values The House of Wang Lung rose in one generation from a family of poor farmers to a wealthy respected house in the novel The Good Earth by Pearl Buck. The dramatic change in social status causes the sons of Wang Lung to have different views and values from their father. His different treatment of each son also shapes each character. Although part of the same family the charachters demonstrate a difference in values. The father values the land, the youngest son values regognition, the middle son values wealth, and the eldest son values respect.... [tags: Earth]
1055 words (3 pages)
- Essay on the Importance of Perspective in Gulliver's Travels
- Robert Browning's Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came
- Hypocritical Christianity Exposed in Bernard Shaw's Major Barbara
- The Ape-Like Mr. Hyde in Robert Louis Stevenson Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
- Comparing Moral Systems in Lord of the Flies, Crime and Punishment, Scarlet Letter, and Pygmalion
- Rayona’s Growth in A Yellow Raft In Blue Water