In the novel, Saving Grace, author Lee Smith follows the life of a young woman who was raised in poverty by an extremely religious father. In this story Grace Shepherd, the main character, starts out as a child, whose father is a preacher, and describes the numerous events, incidents, and even accidents that occur throughout her childhood and towards middle age, in addition, it tells the joyous moments that Grace experienced as well. Grace also had several different relationships with men that all eventually failed and some that never had a chance. First, there was a half brother that seduced her when she was just a child, then she married a much older man when she was only seventeen, whose “idea of the true nature of God came closer to my own image of Him as a great rock, eternal and unchanging” (Smith 165). However, she succumbs to an affair with a younger man that prompted a toxic relationship. What caused her to act so promiscuous and rebel against everything she had been taught growing up? The various men in Grace 's life all gave her something, for better or worse, and helped to make her the person she became at the end of the novel.
When Grace was fourteen years old a boy named Lamar came into her life. He was older and claimed to be her father 's son. Grace found Lamar attractive and was surprised to feel that way as she, “had never thought of a boy as good-looking...” (Smith 70). Lamar convinced Grace 's father, Virgil Sheppard, that he would work for their family if he could live there. Of Course, Grace 's father accepted his offer and Lamar began to live there with Grace, her parents, and her other siblings, one of which became pregnant, presumably by Lamar. Not very long after Lamar had been staying w...
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...s down on me hard like a blow to the top of my head and runs all over my body like lighting...It is a joy which spreads all through my body, all through this sinful old body of mine...I cannot help but laugh as I start down the hill, for the spirit is a joyful thing” (Smith 271). Perhaps Grace found Randy Newhouse exciting and new, she was swept up by his way of life, but ultimately she found the life she always longed for.
Grace Shepherd was involved with multiple men throughout her life, all different, and certainly not all righteous. She was seduced at an early age and then fell in love with a preacher, but was overcome by an exciting younger man. She experienced every form of lust and desire as well as loss. Somehow though all the hardship she was able to come out on the other side a more complete woman and ironically did so without any of these men.
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