The River of Earth
The River of Earth
The novel River Of Earth by James Still is a story about life in e Appalachia just before The Great Depression. The story provides a very clear description of the problems and challenges the mountain people faced after the settlement of their land. Even though the novel is shadowed by other writings of the time period dealing with poor southern life, it is still considered a great neglected masterpiece.
The story is about a family that considers awkward. They struggle to put enough food on the table for the entire family, most of the time the mother barely eats. They live in a small smoke house that is very cramped and cluttered because of the number of people living in it. The Father is waiting for the coal mines
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When the main character returns to his family he learns that the baby had died from croup. Also the family moves to a farm they rented in Flaxpatch on Little Angus. Here they plant crops and farm together as a family. The father has returned from the mines and decides he wishes to move back because he heard they would stay open through the winter. They go and he works there for a while and earns decent money, enough to support his family. During the winter the main characters grandmother dies. It’s a sad moment for the entire family. This is so because she was such a strong figure in the book even with her bad health. After the winter the father decides to stop mining and move the family to a place where he can find a different job or stat a farm. In the end the main character imagines his grandmother talking to him about his baby sibling crying. This story gives great detail to a life lived by the mountain families of the Appalachia. It puts you in the shoes of a young boy who is growing up in the hard time period just before The Great Depression. James Still does a great job of capturing the culture of the time period. Unfortunately, this book will always remain a neglected