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Cold Sassy Tree

overview of the themes found in the novel
by

Jo Carrie Partain

on 3 February 2011

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Transcript of Cold Sassy Tree

Cold Sassy Tree Themes The Inevitability of Change The Limiting Power of Prejudice The Importance of Home The novel explores the changing attitudes of Will Tweedy as he approaches adulthood. As he matures, Will Tweedy realizes that the people around him are far more complex than he realized as a child The inevitability of change is shown through images of life and death, growth and development, innocence and experience, departure and return, and past and future. Will experiences the death of his best friend, Bluford Jackson, his grandmother, and his grandfather. These deaths cause changes in Will's life, but life does go on. Will sees growth and development occuring all around him. His father is the first one in Cold Sassy to own an automobile. Will also sees the difference electricity and indoor plumbing can make to a person's life. Will is exposed to changing ideas about women's rights, social boundaries, and racial prejudice. Home represents having a place to belong, a family. This theme is represented by Miss Love. She agrees to marry Grandpa Blakeslee after he promises her his house. She has never had a real home before, and she is hoping to become a part of a real family. While Miss Love struggles to become a part of a family who does not accept her marriage, Will must discover his own place in the family, establishing his own independence while maintaining a close, familial bond. Will begins to see how preconceived notions about other people can be wrong. Much of the prejudice he encounters is embedded into the fiber of the community so that he does not even recognize it as prejudice; it is "tradition." Miss Love forces Will to recognize the racial prejudice inherent in the "customs" shared by his family and Queenie, their African American maid, and her husband, Loomis. Will's mother and Aunt Loma feel that Grandpa Blakeslee's marriage to Miss Love is made all the more shocking because she is "practically a yankee." This reveals the Southern bias in the novel. Will's budding relationship with Lightfoot is damaged by the economic disparities between them. The fact that she is from Milltown keeps Will from openly expressing his feelings for her. Will begins to question his assumptions about the way people are treated because of race, class, or gender. Will realizes that as a male, he can expect treatment different from that given to females.
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