Running head: UNIT ONE: THE NOVEL
Unitone: the Novel
TheRiver of Earth, by James Still, is a story based on the mountains,portraying the life that is experienced by the people living in themountains as that of hardship. The story depicts a historicalexperience of the Southern Appalachian people (Turner, 1992). Thenarrator exposes the readers minds to an understanding that life inthe mountains is never a walk in the park. He illustrates thesituation in mentioning that his father worked in the mines while hismother worked over a rusty stove back at home, and the both expendedall their energy to provide for eight people. The narrator`s motherconstantly expresses her concern to the father by urging him toconsider excluding his two cousins from their meals because what theycan afford can barely keep even their children full.
Thestory lays emphasis on the bond between families forcing thenarrator’s father to keep up with his cousins` irrationalbehaviors, claiming he can not turn on his family.
Aninteresting observation made is that in most low-income households,their primary concern is food. Food is the common talk, andessentially members of the households only work for food. Thenarration gives a clear view of that fact, displaying that even thealtercations that arose between the narrator’s mother and fatherwere always instigated by matters of food.
Themountain people depended on subsistence farming and mining, which wasnot reliable because there are times people lost jobs because themine fields were drained of resources. Notwithstanding the adversityseething through that land, the narrator`s father is still depictedas a strong-willed person, who will not relent on the search forcomfort to his family and kinsmen. He is represented as a lovingcharacter.
Turner,M. B. (1992). A Vision of Change: Appalachia in James Still`s"River of Earth". TheSouthern Literary Journal,11-25.