An Analysis of Separation in Jim Wayne Miller's The Taste of Iron Water

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Cary Wolfe
Professor Murrey
English 200, Tuesday & Thursday Class
26 February 2013
Word Count 1008
The Appalachian: Separation
An Analysis of Separation in Jim Wayne Miller’s
“The Taste of Ironwater”

My small Appalachian hometown is peaceful, with its flowing streams and rolling hills, somewhat untouched by the rest of the world, a place I hope to never leave again. Separation is defined in multiple ways; the one used in this story is the process of separating or the condition of being separated (DEF.). Just like Buddy, the main character in Jim Wayne Miller’s “The Taste of Ironwater,” I once was in a state of overwhelming separation from the armed forces, my spouse, and my Appalachian home. After finishing my last deployment in the United States Army, I came home to an empty house and a Dear John letter. I was only sixty days from becoming a civilian. Then I had to decide through all of the anxiety from separation what I wanted to do: I had family close by that had found me work, if I wanted to stay in the south, or I could return home to endless possibilities. This story helped me see the trials and tribulations of separation in a different light. In the story a man named Buddy had run into an old friend, L.C.. They talked about the good old days, and their friends who had made something of themselves. Odell took the hell raiser to preacher approach in life, while Haskill Bayes (a not as intelligent person) had graduated from a community college that had open up near their hometown. Soon afterward, Buddy’s mom had sent Preacher Odell to pay him a visit, and in return Buddy decided to return home. Throughout Jim Wayne Miller’s “The Taste of Ironwater,” Miller showed the pattern of separation in Buddy’s life, through the military, his wife, and the small hometown he had left behind years ago. One way, Buddy’s transition from military to civilian life is not just a change in employment, but a change in culture and lifestyle...
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