Cold Sassy Tree Essay

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Leah Vitelli
Unknown Lit Teacher
American Lit
07 August 2012
Cold Sassy Tree Essay
In many novels such as Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns, different themes come into play. There are many themes in this novel. Themes such as growing up, love, and death. The theme that recurs the most in this story is the theme of understanding death. Understanding death is difficult for most of the characters in the novel. This theme plays a big role in the novel and occurs many different times and ways.

First, the novel opens up with a death, the death of Miss Mattie Lou. The death of Mattie Lou devastates everyone in Cold Sassy, Georgia, but especially devastates Rucker Blakeslee, her widower. Throughout the whole novel, Rucker is trying to understand why God would take Mattie Lou from him. Rucker marries Love Simpson to try and get over Mattie Lou’s sudden death. Everyone in the town of Cold Sassy thinks he married Love to spite Mattie Lou, but that was not the case at all. In this quote by Rucker, he says, “Well, good gosh a’mighty! She’s as dead as she’ll ever be, ain’t she? Well, ain’t she?”(Burns 5). In this quote, Rucker is fed up with Loma and Mary Willis’ response to his news of his second marriage. He isn’t trying to spite his passed wife, he is just trying to get over the memory of her and getting married a second time is his way of doing just that.

The second example of trying to understand death is when Will Tweedy almost gets run over by a train. When Will Tweedy almost dies he starts to understand how appreciative of life he really should be. He starts to look at things a whole new way. This encounter with death makes him want to understand God and death. Will Tweedy wants to know if God interferes with death and dying or if it all up to us. In this quote by Will Tweedy, he says, “Grandpa, you think I’m alive tonight cause it was God’s will?” (Burns 97). When he says this he is just starting to try and understand death. Will...
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