Death is spread all throughout Cold Sassy Tree, a novel that begins with the passing of Mattie Lou and ends with the passing of Rucker Blakeslee. While the book focuses on mainly on religion and the restrictions of the town Cold Sassy, the Grim Reaper seems to be floating around every corner. Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns. is a book that revolves around death, and the main character Will Tweedy seems to know just how to handle himself from the very start.
Will Tweedy is fourteen years old when his grandmother, Mattie Lou Toy Blakeslee, dies three weeks before the novel begins. There is no real explanation as to why she died, since the authour did not specify her sickness, so it was most likely due to natural causes. This might have made it somewhat easier on Mattie Lou's family and the rest of Cold Sassy, who were very close to her, but it does not keep them all from grieving and mourning to Kingdom Come. They linger on her death and restrict themselves from doing anything they find pleasurable. This is understandable as well as common in their time, seeing that they could be judged for coming out of mourning too quickly. However, young Will sees that there is something wrong with staying upset for such a long period of time: "I just didn't think I could stand anymore mourning. For three whole weeks...they hadn't let me play baseball or go fishing or anything." (Burns 14). This shows that Will is somewhat ahead of others when it comes to dealing with the demise of close friends and relatives, though he deals with it in a very different way from others.
Will is puzzled by the conformity that is offered from Cold Sassy. He does not see why it is wrong for his grandfather, Mr. Blakeslee, to love both his dead wife and his new wife, Miss Love. He knows that it is strange for his grandfather to be marrying a young milliner shortly after Mattie Lou dies, yet sees the positive side and recognizes the fact that his grandfather will need help around...
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