Essay, Research Paper: Cold Sassy Tree

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Olive Ann Burns, who was born in Banks County, Georgia, in 1924, wrote Cold
Sassy Tree. Burns collected all the stories of her father and his grandfather, a
store owner in Commerce, which were a model for Cold Sassy. She wrote the sequel
to this novel before dying in 1990. Characters Will Tweedy was the main
character who retold the story eight years later. He was a young fourteen
year-old boy at the beginning of the book. Will loved fishing, camping, driving,
and spending time with friends. He also was a great story-teller telling true
and fictional tales. He demonstrated his independence when he wished to go to
college and become a successful farmer while his grandfather wanted him to work
at the store. E.R. Blakeslee, owner of the main store in town, was Will’s
grandfather and father of Loma and Mary Willis. He was a well-respected man of
Cold Sassy, rarely questioned by anyone to his face. Mr. Blakeslee was known for
his great fights when he was younger. His left arm had been amputated after an
accident in a mill. Grandpa treated and loved Will as though he was Grandpa’s
son since the old man did not have one. The old man was usually stingy about
spending money but made exceptions. Grandpa did what he wished knowing the town
would gossip about him and his actions. Although Granny Blakeslee(Mattie Lou),
Mr. Blakeslee’s first wife, was deceased during the story, we learned much
about her. For example, she nursed many sick people but hated house work. She
was considered a saint for all that she had done. She was strong for having to
struggle with no bathroom, lights, or electricity because of Grandpa’s
unwillingness to pay for them. She and Mr. Blakeslee really loved each other and
were married for thirty-six years. Miss Love, the second wife of Mr. Blakeslee,
married him only three weeks after Granny died. At first Miss Love was just the
housekeeper because she was cheaper than a colored lady. Then they fell in love,
and Grandpa bought many things for her. She was sensitive and longed to be in a
family like the Tweedy’s. After a long time she finally became accepted into
the family. Most of the town considered her a Yankee and treated her cruelly,
even though she was from Baltimore. Mary Willis, the mother of Will and Mary
Toy, was calm and polite. When Miss Love and her father married, she changed by
showing and telling her feelings. She felt the whole family was disgraced by her
father. She was a great mother and wife. Aunt Loma was one of the people Will
hated the most. Only five years older than Will, she was cruel to him when they
were young. Loma was bossy and expected to get what she wanted. She was also
rude, especially to her husband who later committed suicide. At first, she hated
Miss Love but later accepted her. Her hobbies included writing plays and taking
care of her cats. Hoyt Tweedy, the husband of Mary Willis and a worker at
Grandpa’s store, was afraid to stand up to Grandpa , but usually at times he
did. He often defended Miss Love because he worked with her and knew her as a
nice lady. He worked hard and was really appreciated by all. Plot The book began
with Grandpa announcing to the family that he was going to marry Miss Love
Simpson. They ran off to get married in Jefferson, an event that sent the whole
town to talking and disgraced and embarrassed the family. At Granny’s funeral
three weeks earlier, Will and Grandpa made a blanket of roses to have her body
put in. After being in mourning for three weeks and having no fun, Will decided
to go fishing with T.R., his dog. After fishing for a little while, Will almost
lost his life on the train tracks. One day when a cowboy came to the house, Miss
Love and he kissed like lovers. It was her old boyfriend, and he asked her to
marry him. She said no and got upset. When Grandpa came home, he treated him
like a guest and forgave her. Grandpa later asked Will to get a horse for Miss
Love. On the way he and his buddies camped out. The horse really made Miss Love
happy, and she adored the creature. Mama had not planned to go to New York with
Papa since she was in mourning. She changed her mind, but it was too late.
Grandpa and Miss Love were going instead. This really hurt Mama. Then Papa
bought an automobile to cheer up Mama and take people’s minds off of Grandpa.
Returning from New York, Miss Love brought gifts for everyone. A week later,
there was a parade held by Grandpa to announce that he was selling cars.
Loma’s husband asked her to go out of town to fix the pipes. Her husband had
fixed the pipes and committed suicide. Grandpa gave him a nice funeral. Loma
then moved in with her sister and took Will’s room. She was also going to work
at the store and to learn from Miss Love how to be a milliner. One night Grandpa
was robbed and injured severely. A few days later he died, never hearing that
Miss Love was pregnant with his baby. The will was read; a funeral for family
and workers was held just like the will said. Grandpa also wanted a party to be
held to remember the good times of Grandpa’s life. Setting The setting was in
1906-1907 in Cold Sassy, a small town in Georgia. Distinguishing Characteristics
Burns told this novel in first person through the eyes of a young boy, Will
Tweedy. Will told this story in a flashback and used a series of flashbacks
during the novel. Burns used dialect that people in a small southern town would
use in the early 1900’s. The author held the reader’s attention with her
style.

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