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In my last response I tried to explain why I was so frustrated with the characters, but I don’t feel that I got across what I wanted to, partly because I was still figuring it out. For me, this novel did have its good and bad points, I can’t say that I enjoyed the whole novel but I didn’t hate all of it either. There are some beautiful moments, and although in comparison to Edith Pearlman the prose is simple, it does not lack its own beauty. In fact I had marked a passage I liked on almost every page. Most of my problems with this book have less to do with the mechanics of writing and more to do with the conceptual issues the text implied.

One of the major things that frustrated me about this book was that its portrayal of this small town in Appalachia enforces the negative stereotypes that plague the region. Dellarobia is the only person from this town who is made to seem at all involved with this world beyond her own life, and her character is quickly made to be something other. She doesn’t belong to this community, and so is removed from the sphere of its cultural inclusion. The stereotype of lack of education and poverty that surrounds the entirety of the Appalachian region does have some basis, but most of that basis comes from the early 1960’s. The percentage of persons over the age of 25 who have received a Bachelor’s degree or more in Tennessee alone is only slightly lower than the national average. While the poverty rate (of Tennessee) is higher than the national average there is not too much of a difference. Her intended audience is not Appalachia, and in her use of this stereotype she is only continuing the cycle of negative images that haunts that community.

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