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Study Guide for Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns

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COLD SASSY TREE BY OLIVE ANN BURNS - STUDY GUIDE/ SUMMARY

LITERARY ELEMENTS

SETTING

The story takes place in a fictional small town by the name of "Cold Sassy" in Georgia, near the turn of the century. There is a sharp separation between the people of the town and the "mill people" or blue-collar workers who labor in a cotton mill at the outskirts of town for wages impossible to live on. There are also some tenant farmers along with the older land owners who have struggled to make a living off of their farms since the end of the Civil War. The story centers primarily around the merchant families who run the town.


CHARACTER LIST

Major Characters

Will Tweedy
Narrator of the story, secondary protagonist in that he is Rucker's favorite and is included with him for most of the events that take place.

Rucker Blakeslee
Protagonist, family patriarch, store owner. Controls the family in almost every way.

Marie Willis Tweedy
Rucker's oldest daughter and Will's mother. Tries to see the good in everyone even when she disapproves of their actions.

Loma Williams
Rucker's other daughter, and Will's aunt. A bitter, angry character.

Love Simpson
The milliner sent to Rucker's store. He falls in love with her almost the moment he sees her and marries her three weeks after Mattie Lou dies.


Minor Characters

Mattie Lou Toy
Will's grandmother, wife to Rucker. Dies just prior to the opening of the story.

Aunt Carrie
An "adopted" family member who isn't really related but was close to Mattie Lou's mother and thus was "inherited" by Mattie Lou

Lightfoot McClendon
The mill town girl to whom Will is attracted. She finally marries Hosie Roach.


Mary Toy Tweedy
Will's little sister.

Hoyt Tweedy
Will's father.

Hosie Roach
A mill town boy who attends school with Will and also likes Lightfoot.

Campbell Williams
Loma's husband.

Toddy Hughes
A writer for the Atlanta paper.

Blueford Jackson
Will's best friend who killed himself accidentally with firecrackers prior to the opening of the story.

Lige Toy
A relative of Mattie Lou.

Hopewell Stump
One of the town people.

Effie Belle Tate
A neighbor of Grandpa Blakeslee.

Pinky Predmore, Smiley Snodgrass, Lee Roy Sleep, Dunson McCall
Will's school chums.

Angus Tuttle
The depot man.

Miss Alice Ann
Another town gossip who spots Will going into the cemetery with Lightfoot.

 

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