Study Guide for Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns|
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COLD SASSY TREE - PLOT SUMMARY / SYNOPSIS
Will describes the day they thought Granny would die. Grandpa brings
him into the room and shuts everyone else out. At the moment Rucker thinks
she is gone, he makes Will get on his knees and pray. Grandpa does not
ask God to spare her, but rather to help him accept her death. In his
prayer he implies that God is punishing him for some sin he committed
against Mattie Lou and that only he knows about. Instead of dying, however,
Mattie rallies and is better the next day.
This chapter foreshadows the revelation of some secret and implies that it is of greater magnitude than it will turn out to be. It also gives a preliminary insight into Grandpa's version of religion. He doesn't ask God to give him favors or to do what he might want, but to bear whatever life dishes out with a sense of grace and dignity. His own relationship with God is deeper and far more personal than the showy formality of most of the people of town.
Will's presence in the room is a narrative device. In order to provide
a first person narrator with information that the rest of the characters
do not have, he has to have some sort of privileged access. Rucker's inclusion
of Will implies a closer relationship as well as trust, but also creates
a convenience for the narration.
Granny's rally is short lived. A few days later she has a relapse and
begins hallucinating. Finally she talks of seeing angels. Grandpa holds
her until she dies. Will recalls the "heartbreak in his face,"
saying that no one who had seen that could ever have believed that Rucker
was glad to be free of Mattie Lou just so he could marry Love Simpson.
Will as narrator continues a pattern of defending his grandfather, which he began in an earlier chapter.
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Ruff, Dr. K.. "TheBestNotes on Cold Sassy Tree".
. 09 May 2017