Study Guide for Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns|
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COLD SASSY TREE - STUDY GUIDE
Mr. Lias Foster is the rural delivery postman. He accepts eggs for stamps,
which he then trades at Rucker's store. Will and his friend Pinky Predmore
ride in the mail wagon as far as Grandpa Tweedy's place where they will
borrow Tweedy's wagon and mules. Tweedy owns his farm, but has lost hope
in his ability to run it successfully. The place is rundown and Grandpa
Tweedy himself looks seedy and unkempt. Nevertheless, he tells his housekeeper
Mrs. Jones to put some extra plates on the table for lunch. The Tweedys
catch up on the Cold Sassy gossip. Grandpa Tweedy is at first grouchy
and reluctant to let Will take the wagon. His mood changes when he recalls
a boyhood trip of his own on which he and his father General Tweedy drove
35 head of cattle through the mountains. He helps Will hitch up the mules
and wishes him luck on his camping trip.
This chapter gives a comparison between Grandpa Tweedy on Will's father's side and Grandpa Blakeslee on his mother's side. Will doesn't have much respect for Grandpa Tweedy because he is lazy and lives like "white trash" even though he owns his own land. Will notes the difference between the farmers and store keepers; they had to contend with high taxes, high freight prices and worn out land. Still Tweedy was better off than most farmers due to breaks Blakeslee gave him at the store, but he didn't use the opportunity to his advantage. Although he calls himself a farmer, he is "like the lilies of the field" in that "he toiled not, neither did he spend his own money." He spent more time sitting on his porch bemoaning the weeds and the insect pests than walking behind a plow.
Tweedy does take advantage of every opportunity to teach "catechism" to Will, which doesn't win any affection from Will either. Will had long disliked him because he wouldn't let him fish on Sunday. One time Will set the hooks on Saturday, reasoning that if a fish was caught, it wouldn't be a sin to take the hook out of his mouth on Sunday, but Tweedy made him leave the fish there until Monday, and by then it was gone.
Tweedy's own morals are questionable even for his day, as he is known to have deliberately brought about the injury of a tenant farmer's child. Tenants had been stealing his wood, so he drilled holes in some of the pieces, filled the holes with gunpowder and sealed them over with wax. When the wood was put in the stove, the gunpowder exploded, ruining a stove and seriously injuring the child's hand. Tweedy's response was that they wouldn't be stealing his wood anymore. Such vengeance on people who struggle just to survive every day is beyond Will's tolerance and the primary reason for his disrespect of Grandpa Tweedy.
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Ruff, Dr. K.. "TheBestNotes on Cold Sassy Tree".
. 09 May 2017