Study Guide for Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns|
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COLD SASSY TREE - ONLINE NOTES
Will and Miss Love talk about customs and trips they have taken with
different people. Miss Love eases Will's mind by telling him that she,
herself, told Grandpa about McAllister kissing her. She casually suggests
that Will has probably taken numerous trips with Grandpa, but that isn't
the case as Rucker doesn't like to travel.
Miss Love offers Will a glass of lemonade, and as a way of starting conversation he relates a brief anecdote about Queenie who always drinks her lemonade from a quart jar because she wants the first glass "as big as [she] can get." He laughs about it, the "way white folks always laugh when they tell something funny a colored person said." The implication is that this is a kind of laughter different from something humorous among white people. Love laughs with him but then forces him to think about the real reason Queenie drinks from quart jars and eats from old plates or pie pans. Love sees the inequality that the white citizens in the town refuse to acknowledge. Will's angry reaction shows that he sees it too, but he has been taught to expect the separation between black and white.
Love's words bring up a racist attitude that he has known about all
along, but, like his family, he simply hasn't talked about it. He still
is not ready to accept the notion that there is anything wrong with denying
the use of good dishes or family dining rooms to the black servants.
Will visits Loma, intending to apologize for his stories. He isn't really sorry, but is in the mood to hear her fuss at him. She is indeed angry when he arrives, but not at him. Her angry is directed against Camp who has painted a white enamel over the fireplace mantel-without first cleaning the mantel. Thus, he has painted around a tin matchbox and over a cockroach, pencil and a button.
When Will apologizes to Loma for his stories, she further surprises
him by laughing. She tells him that if he can think up such outrageous
stories, he ought to be a writer. At first, Will rejects the idea, solely
because it comes from her. But she melts some of his animosity by play-acting
the part of a bride with a leaking rubber bust, and they are soon laughing
together. Finally, she gives him a blank journal which she had once thought
to use for herself; time and life had gotten in the way, and she had never
done any more than put her name in it. Will thinks of it as just another
bossy gesture, but is touched in spite of himself. At that point he begins
keeping the journal-writing down the things that happen in Cold Sassy.
In addition to showing how the writer in Will was identified, this chapter cast Loma in a more favorable light. Earlier in the story, she seems to be merely the leader of the antagonism against Love and Will's primary enemy. However, she has a story of her own and dreams that will never be realized. A life of hard work and borderline poverty has made her angry and bitter-especially as her own sister has a house with servants, a good income and every comfort she could want for the time period. We also see that Will and Loma are more alike than he understands; he is capable of writing the stories while she has a flare for acting and adding to them. She is part of the leading family in the town, and the stories were not believable anyway, so the incident did not result in rumors or attempts to ostracize her as they would have if the same had been applied to Love.
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Ruff, Dr. K.. "TheBestNotes on Cold Sassy Tree".
. 09 May 2017