Cold Sassy Tree: Chapter 3

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Chapter 3 Summary

 
Will doesn’t understand why the daughters won’t accept Grandpa’s marriage. Both of them married willfully despite family opinion. Mary Willis married away from the Baptist church, marrying a Presbyterian, and Loma married a no-good tenant farmer to spite her daddy.
 
Love Simpson has worked as a milliner at Grandpa’s store for two years and already must know that he is stingy, if she is trying to get his money. Will remembers his Granny fondly, and he knows that his grandparents loved each other. Grandpa does need looking after, however, since he only has one hand.
 
Will hates being in mourning because it means he can’t go fishing or play baseball or do anything he likes. He knows Granny would be sorry about this. His father comes in and announces that Grandpa and Love have just left to get married today. Mary Willis gets sick and has to go to bed. Her husband Hoyt tries to comfort her as she complains about Love’s no doubt seedy background. No lady would work for pay, and her daddy fought for the Union.
 
Chapter 3 Commentary
 
Many hostile references are made to Yankees because this Southern town still remembers the Civil War (1861-1865) as though it happened yesterday. There are many Civil War veterans around, like Grandpa. The Confederate flag is still flown in Cold Sassy. Though Love comes from Maryland, which was once a slave state, it fought on the Union side, so she is considered a Northerner. She speaks in a refined accent, unlike the other characters of Cold Sassy who speak a southern rural dialect. In addition, she is considered of the lower working class. Women at this time did not work for pay outside the home unless they were poor. Love is also suspect because she is a suffragette, campaigning for women to get the vote.
 
The first few chapters establish that Cold Sassy is very conservative, very rural and non-progressive. Public opinion is everything in such a small place. Because everyone is related or has lived in the area for generations, gossip will make it difficult for the family to hold up their heads with Grandpa’s elopement, even though Rucker Blakeslee is an influential leader in town. The daughters are afraid to stand up to him and so are most of the townspeople, though they will talk behind his back. Grandpa employs the husbands of his daughters, Hoyt and Camp, so they have to do what he says. Besides that, Grandpa’s personality is very charismatic. He is used to having his way.
 
Love Simpson is portrayed as more liberal than the townspeople. She is young and savvy. She stands up for herself. Though she is a devoted Methodist, she is not rigid or dogmatic in her religion like the townspeople. She genuinely respects Grandpa Blakeslee as a good man and is the only one besides Will who can understand his original thinking.
 

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