Monday, September 3, 2012
"You're gone from me...tragedy." Song lyrics
"Tragic Ground" is an example of the naturalistic style of American Literature where the character is placed in a situation beyond their control and the situation dictates the story.
Written in 1944, the story tells of Spence Douthit who moved from Beasley County to a Southern community to work during WWII.
During the war, people were recruited to this area to help provide things needed for the war. However, after the war, the manufacturing plant closed and work opportunities were slim. Many of the people were so poor, they didn't have the financial means to return to their original homes. The community where Spence lived became known as Poor Town.
Spence has two daughters, Libby, age twenty, and Mavis, age thirteen. Libby has a job and a boyfriend who is about to be discharged from a military hospital. Mavis sees how bleak the situation is at her home. She becomes attracted to boys and having a good time.
Since Libby men a man with money and prospects, Spence gets an idea of fixing Mavis up with a wealthy man to marry. His idea is that this would give the family the money to move back to Beasley County and everything would be fine.
The writing is in the fashion of the day with so little to hope for and dreams which will never come true.
A social worker comes to Spence's home about Mavis living at a place that is improper for young girls and this adds to the drama of the story.
I found the story to be interesting and compare it to Theodore Dreiser's work. The story provided a different look at a time and place in American history.
Reading the plight of Spence's family and those around him, makes the reader appreciate what they have and wish that things could have been better for those less fortunate.