Blackberries In June Essays

Blackberry Winter

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Blackberry Winter                          

     Robert Penn Warren’s “Blackberry Winter” is the story of one young boy’s sudden and painfully realistic venture from behind the blissful cloak of childhood innocence into the more brutal reality of the world. Warren captures this transition through the eyes of the young and happily naïve Middle Tennessee farm boy, Seth. When the story begins, the nine year old Seth is lingering on the very edge of his innocence, but is undoubtedly still in the throws of the methodical and simple life that only a child can truly have. Before that fateful day when the unusual stranger appeared so suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere, Seth led the secure and rhythmic life that comes with both ignorance and innocence. Seth having never left or even given much thought to life outside his small farm community, he had been sheltered from the true evils of the world. He had no concept of time or change, and had never needed one. That day, and that stranger, forced him to become aware of things that were beyond his control and even made him question the very things that he had always held as the gospel truth.
     A child’s coming of age is a universal and inevitable transition that Seth does not foresee or even expect, and until looking back on it almost thirty-five years later, he does not realize the true significance of his passage. That day Seth’s very foundations were rocked as his eyes were opened to the world and its ways. When the story begins Seth’s transition has already begun to take place, and the smooth and repetitive rhythm of his life that has always brought him so much comfort slowly begins to crumble. Even such a small and seemingly insignificant thing as not being allowed to go outside in June without shoes, something which he has always been able to do, puzzles and confuses Seth. The appearance of the odd and out of place stranger even further fascinates and bewilders the small boy. Seth’s world begins to spin even faster and stranger as he sees Dellie, a woman that he has always thought he knew so well and even refers to her as being methodical as a machine, violently strikes her son as he has never seen her do and later as Old Jebb questions Seth’s mother’s very words. Until that day, Seth has never considered the fact that things would ever any different than they always had been.

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He had never once thought that his parents weren’t always right, and when Old Jebb contradicts what his mother has told him Seth feels lost and tries to run away from what is happening knowing full well that he cannot. Death, prejudice, and change were all new to Seth; they had no part in his perfect life. Over the course of one day, Seth had been catapulted from childhood to manhood, and he knew that his life would never be the same.
     In the begging of the story as the older and wiser Seth is looking back on his childhood illusions, he says, “when you are nine years old, what you remember seems forever; for you remember everything and everything is important and stands big and full and fills up Time and is so solid that you can walk around it like a tree and look at it.” This quote displays the difference between how a child’s perception of not only time, but life itself is so different from how it is viewed after one has lost their innocence. As a nine year old child, Seth has a solid view of time in which it is present and passing, but at the same time seems to be going nowhere. Until a child becomes an adult and sees the effect that it has on the world and everything in it, a child can not understand change. It is in fact when Seth experiences such change that he moves from childhood to the path that will lead him to adulthood. Seth has finally come to understand that time can and will change not just some things, but everything.
     As Seth gains an increasing and slightly unwilling understanding of time, he is exposed to some of the harder to swallow aspects of life one such thing being prejudice. For all his life Seth had noticed color, but until that day color or race had never really mattered to him. He had loved Jebb, Old Jebb, and Dellie as he loved his own family. Until he heard the stranger had so blatantly and casually called them a word that Seth never would have dreamed of using he never thought anything of it. He had never thought of Jebb, Dellie and Old Jebb as being any different from himself until that day. From then on whither willingly or not Seth saw color.
     Thirty-five years later, a much older and more hardened Seth seems to look back on that ill-fated day with a sort of sorrow. He has come to realize that although his transition out of childhood ignorance was necessary, what is to say that it was ignorance at all. Things like death, change and the passing of time all take place when we are young whether we are aware of it or not, and of course cannot be change or stopped, but things like hate and prejudice can. Children see people not the color of their skin. Seth realizes that although the stranger told him not to follow him, he has indeed followed him all the rest of his life.



Essay about Blackberries in June

840 WordsFeb 24th, 20134 Pages

Optimism is to Pessimism as Lazy is to Hard Work

“Blackberries in June” by Ron Rash, is about a couple, Matt and Jamie, who have a very pessimistic family, especially when it comes to the young couples accomplishments in life. What makes Jamie and Matt different from the other family members? They have a lot of determination, motivation, discipline, and are willing to make sacrifices necessary to get where they want to be in life. Throughout the story, the author gives a variety of examples of just how different these two characters are in particular. The three qualities that are the most different from the rest of the family are unlike them they are goal oriented, hard working, and make the necessary sacrifices. Matt and Jamie…show more content…

They have used those opportunities as stepping stones to get and stay ahead of the curve. As Matt points out when he says, “If we hadn’t seen Old Man Watson’s sign before the real-estate agents did, they’d have razed the house and sold the lot alone to some Floridian at twice what we paid” (Rash 242). The other family members generally only see their opportunities as luck, not as a product of determination and discipline. Jamie hears most of the banter from her sister in law who says absurd things like, “Linda says good luck follows us around like a dog that needs petting all the time. She thinks you and me getting this house is just one more piece of luck” (Rash 424). Even though life may have given the young couple a few breaks, it has not come without a hefty price of hard work and commitment to stay focused on their goals. Yet they are resented by the other members of their family instead of being encouraged to continue on pursuing their dreams. Jamie proves this point when she says, “But I get so tired of people acting resentful because we’re doing well. It even happens at the Café. Why can’t they all be like Charlton, just happy for us?” (Rash 243). Matt is very blunt and accurate in his response to her question: “Because it reminds them they’re too lazy and undisciplined to do it themselves” (Rash 243). He goes on to further prove his point in specific relation to his sister and brother in law. “Well, the next time she says that you tell her anybody with

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