The Optimist's Daughter Historical Context

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Life in the South

The small town of Mount Salus represents the gentility and social life of the traditional South. Because of its commitment to tradition and its older population, Mount Salus reflects many of the values and beliefs of the Old South. Despite changes and progress, the people adhere to the chivalric, hierarchical social organization of the South. Family is extremely important, and a person's character is often attributed to his or her bloodline. People treat one another with outward respect and kindness, are quick to help their neighbors, and respect the older residents and natives of the town.

Fay is the subject of mean-spirited gossip, not only because she is an outsider, but also because she is crude and dramatic. In one scene, the older ladies in the neighborhood marvel that she does not know how to separate an egg, can only identify the frying pan...

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This section contains 487 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Optimist's Daughter Study Guide
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The Optimist's Daughter from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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