The Unquiet Earth: A Novel Summary & Study Guide

Denise Giardina
This Study Guide consists of approximately 38 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Unquiet Earth.
This section contains 506 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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The Unquiet Earth: A Novel Summary & Study Guide Description

The Unquiet Earth: A Novel Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on The Unquiet Earth: A Novel by Denise Giardina.

The Unquiet Earth by Denise Giardina is the story of star-crossed lovers and unrequited love. There are two stories of love that could never be that endure through several generations of the same family. The first story involves Rachel Honaker and Dillon Freeman. Dillon is a fourteen-year-old youngster whose parents never married but who genuinely love each other. Dillon had been only an infant when his father died. His father, Rondal Lloyd, was a union organizer who died from a gunshot wound he sustained during a labor dispute that turned violent. Dillon mourns for the father he never knew and spends the rest of his life trying to live up to his father's legacy.

Rachel Honaker is Dillon's sixteen-year-old first cousin who lives in the same mining town as Dillon. Rachel's mother wants her daughter to have a better life than she did and marry well. Dillon falls in love with Rachel, a love that is sparked when she almost drowns in the river. After he and his mother pull Rachel out, he feels a responsibility toward her the rest of his life. As he matures, his love turns into a deep passion and desire. Dillon is open about his feelings for Rachel but she resists, even though she has the stirrings of a romantic love for him. After marrying the wrong man, Rachel finally admits her love for Dillon. Soon after they have sex, she learns that she is pregnant. She has a daughter, Jackie, but never knows whether Dillon or her husband is the biological father. When she dies, Dillon is at her side, telling her that he will be with her again.

The other story of unrequited love is the story between Jackie and Tom Kolwiecki. Tom is a VISTA volunteer in the mining region of West Virginia where Jackie lives. After serving with the federal program, Tom plans to enter the seminary and become a Catholic Priest. At fifteen, Jackie begins to have emotional ties to Tom who is twenty-two. Just like Dillon, Jackie falls in love young and never stops loving Tom.

Eventually Tom realizes that Jackie has feelings for him. He also has feelings for Jackie that are inappropriate for a priest to have. Tom comes in and out of Jackie's life several times. He has a difficult time with the conflicted feelings he is experiencing. He has passionate feelings for Jackie yet he has a calling from the Lord for a devotion to the priesthood. But just like Rachel and Dillon before them, they eventually became involved and continue to love each other. But Tom's draw to religion proves stronger and he eventually returns to his duties as a priest. Tom dies in a flood when the dam breaks in the mining community. Rachel repeats to him what he had said to her once—"we're not done yet."

Running through the entire tale of romance and lost love is the story of the hardships of the people in the poor mining town in Appalachia.

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This section contains 506 words
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