The Tidewater Tales Summary
John Barth

Everything you need to understand or teach The Tidewater Tales by John Barth.

  • The Tidewater Tales Summary & Study Guide

The Tidewater Tales Summary

Although The Tidewater Tales and Sabbatical are more obviously conscious of current social issues than Barth's earlier novels, Barth's central theme remains constant throughout the fiction of his later career: the importance of narratives in our lives, how we use stories to make sense of ourselves and our world. The Tidewater Tales seems to approve of Katherine's and her lesbian friend May's good-hearted social activism, but it is not their arguable political logic that Barth endorses so much as their nurturing of the storytelling impulse. Katherine and May are members of HOSCA (Hands Off South and Central America), an activist organization dedicated to obstructing what they see as the American government's imperialistic meddling in other nations' affairs. But it is the fact that they are founding members of ASPS (The American Society for the Preservation of Storytelling) which seems most significant to Barth, and during the course of...

(read more from the Short Guide)

Study Pack

The The Tidewater Tales Study Pack contains:

The Tidewater Tales Short Guide