There is an interesting portion of history that goes unnoticed. The intervention of inkinesss in the South during the clip of bondage plays an intricate portion of America’s history. which gets often overlooked. The Keepers of the House by Shirley Ann Grau sheds light on this clip period. following a household. life in rural Alabama in the 1960’s. Grau explains this household: “All in all the Howland’s thrived. They farmed and hunted ; they made whisky and rum and took it to market down the Providence River to Mobile ( Grau 12 ) . The narrative follows three coevalss of the Howland household life in a community that finally turns on them. Grau takes inspiration from the clip period along with holding multiple subjects to craft an interesting and impactful Pulitzer Prize novel. The Howland’s were a household that lived in the same country for many old ages. William Howland. the fifth. lost his married woman. go forthing him to take attention of his immature girl Abigail and a boy William who dies shortly after.
Abigail so marries a adult male who leaves her with her ain girl Abigail. William’s girl dies and leaves him with a granddaughter to take attention of. Soon after. William hires an African American. Margaret. adult female as a housekeeper. Abigail negotiations of the permanent affects William and Margaret left on her: “I am caught and tangled about by their behaviors. It is as if their lives left a weaving of indivisible togss in the air of this house. of this town. of this county. And I stumbled and fell into them” ( Grau 6 ) . Around town. she became know as his kept woman and female parent of his other kids. In secret. they marry for the children’s interest. Later. after the kids grew up. they were sent up north so they could populate as normal white citizens. Abigail subsequently marries a adult male named John Tolliver who aligns with the Klu Klux Klan during his tally for governor. Robert. the eldest of the Howland brothers was outraged by this and released an article aching Tolliver’s run.
Tolliver and Abigail end their matrimony near after. Back where the Howland’s live. the town is still outraged about the matrimony between William Howland and the African American housewife Margaret. Even though both of them had died. the town gathered and lit the barn on fire and killed many of their farm animal. Grau writes. “The Howland they wanted was dead. His Negro married woman was dead. Their kids disappeared. And so they were bust uping the lone thing that was left of him. of them. First the barn and so the house” ( Grau 285 ) . The novel comes full circle when Abigail gets retaliation on the town’s people and ruins the full local economic system along with the town. It seems as though Shirley Ann Grau took inspiration from the history of this clip period along with what it may hold been like turning up at that clip in that topographic point to put a scene of precisely what this clip period may hold looked and felt like.
Showing what the Howland household went through. along with the manner they were treated set a scene for non merely a household battle but a national battle every bit good. The manner she describes the scenery. puts you there in at clip. Grau writes. “November eventides are quiet and still and dry. The frost-stripped trees and the faded grasses glisten and shine in the little visible radiation ( Grau 1 ) . Equally good as the scenery. Grau uses her deep characters in the narrative to foreground how people were affect by this issue. Abigail is the chief character narrating this narrative. Grau tells the occurrences of this clip through her eyes every bit good as through the actions of William Howland. Margaret. John Tolliver and Robert Howland. Each of these characters makes an impact on this narrative. every bit good as the chief character Abigail.
For illustration. Abigail’s hubby John Tolliver shapes her character into a tough skinned adult female. He treats her unfairly as a married woman but she learns from that and takes it with her. Grau writes. “I knew what John meant: I was the perfect married woman for a campaigner. He had chosen and trained me good ( Grau 257 ) . This matrimony helps toughen up Abigail for the hereafter as she fights for her household. There are two chief subjects taken from this novel: racism and household. Racism is a clear subject throughout this fresh given the clip period and scenario that takes topographic point with a secret African American amah. married woman and female parent. Racism is shown through the scenario when Tolliver bashes inkinesss during his run for governor. Tolliver negotiations about African Americans in vulgar and atrocious ways.
When speaking about William and Margaret’s kids he says. “He couldn’t allow his kids be assholes. even if their female parent was a Negro” ( Grau 271 ) . This is merely one illustration of the manner African Americans are talked about at this clip. Besides. the country where the Howland’s live. make non take the intelligence of William get marrieding Margaret lightly merely because she is African American. Family is another subject portrayed in this novel. The Howland’s go through tests and trials that test their household as a whole.
For illustration. like stated before. the town wholly turns on the Howland’s when they find that William and Margaret had married. Abigail takes a base for her household and battles back. She stands up for her household and the house they have lived in for so many old ages. Grau shows merely how much Abigail attentions for her household and place. She writes. “Child. I thought you don’t even cognize. its possible to love a house and land that much ( Grau 274 ) . These two subjects play a function in learning readers about the clip period and the battles it caused.
The Keepers of the House by Shirley Ann Grau sheds light on an issue sometimes forgotten about in society today: the intervention of African Americans in the 1960’s. Using things like history from this clip and household subjects. Grau establishes that this issue was serious and did be. Abigail Howland finally stands up for what she believes in and protects her household but besides puts a little dent in this civil rights motion. As her journey comes to an terminal she says. “I stood on that cold windy grass and saw what I had done. I saw that it wasn’t courage or hatred. It was. like my gramps said. necessity. And that’s reasonably hapless comfort but at times its all you’ve got” ( Grau 290 ) . Abigail’s narrative of her family’s narrative along with the usage of strong and deep characters. form for a fantastic Pulitzer Prize novel.