This Crooked Way

This Crooked Way

ELIZABETH SPENCER
Copyright Date: 1980
Pages: 256
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt24hx0f
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  • Book Info
    This Crooked Way
    Book Description:

    Elizabeth Spencer presents a vital, moving story set in the deep South--the Delta and Mississippi hill country. Amos Dudley was a farm boy in the Delta country at the turn of the century until he started working for his brother Ephraim in the store by the railroad. It was an ordinary enough environment in which to begin to feel the strange forces that move a man to set his course in the world.

    But the forces working within Amos were by no means ordinary. Sometimes cruel, sometimes suddenly tender, they were strong and willful, so that Amos became a man to reckon with--to Ary, his beautiful, plantation-born wife, to the woman in the bayou, to the shiftless philosopher, Arney. Even the rich black swamp soil which he wrested from the forest and gave to his cotton seemed to respond with awe and eagerness to Amos's will. His sensuous, wayward daughter and the man she loved especially felt the full shattering drama of the violence which had evidently been building--building in the fate of a man who, regardless, takes his own crooked way.

    eISBN: 978-1-61703-219-6
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[vi])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [vii]-[viii])
  3. The Wandering
    (pp. 1-80)

    In the early 1880’s one August Sunday noon there was a rain storm up the Yocona River. The bridge at Yocona washed away and the ford flooded, so that half the people gathered at the Yocona Baptist Church for an all day Sunday preaching and sing couldn’t go back home. The other half thought it only sociable to stay. There was another round of singing and another round of sermons and so on until late at night. Not counting conversions, a number of small miracles happened, and one big one. Two boys who had slipped off to go swimming just...

  4. The Indictment: Arney
    (pp. 81-100)

    I was friend to a fellow onct, but I couldn’t never figger him. Oh, most fellows I can figger. Set me down in a poker hand like last night—never seen them boys before. But I knowed Rowley—that his name?—was one to play it straight for a spell and then pull a bluff when the pot grew, well, so big. You seen how I worked it. But this one I started out to speak of, he was no poker player.

    He wouldn’t scarcely know what to do with a deck of cards if you handed it to him....

  5. The Indictment: Dolly
    (pp. 101-118)

    When my aunt, Ary Morgan, married Amos Dudley from the hills, he took her to live in his new house over on his new place near Cypress Landing. My aunt Sara lived in Cypress too and so did my father and so in a sense did I, but from the time of my mother’s death I became a frequent visitor with relatives, in this respect almost as bad from early childhood as a seventy-year-old maiden aunt. My favorite place of all was Uncle Amos’s.

    His house to me as a child was a heart of happiness. If there is a...

  6. The Indictment: Ary
    (pp. 119-218)

    Poor dolly! She was Louise’s fault, I suppose, the same as I was Louise’s fault. Louise living had a ghost with her. Louise dead left the ghost behind. The ghost was what they thought she was; and though I knew what she really was, I still contended with a ghost.

    She was the one they compared me to. Sara was older with the energy of a horsefly, the inquiring walk of a chicken, and the martyred, dictatorial goodness of a mule—she does not invite human comparison. But Louise. How should what they thought of her drive me to acting...

  7. The Return: Amos
    (pp. 219-247)

    All my life—or so long in my life it seemed like my life was hewed around them, and without them there wouldn’t be any my life—I thirsted to see two things. One of them I’d seen once and wanted back, and the other I’d never seen and know now that I will never see, neither in this life nor after the fireworks. One was to see Ary’s face again like I saw it first that day above the horse’s mane, like a face not in the world, though it had been in the world all right, but was...