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Written by Micola Magdalena
In the first chapter, the narrator describes the railroads that came to the area in the 19th century. While some people were quick to accept them, thinking that it will improve their lives, other saw them as something evil, the product of the devil. The way in which the railroads are described in the first chapter is important because the idea transmitted is that many believed that way. Thus, taking this into consideration, it is no wonder that so many opposed the railways being constructed and coming into the areas they lived all their lives.
The big city
Mrs. Lafirme was born and married in the countryside and she knew no other life for herself. For her, the land she owned was everything for her and she could not imagine a life elsewhere. She sometimes mentions life in the big city and how it must be completely different from the life in the countryside. The life in the city is described as being exciting, filled with activities and wonderful people. The life many have in the countryside is quite the opposite, slow and quite monotonous. Despite this, none of the characters are willing to give up their life in the countryside for a life in the big city.
An important image in the book is the way in which beautiful women are portrayed. The narrator describes time and time again a beautiful woman and in all cases the images are similar. For the narrator, a fair skin, unblemished by sun and not suntanned is desirable. Also, women had to have a full figure and so many female characters wish they had a few more pounds. The reason why beautiful women are described in such a manner is because this image transmits the idea of wealth. Thus, beauty meant a proper representation of the money a woman had.
The black people working in the fields
Another important image presents black people working in the fields. The narrator makes a point in explaining that women, men and children were all working side by side picking cotton. The way the black people are described transmits the idea that for the white masters, the slaves were not humans but rather machines to work the fields. Thus, this image shows how the black slaves were degraded by the white owners.
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