Kettle Bottom

The "Ruint" Doll: Hazel's Loss of Innocence in Kettle Bottom

The Appalachian mining camps of the early twentieth century are a source of many difficult memories for the people affected by them. If mining is dangerous today, it was even more so then, when there were no unions and company owners had complete control over their workers. Many lives were lost, and those lives are not limited to the mine workers. The families of the workers also were involved in the struggles. Many died in the process. Thus, while the mine workers suffered, their families also dealt with a large share of the difficulties.

Diane Gilliam Fisher’s Kettle Bottom is a poetry collection that deals with this period of Appalachian history. Fisher is very interested in the effects of the mining industry on the families of the workers. In fact, the majority of the poems in the collection are from the point of view of a miner’s loved one. Within the collection, there are four poems which are all entitled “My Dearest Hazel.” They are epistolary poems sent from an unnamed woman to her sister Hazel. Children are a problem for Hazel and her husband because of the increasingly volatile struggle for miners’ rights, so she makes the decision to have an abortion when she becomes pregnant. Fisher uses Hazel’s four poems to make...

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