Places Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Places)
Walden farm. Sixty-acre farm in Georgia with more than twenty acres cratered with excavated holes from ten to thirty feet deep. The holes and craters make it impossible to cultivate the land around the farmhouse. The promise of gold, based on an old report that a nugget was found there, keeps the Waldens from planting crops that could allow them to live reasonably well. Instead they live from hand to mouth, waiting for a gold strike that never happens. Eventually, the land is tainted by the blood of one of the Waldens’ sons, when Buck shoots and kills his brother Jim Leslie in a jealous rage.
God’s little acre
God’s little acre. Constantly shifting parcel of the Walden farm that TyTy dedicates to God. In a none-too-pious concession to his Christian beliefs, TyTy dedicates one acre of his land to God but regularly negates the gesture by reassigning the acre whenever it stands in the path of his gold-digging work. The acre represents TyTy’s belief that there is within him “some aspect of God.” As he shifts the parcel around, however, he devastates more and more of the land. TyTy moves the acre each time he, his sons, and the African American workers start a new hole. The final time that he moves the acre is after his son Buck shoots Jim Leslie. Wanting to ensure that Buck will be on God’s land as he walks away from the killing, TyTy wishes that the acre will follow Buck everywhere he walks that...
(The entire section is 518 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Survey of American Literature, Revised Edition)
Burke, Kenneth. The Philosophy of Literary Form. 3d ed. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973. Contains an article by the author that investigates the symbolic landscape, sexual taboos, fertility rites, caricatures, and grotesques in Caldwell’s two major novels.
Cantwell, Robert, ed. The Humorous Side of Erskine Caldwell. New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1951. An introduction to Caldwell’s humorous imagination, which makes the works more impressive and entertaining.
Devlin, James. Erskine Caldwell. Boston: Twayne, 1984. Contains a chapter on the major themes in God’s Little...
(The entire section is 141 words.)