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Lewis, Ed, Bobby, and Drew represent the New South. They are from Atlanta, the city that was perhaps identified more than any other with the modern South. The locals along the river are portrayed as backward, inbred, and malicious. The four visitors are fearful and contemptuous of the locals, who view them with suspicion. The clash of cultures turns into a violent disaster, which leaves Drew and two of the locals dead. While the film (and the novel by James Dickey on which it was based) portray stereotypes of both rural and urban Southerners, it also captures the stark differences between the cosmopolitan, urban New South, and the often grim poverty of Appalachia and other rural regions.
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