"Aunt Granny Lith" by Chris Offutt is set in a remote area in the Appalachians. The very remoteness of the area is an essential part of the plot structure and meaning. For example, Beth needs to walk home and get a mule to pull the pickup out of the creek rather than simply calling a towing company on a cell phone, as most of us in more urban areas would do. This places the context of the story back in a world in which the modern clashes with the primitive and folkloric elements are not only credible but part of people's self understanding.
The cave inhabited by Granny Lith serves as an emblem of the mythic caves which are associated with the "crones" of the folkloric tradition, ancient wise women who can be good or evil but are always awe-inspiring and terrifying and who have mysterious powers and knowledge.
The story uses time in a mythic way, showing the past and present (Casey's youthful promise, his journey to the cave, his present marriage) as intimately connected and part of an endlessly recurring cycle of life linking childhood, adulthood, and old age.