What is the geographical connection in "To Hell with Dying"?

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pmiranda2857 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Geographically, the story takes place in the south. 

The geographic significance of the south suggests that there is a specialness to southern hospitality and the care and concern that neighbors have for one another.  The subjects of this work are African-American and the author makes a point of expressing that they feel responsible for Mr. Sweet, even though he is not a member of their family. 

In this work by Alice Walker, a relationship between Mr. Sweet, a man who drinks too much and suffers from depression and a host of other illnesses, and a neighboring family, especially their daughter develops and helps to keep Mr. Sweet alive.

The family, literally, gathers around his bed, to revive him after he becomes very drunk and depressed.  He is brought back to life so to speak by the family's intervention into his life. 

The little girl that has a special relationship with Mr. Sweet, now grown up,  is away when he needs another revival, she rushes back to stand at his bedside for one last time. 

She traveled a great distance to be at Mr. Sweet's bedside, along with her parents to help the elderly man through one more crisis.  This time, however, he passes away, but in the presence of the family who looked after him for years.