Split Cherry Tree

by Jesse Stuart

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What is the setting (time and place) of the story, "Split Cherry Tree," by Jesse Stuart?

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Although no specific date is given by Jesse Stuart in his short story, "Split Cherry Tree," it is no doubt set during the 1930s. (It was first published in 1939.) The action of the story takes place somewhere in Kentucky during the late winter.

The moon shone bright in the cold March sky.

Young Dave Sexton has a six-mile walk from his father's farm to the county high school each morning. After school, Dave has plenty of chores:

It took Pa and I both to do the work. Seven cows to milk. Nineteen head of cattle to feed, four mules, twenty-five hogs, firewood and stovewood to cut, and water to draw from the well. He would be doing it when I got home.

When Dave's father, Luster, discovers that his son has been held after school, he decides to pay a visit to the school himself--and his .44 pistol. But Dave's father discovers that he has no need for his gun, and he and the teacher, Professor Herbert, soon become friends. At the end of the day, both Dave and his father share the sweeping of the school, Dave's punishment for climbing and damaging the cherry tree; and Luster returns home to tell his wife about the new experiences he has had at the modern high school.

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