Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 329
There are some very telling and beautiful quotes from this story. Here are a select few.
"Whereupon, as he walked among the long mounds, a voice seemed to rise from the still ranks below: 'While ye have time, do good to men,' it said, 'Behold, we are beyond your care.' But the keeper did not heed."
The dichotomy between the dead and the living is an important theme in the story. The keeper feels some sort of duty to the dead, even though they are beyond his help. In the back of his head, he knows this. He knows that he should be doing something for the living.
"'Is it, or is it not warm?' asked the keeper, as a naturalist might inquire of a salamander, not referring to his own so much as the salamander's ideas on the subject."
On a particularly humid day, the keeper asks this of the young boy who delivers his supplies from town. At first glance he seems only to be referring to the differences in the weather of the north and south, but he is also realizing that he is something inherently other compared to his surroundings. At times, even the climate seems to reject him.
"'Nothing can change you,' he said; 'I know it, I have known it all along. You are part of your country, part of the time, part of the bitter hour through which she is passing. Nothing can change you. If it could, you would not be what you are,"
The keeper and Bettina's unspoken attraction is very obvious. However, Bettina can never let go of the hatred she feels for the north. Her pride, her wealth, and even her right to anger have been dashed. She realizes how selfish it is to stay even slightly angry at Rodman. However, even though she is grateful for what he has done, her animosity will never fade. She is forever part of the "bitter hour."
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