Shades of Gray

by Carolyn Reeder

Start Free Trial

Student Question

What details in "Shades of Gray" describe the historical time period?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

A couple of specific details that show accuracy in regards to the time period have to do with the character of Will and his Uncle Jed.  These two characters are the central focus of the damage the Civil War caused in the United States of America in the late nineteenth century.

First, let us look at the character of Will.  One specific example of an accurate historical detail is the landscape as Will travels back home.  As Will travels through the South, he sees plantation after plantation burned and "blackened."  This is the remains of the Civil War, for sure.  Will also sees grave after grave and graveyard after graveyard.  This specific historical detail shows that many people were killed.  Perhaps the most devastating detail that rings true to history is that Will has lost his entire family (as many people did during this war).

Another character that easily shows portrays accurate historical detail is Uncle Jed.  Uncle Jed's situation shows how the ruin of cattle herds can affect a family's entire livelihood.  Uncle Jed's cattle was taken by the troops in order to support "the cause" of the war.  Uncle Jed struggles through the rest of the book to make up for this loss in order to support his family.

In conclusion, we can also be more general in regards to the problems the Civil War caused (also accurately portrayed in Reeder's novel). There is great loss and damage caused by the Civil War, specifically loss in the ideals of loyalty, friendships, families, pride, and wealth.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial