Early “Trenchmouth” Taggart (also known as T. Stinky, Chicky Gold, A. C. Gilbert, and Ace)
Trenchmouth’s life spans over 100 years, seeing America through much of its history in the twentieth century. Trenchmouth’s character evolves throughout the novel as he changes from an insecure boy to a validation-seeking adolescent, to a rebel teenager, to a mountain recluse, to a friendly companion, to a hard-edged journalist, to a beloved friend and adopted grandfather. He is fearless in his youth but he learns tough lessons that sober his ego and drive him into himself to escape his past and his memories. Haunted his entire life by his past, Trenchmouth often seeks escape in moonshine, alcohol, and music. At times the dashing hero rescuing damsels in distress, other times the villain with the killing gunshot, Trenchmouth constantly reinvents himself in surprising ways.
Referred to as the widow throughout much of the novel, Orna Dorsett is Trenchmouth’s adopted mother. Her husband died early in their marriage, and she took it upon herself to raise Clarissa and Trenchmouth. Fiercely protective, she fends off Trenchmouth’s drunken father, killing him and burying him under the outhouse to keep him from killing her and her children. She is a woman of principle, kindness, and decency and provides her two children with love and trust, teaching them well but allowing them to make their own decisions. She also brews moonshine as their principle form of income; she does it so well that customers pay top dollar for her brew. Her morals guide Trenchmouth’s decisions throughout his life, even long after she has passed away.
Frank is an Italian immigrant struggling to make a living in America. He befriends Trenchmouth as a young boy and eventually takes a place in Trenchmouth’s heart as a father figure. Through Frank, Trenchmouth learns the value of...
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