Not Logged in.
Book Jacket
If the Creek Don't Rise
A debut novel bursting with heart, honesty, and homegrown grit.
Summary and Reviews
Excerpt
Reading Guide
Author Biography

Did you find any reasons to empathize with Prudence, Roy and Billy? What were the pivotal moments in their past that shaped their personalities? How do you think you would have fared if you were born into their families and stations of life?

Created: 10/09/17

Replies: 13

Posted Oct. 09, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1358

Expert

Did you find any reasons to empathize with Prudence, Roy and Billy? What were the pivotal moments in their past that shaped their personalities? How do you think you would have fared if you were born into their families and stations of life?

Three characters that are hard to love are Prudence Perkins, Roy Tupkin, and Billy Barnhill. Did you find any reasons to empathize with them? What were the pivotal moments in their past that shaped their personalities? How do you think you would have fared if you were born into their families and stations of life?


Posted Oct. 30, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ScribblingScribe

Join Date: 02/29/16

Posts: 60

Expert

RE: Did you find any reasons to empathize with Prudence, Roy and Billy? What were the pivotal moments in their past that shaped their personalities? How do you think you would have fared if you were born into their families and stations of life?

I admit I did not empathize with Prudence or Roy. I think Billy was weak. I liked that he cared for Sadie, but he was so weak he did nothing to help her when Roy abused her. He never spoke up for her or even let her know he cared until the end when it was far too late. With his size, he could have done something. I empathized with his love for Sadie, but could not empathize with any of his actions. In the end, he was as bad if not worse than Roy. Prudence was broken by her father and her bitterness, particularly toward Eli, was too entrenched by the time we met her that it was hard to find any empathy for her. Roy was not empathetic at all.


Posted Oct. 30, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
renem

Join Date: 12/01/16

Posts: 88

Expert

RE: Did you find any reasons to empathize with Prudence, Roy and Billy? What were the pivotal moments in their past that shaped their personalities? How do you think you would have fared if you were born into their families and stations of life?

To have empathy you have to first understand and share the same feelings with the other person(s). Coming from a family of all females, I could not relate to Prudence's situation of always being treated as not equal to her brother. I can certainly sympathy with her situation and understand how it made her bitter.
Roy was also treated badly, beaten by his whore mother's paying customers. He didn't have any positive male role models and learned that if he didn't want to be a victim, he had to fight to protect himself. Billy was a shadow of Billy except that he didn't stick up for himself; he had Roy to do that for him. So yes, I can also sympathize and understand how they turned out the way they did. But I had no empathy.
No one can positively say how they would turn out if they had to live the life of any of those characters.
I learned a long time ago when working with children from various backgrounds, that you never know what is going on in their life and you should never assume anything.


Posted Oct. 30, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jww

Join Date: 05/31/11

Posts: 133

Expert

RE: Did you find any reasons to empathize with Prudence, Roy and Billy? What were the pivotal moments in their past that shaped their personalities? How do you think you would have fared if you were born into their families and stations of life?

For a while I felt sorry for Billy. He seemed too stupid to be able to stand up for himself and too needy to challenge Roy. At the end, he was as despicable as Roy. But, he arrived at that end from lack of intellect rather than meanness.
Roy was all mean. Yes, he'd had a horrible childhood - abused and debased. He came by his meanness honestly. This did not make him an empathetic character. The only humanity he showed was with his mistress - until she betrayed him.
Prudence was just pathetic. Jealousy ruled her life and turned her into a bitter, conniving shrew. I felt no sympathy or empathy for her.


Posted Oct. 30, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
susiej

Join Date: 10/15/14

Posts: 72

Expert

RE: Did you find any reasons to empathize with Prudence, Roy and Billy? What were the pivotal moments in their past that shaped their personalities? How do you think you would have fared if you were born into their families and stations of life?

Abuse seemed to be a way of life in Baines Creek, and each of these three certainly experienced some degree of it. How they responded affected the degree of my empathy. For Billy, I felt empathetic for awhile - I appreciated that he cared for Sadie and that he recognized Roy's cruelty. But his own inability to separate from Roy - due more to ignorance than lack of kindness - made me lose patience with him early on and any empathy I had was also lost. Prudence appeared to be a user to me - she used Roy primarily for what he could provide, and when he gave all he had until he had no more to give - she was done. No empathy for her. She demonstrated to me that she was smart enough to know better! Roy's childhood turned him into a sadist, and while for a short time he showed signs of changing - when Prudence was manipulating him for all she could get from him - once that was over his true nature surfaced again and he was more than happy to inflict pain and even death on others. I want to believe that I would learn from my situation and try to make a better life for myself rather than trying to bring others down as a result.


Posted Oct. 30, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
deeh

Join Date: 03/03/12

Posts: 171

Expert

RE: Did you find any reasons to empathize with Prudence, Roy and Billy? What were the pivotal moments in their past that shaped their personalities? How do you think you would have fared if you were born into their families and stations of life?

Prudence had no empathy for anyone, so it was very difficult to feel any sympathy for her. What she did to the sweet girl who was her rival for the affections of TJ Slater was incredibly cunning and despicable. Maturity did not change her ways and I found her a very hateful character. I felt a glimmer of hope for Roy when he married Sadie Blue, but that was quickly snuffed out by the way he treated her. I also felt a bit of empathy for Billy at first, but he never stood up for himself or anyone else and he was a willing participant in all of Roy's bad acts, especially in the disposal of Darlene's body.


Posted Oct. 31, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ashleyb

Join Date: 03/27/13

Posts: 7

RE: Did you find any reasons to empathize with Prudence, Roy and Billy? What were the pivotal moments in their past that shaped their personalities? How do you think you would have fared if you were born into their families and stations of life?

In a word--no. While, as susij points out above, abuse seems to be a way of life in Baines Creek, and each of these characters experienced some form of it, I cannot empathize. Roy is plain evil--he has no conscience. Billy could have been an empathetic character were he only ignorant, but he showed that he could have stood up to Roy and did not. Prudence was bitter and wanted everyone to be as miserable as she was. Being shunned by a boy in her youth and by being treated as "less than" her brother (typical in that time period and region) does not make me empathetic with her character. She still had opportunities to have friends and to do good in the community (with her brother, with the new teacher) had she wanted to do so. She chose to be miserable.


Posted Oct. 31, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lynnw

Join Date: 09/01/11

Posts: 129

Expert

RE: Did you find any reasons to empathize with Prudence, Roy and Billy? What were the pivotal moments in their past that shaped their personalities? How do you think you would have fared if you were born into their families and stations of life?

Prudence was just a bitter old woman still focused on a childhood crush. I don't think she would have seen happiness if it walked through her door. Roy is just plain evil and manipulated Billy and Sadie. Billy wants someone to think he's special and longs after Sadie. Both men had abusive childhoods, but that is not an excuse for their vile behavior. In the end Sadie saved herself by giving Billy the poisoned moonshine. He would have been another Roy to her.


Posted Oct. 31, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joyces

Join Date: 06/16/11

Posts: 397

Expert

RE: Did you find any reasons to empathize with Prudence, Roy and Billy? What were the pivotal moments in their past that shaped their personalities? How do you think you would have fared if you were born into their families and stations of life?

I really did not like any of them. Prudence was just a bitter women who could never see past herself or care deeply about anyone. Both Roy and Billy were victims in their own right and could not get past it so became what they hated in others. As to how I would have faired in their situations I can not answer but can say I am what I am because I had good, caring parents and siblings and opportunities that a were not available to them. thankfully.


Posted Oct. 31, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
reene

Join Date: 02/18/15

Posts: 230

Expert

RE: Did you find any reasons to empathize with Prudence, Roy and Billy? What were the pivotal moments in their past that shaped their personalities? How do you think you would have fared if you were born into their families and stations of life?

Prudence, Roy and Billy were three characters who were very hard to like or to find any thing good about. Prudence seemed very happy in her misery. She could have a friend Marris, who would have done anything to help her over her bitterness, but she would not accept help. Her hatred went so deep, as shown by what she did to that innocent girl, forcing her out of her home and community. Stealing Kate's letter and using it to try to ruin Kate's reputation was all pure bitterness. Roy and Billy were both the victims of childhood abuse. At one point, I thought there was hope for Billy, but he wouldn't or couldn't do anything to help Sadie, even though he kept professing his love for her. And Roy killed anything that upset him, he lacked a conscience and had no control over himself. It would be hard to feel empathy for them because there were other characters born into these same conditions that made something of themselves. I would hope and pray that I would have been one of the positive characters.


Posted Nov. 01, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lesleyf

Join Date: 05/14/11

Posts: 33

RE: Did you find any reasons to empathize with Prudence, Roy and Billy? What were the pivotal moments in their past that shaped their personalities? How do you think you would have fared if you were born into their families and stations of life?

No, I did not find reasons to empathize with these three characters. I could see that each had a poor or difficult upbringing but .....
A long time ago in a movie called Murphy's Romance the main character told a boy of about 12ish that "...just because you're father was an a.h. doesn't mean you have to be one" . I have never forgotten that piece of advice but it makes me less sympathetic to folks like Prudence who should have been able to rise above her troubles of being second in line and of the second sex. Roy (so angry) and Billy (so simple) were less able. I can't even begin to think what I might have done in their shoes.


Posted Nov. 03, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
louisee

Join Date: 06/29/15

Posts: 72

Expert

RE: Did you find any reasons to empathize with Prudence, Roy and Billy? What were the pivotal moments in their past that shaped their personalities? How do you think you would have fared if you were born into their families and stations of life?

As others stated I also couldn't empathize with Prudence, she needs to get over herself and work with her brother for good. She has a good life and needs to let go of her grudge. I don't understand why her brother didn't help her to be a better person. I also have some empathy for Roy and Billy because of their abusive upbringing. But the murder of Darlene and disposal of her body really showed me that Roy was evil and Billy was weak. Billy killing Roy showed me he was evil.


Posted Nov. 04, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
PiperUp

Join Date: 10/27/15

Posts: 71

Expert

RE: Did you find any reasons to empathize with Prudence, Roy and Billy? What were the pivotal moments in their past that shaped their personalities? How do you think you would have fared if you were born into their families and stations of life?

I tend to struggle with empathizing with characters/individuals who purposely inflict harm on others. I can empathize with individuals who have had a difficult life & upbringing but the moment they start to harm others...I no longer feel empathy for them. Their behavior may be understandable as a result of their upbringing but their actions are unacceptable. I understand that hurt people hurt other people...but...once they cross the line & start breaking laws & purposely inflicting harm on others for their own pleasure or personal gain...I can't be part of enabling that type of behavior.


Posted Nov. 20, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
madelonw

Join Date: 11/20/17

Posts: 5

RE: Did you find any reasons to empathize with Prudence, Roy and Billy? What were the pivotal moments in their past that shaped their personalities? How do you think you would have fared if you were born into their families and stations of life?

At first, Prudence was portrayed two-dimensionally as an angry, bitter spinster. However, there was more depth to her than fist met the eye. Her mother died when she was young, and she lacked a strong female role model. She fell in love with Thomas, whose love was not reciprocated. If she could have talked to someone about the situation, she might not have set out to destroy the reputation of Susie Domer. I think that finding the letter tacked to the rusty nightstand was a pivotal moment for her. It gave her hope that there could be one shining moment in your life of happiness, even when you feel you live in great darkness, and you should hold on to that. Prudence, setting out to destroy Kate, was desperate to keep the only family she felt she had, her brother. I don't think I would have been able to survive life in Appalachia. I did not empathize at all with Roy. His upbringing should not be an excuse for the murders he committed and the terror he wrought. I did empathize a bit with Billy. He, like Prudence, experienced unrequited love. Both were willing to destroy in the 'name of love.' Being thrown out in a blue slip by his mother's boyfriend into the cold night led to Roy becoming his savior and twisting the outcome of his life.


Reply

Please login to post a response.