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The Twelve-Mile Straight


An audacious American epic set in rural Georgia during the years of the...
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Discuss The Twelve-Mile Straight by Eleanor Henderson:
In what ways do you think the twelve-mile straight acts as a character in its own right?

Created: 07/11/18

Replies: 13

Posted Jul. 11, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1584

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In what ways do you think the twelve-mile straight acts as a character in its own right?

The novel's namesake, the twelve-mile straight, is a road that connects the Jesup family farm to the nearest town. From the initial lynching of Genus Jackson, the road remains thematically important throughout the whole novel. In what ways do you think the road acts as a character in its own right?


Posted Jul. 15, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rebeccar

Join Date: 03/13/12

Posts: 350

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RE: In what ways do you think the twelve-mile straight acts as a character in its own right?

The stretch of road is the route over which all characters travel, some seeking escape, some for returns to the scene of the crime, and it inextricably links all the elements of society: gender, race, socio-economic, locals, outsiders, prisoners or free.


Posted Jul. 15, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
elyseg

Join Date: 11/13/17

Posts: 12

RE: In what ways do you think the twelve-mile straight acts as a character in its own right?

I hadn't really thought of it until you asked. The road might be equated with the idea of home. The paving of the road towards the end of the book mirrors the changes all the characters are going through,as well as the forward progress of the 2 women.


Posted Jul. 15, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Marcia S

Join Date: 02/08/16

Posts: 169

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RE: In what ways do you think the twelve-mile straight acts as a character in its own right?

The road and it's transformation symbolize the changes of fortune of the main characters. We see it as a rough road on which a man is dragged after his lynching. It is transformed to a paved road as George Wilson wants to make a statement of his importance. It is ironic that his grandson and Nan's father are both on the chain gang. The main characters and their comings and goings seem to always be tied to the road. It's part of the former and ongoing history of the land and the people.


Posted Jul. 16, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Peggy H

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 235

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RE: In what ways do you think the twelve-mile straight acts as a character in its own right?

The road is an important part of the story as all must pass its way. The changing of the road shows the evolving of society and the characters. One must wonder what, if any, outside travel on the road would change the story.


Posted Jul. 16, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
laurap

Join Date: 06/19/12

Posts: 215

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RE: In what ways do you think the twelve-mile straight acts as a character in its own right?

The Twelve-Mile Straight connects all the parts of the story. IT links town to country, Jesups to Wilsons and Rawlses, the farm to the mill, crime to punishment. It is the path down which Genus Jackson is drug after his lynching, and the road Nancy travels to deliver babies. All of the key locations in the book are arrayed along it - the farm, the country store, the church, the mill, the doctor's office. It also links past to present as it evolves from a country dirt road to a paved highway. In sum it sets the parameters and the time frame for the book as a whole.


Posted Jul. 17, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
barbm

Join Date: 02/04/16

Posts: 77

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RE: In what ways do you think the twelve-mile straight acts as a character in its own right?

Wow Marcia S, says it all! The road is definitely a character and possibly undergoes more interaction and more change than any other character! My favorite of the bunch!


Posted Jul. 17, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
annl

Join Date: 04/03/17

Posts: 25

RE: In what ways do you think the twelve-mile straight acts as a character in its own right?

I liked how the road played the appropriate amount of importance in the plot.


Posted Jul. 20, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
melanieb

Join Date: 08/30/14

Posts: 125

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RE: In what ways do you think the twelve-mile straight acts as a character in its own right?

The twelve mile straight is the story. The activities going on within its boundaries are the catalyst for events to come and characters go and grow within its confines.


Posted Jul. 20, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
teacher reader

Join Date: 02/14/18

Posts: 8

RE: In what ways do you think the twelve-mile straight acts as a character in its own right?

I think Laurap said it very well. The straight connected everything and evolved with the characters.


Posted Jul. 20, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JLPen77

Join Date: 02/05/16

Posts: 229

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RE: In what ways do you think the twelve-mile straight acts as a character in its own right?

I see it as a symbol of this closed society — running the gamut from town to sharecroppinfg farm, from Wilson wealth to backwoods poverty, all the social stations in between; at the outset, a rough road, representing the harsh divisions in this place, and the setting for racial brutality, a road that goes nowhere... and at the end, where George Wilson seemingly has walked away from attempting murder, the road is paved over, as his crimes have always been paved over. But life has moved on, the road mow connects people to a larger world beyond Wilson ‘s domination, and there is hope for a better society to come. These two images of the road are like bookends or frames for the story, the different journeys that people make in trying to navigate the divide between the road’s two extremes.


Posted Jul. 23, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
MarieA

Join Date: 10/12/11

Posts: 193

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RE: In what ways do you think the twelve-mile straight acts as a character in its own right?

The Twelve Mile Straight symbolically is a link for all who travel it. The gravel road is bumpy and difficult to negotiate as are the lives of the characters in this novel. The paving of the road (and eventual renaming) represent the hope that the negative characteristics of prejudice, injustice, malice, guilt and cowardice will be replaced by more positive characteristics. The positive characteristics could lead to a more welcoming society for all who travel this particular road of life.


Posted Jul. 23, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
renem

Join Date: 12/01/16

Posts: 172

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RE: In what ways do you think the twelve-mile straight acts as a character in its own right?

All previous posts touched on descriptions and/or representations of the road as a character that I also agree with. I especially liked how JLPenn77 described the road as "bookends" or "frames" for the story.


Posted Aug. 28, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
taking.mytime's Gravatar
taking.mytime

Join Date: 03/29/16

Posts: 97

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RE: In what ways do you think the twelve-mile straight acts as a character in its own right?

The whole story played out on that 12 mile length of road. Until the end, when it was paved, it had remained the same, which was not what happened to all the other characters - they all changed in one way or another. The road remained in place, characters moved and ran away. The road was permanent, a connection to everyone.


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