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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:
Do you think any of the three men Ketty was involved with cared about her?

Created: 07/11/18

Replies: 16

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

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1626

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Do you think any of the three men Ketty was involved with cared about her?

Do you think any of the three men Ketty was involved with cared about her?


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

Join Date: 02/08/16

Posts: 179

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RE: Do you think any of the three men Ketty was involved with cared about her?

I think Sterling initially cared about Ketty. Her philandering destroyed that. George and Juke were merely using her for their own purposes.


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

Join Date: 05/24/11

Posts: 39

RE: Do you think any of the three men Ketty was involved with cared about her?

I agree with Marcia S., I think Sterling initially cared about Ketty. I think a different point of view on this question would be "Did Ketty care for anyone?" She obviously didn't really care too much for George, Juke or Sterling and I would argue that she had mixed feelings at best for Nan. I can't imagine what it would be like to be in Ketty's position, so I have mixed thoughts about her actions and the causes for her actions.


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

Join Date: 06/19/12

Posts: 223

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RE: Do you think any of the three men Ketty was involved with cared about her?

I think Sterling cared at least initially, but was highly distressed to find that Ketty was involved with/the victom of a series of white men. Juke and George were in it for the fun and the power trip. marys raises a good point about Ketty, who truly does not seem to care for anyone but herself, although it is possible that her mutilation of Nancy is a reaction to her own sense of powerlessness and self-betrayal.


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

Join Date: 01/01/16

Posts: 120

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RE: Do you think any of the three men Ketty was involved with cared about her?

I think Sterling cared but the others were just using her.


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

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 59

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RE: Do you think any of the three men Ketty was involved with cared about her?

Sterling obviously loved Ketty. He was married to her and wanted a family. He didn't understand why she avoided him and shut him out of their life. When she did finally get pregnant, Sterling was thrilled and loved Nan tremendously. His memories while working the Twelve Mile Straight were heartfelt. I think he was ashamed by the way he behaved when he discovered Ketty's betrayal. He tried to run away from the shame. At the same time, I think Sterling was very much aware that Juke was in charge out of the farm. He did what he wanted without consulting anyone- -even the husband of the women he was sleeping with. Sterling would always have to share Ketty, and he didn't want to do that.

And was Juke "sleeping with" Ketty because there was a relationship there or was he raping her like he did Nan? I think the relationship between the two was a bit more complex. Ketty raised Juke's daughter as her own. She moved into his house to help him after his wife died. She raised Nan right there with Elma- -as sisters. I think as much as Juke was able to, he did care for Ketty.

George was just a disgusting, horrible pig who used his power to take whatever he wanted with no thought whatsoever how it affected those he took from.


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: Do you think any of the three men Ketty was involved with cared about her?

i think Sterling cared for her as he thought a husband should. The others just used her. I think all were stereotypes.


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

Join Date: 07/28/11

Posts: 92

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RE: Do you think any of the three men Ketty was involved with cared about her?

I think Sterling loved Ketty. I think Ketty was a victim of George and Juke. As white men, both of them had power over which she could do very little about.

I think that as such, Ketty may have come across as cold and unfeeling, but how could she not have? Trauma was not merely a one-time event, but daily life. Sterling couldn't protect her, and I think she resented him for that.


Posted Jul. 18, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
MarieA

Join Date: 10/12/11

Posts: 198

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RE: Do you think any of the three men Ketty was involved with cared about her?

I think Sterling cared about Ketty in spite of her "indiscretions." You can see how much he cared for Ketty displayed in his love for Nan, Ketty's daughter, and her son Wilson.


Posted Jul. 19, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
beckyh

Join Date: 05/08/11

Posts: 78

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RE: Do you think any of the three men Ketty was involved with cared about her?

Yes, Sterling did. Juke used her as did George. Juke was the more culpable because she was in "his protection" as his employee. Ketty had no choice in any of the relationships except for Sterling. I felt sorry for him as he was as badly "used" as Ketty was.


Posted Jul. 19, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
melanieb

Join Date: 08/30/14

Posts: 125

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RE: Do you think any of the three men Ketty was involved with cared about her?

I think Sterling loved Hetty. I think Juke and George used Hetty and were not a concerned for her well being.


Posted Jul. 19, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JLPen77

Join Date: 02/05/16

Posts: 259

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RE: Do you think any of the three men Ketty was involved with cared about her?

I agree — Sterling loved Ketty, and I think he left because he couldn’t work through the distance that developed in their relationship, one not of his own making. And because he was helpless and ashamed of being so, as Ketty was forced into a “wife’s” role with Juke, and into a worse relationship with George. I don’t agree that Juke really cared for her, nor George, apart from the sexual gratification and sense of power and entitlement they each had. Ketty felt she had to keep that from Sterling for his own protection, and she also felt shame and self-loathing, not the basis for a loving marriage. I don’t believe she resented Sterling as she knew they both were victims. I think the horror and trauma of her position made her more than a little crazy. Her health problem probably contributed too. I was curious about the habit of eating the white clay and looked it up: it’s a form of pica, an eating disorder where someone craves eating what isn’t food, with many doctors thinking it may be triggered by a chemical imbalance in the immune system. Just as chewing tobacco gave her cancer, the clay could have added to her emotional instability. Ignorance was widespread too — it’s the real villain of this story in so many ways. I think Ketty genuinely thought she was protecting Nan by cutting out her tongue, not only from cancer but perhaps from the forced attentions of white men. Ketty is a tragic figure, deprived of a real love due to being treated as a slave.


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

Join Date: 04/03/17

Posts: 25

RE: Do you think any of the three men Ketty was involved with cared about her?

They are men. Who do you think comes first?


Posted Jul. 25, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
renem

Join Date: 12/01/16

Posts: 185

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RE: Do you think any of the three men Ketty was involved with cared about her?

Certainly each of the men had major flaws and Ketty was a mess too. But I believe Sterling was the only one who cared for Ketty. We also have to remember the time period of the novel. Women, black or white, were still considered second class citizens and men still ruled over their women.


Posted Jul. 26, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
karenrn

Join Date: 08/29/13

Posts: 93

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RE: Do you think any of the three men Ketty was involved with cared about her?

I think Sterling loved Ketty. I think Juke and George were just using her. I think Ketty resented that Sterling couldn't protect her. I also think she thought he was stupid to blame her for the affairs. She didn't have much choice. I think Ketty thought she was protecting Nan from cancer when she cut out her tongue.


Posted Jul. 26, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
karenrn

Join Date: 08/29/13

Posts: 93

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RE: Do you think any of the three men Ketty was involved with cared about her?

I think Sterling loved Ketty. I think Juke and George were just using her. I think Ketty resented that Sterling couldn't protect her. I also think she thought he was stupid to blame her for the affairs. She didn't have much choice. I think Ketty thought she was protecting Nan from cancer when she cut out her tongue.


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: Do you think any of the three men Ketty was involved with cared about her?

I agree with the others - Sterling loved her, the rest just used her.


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