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If the Creek Don't Rise
A debut novel bursting with heart, honesty, and homegrown grit.
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Was the title to this novel a metaphor? Explain with examples, please...

Created: 10/31/17

Replies: 5

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

Join Date: 06/16/16

Posts: 19

Was the title to this novel a metaphor? Explain with examples, please...

On page 47, there is a dialogue/quotation that has stayed with me. I keep thinking how it relates to the title, i.e., if the creek don't rise. The more introspection that I do, the more I see the role it plays as a metaphor...
Yes? No? In what ways are there examples throughout the book? Characters?

Quote:
"Are we going to die?

No, child..We're safe here. If the good Lord's willing and the creeks don't rise."


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

Join Date: 02/18/15

Posts: 230

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RE: Was the title to this novel a metaphor? Explain with examples, please...

I believe it is a metaphor for the way each character reacted to what was given to them by nature. Would they rise up above it and fight to survive or let the waters drag them down? In that particular chapter Marris is being given strength by her mother "you're made of better stuff than that" and by her name, Mother Jones, someone to look up to. They would make it if nature allowed it. Kate fought to stay on that mountain, yet we see her worried and watching the creek during the storm, wondering if it would wash her away. Each of the characters had their struggles with the creek (their own inner battles). We could almost say this novel was the perfect example of Man vs Nature.


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

Join Date: 10/15/14

Posts: 72

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RE: Was the title to this novel a metaphor? Explain with examples, please...

I agree with Reene completely and I want to believe that it was intended as metaphor in addition because when I first heard the title - as I have mentioned in other responses here - I thought it sounded like a cliché. Surely, I hope, an author or editor would not select a title that simplistically. Initially the title made me less interested in reading the novel, but the more I read, the more I saw a deeper connection between the characters, their actions and involvements, and the title. Early on in the novel, the Dillards are facing extreme difficulty until Marris, along with Sadie and others, (metaphorically, the creek), comes to their aid. In the chapter titled Tattler Swann, we see how Jerome Biddle is facing capture and nearly drowned until Tattler and Sadie reclaim him. Sadie, too, seems nearly ready to "go under", but in several instances others such as Marris, Kate, and Birdie come to her aid. Each of these individuals and situations may be read metaphorically.


Posted Nov. 05, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
marianned

Join Date: 07/02/15

Posts: 37

RE: Was the title to this novel a metaphor? Explain with examples, please...

I agree that the title was meant metaphorically, but I think it was a thinly veiled metaphor: if something good happened to one of the characters, “the creek don’t rise” (e.g., Sadie is supported and saved by Kate and Marris), but if something bad happens, “the creek rises” (as it does for Gladys, Roy, Billy, Darlene). What makes the book an overall tragedy is that that metaphorical creek keeps rising for Appalachia, both in the 1970s and today (as described in “Hillbilly Elegy,” for one).


Posted Nov. 17, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
millicentg

Join Date: 03/10/15

Posts: 12

RE: Was the title to this novel a metaphor? Explain with examples, please...

It is a very powerful title about life. I live in Houston... a community than knows way too much about creeks that rise. I see the title as reality... you live your life the best you can and God willing "the creek don't rise".
However, when it does ...and in all lives, it does in varying degrees...you find yourself a Survivor. And how we survive is ..."the rest of the story..."


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

Join Date: 11/20/17

Posts: 5

RE: Was the title to this novel a metaphor? Explain with examples, please...

I think it means that 'if the creek don't rise,' life is tolerable. All the other challenges of life can be tolerated and even overcome as long as the ultimate disaster does not occur. These characters are living on the verge of disaster, and they have a heightened awareness of their unstable position in life.


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