Olive Ann Burns wrote the novel Cold Sassy Tree as an account of her family’s history. This coming of age novel tells the story of a small southern town and a teen boy who is introduced to issues of love, death and explores the ties of family relationships. The narrative begins with its narrator, Will Tweedy, recalling the summer of 1906, in Cold Sassy, when he was fourteen. Already his grandmother had died and his grandfather was soon to be remarried to a much younger woman, Miss Love Simpson. As much as his mother and aunt protest against the marriage, Will had mixed feelings toward the arrangement, which happened to be the talk of the town.
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Will’s hometown, Cold Sassy and the townspeople create an imperative setting for the novel. In Cold Sassy, rumors and gossip spread easily thanks to Miss Effie Belle Tate, the town’s rumormonger. Along side of this snoop is Will Tweedy. Will had always been close with his grandfather this contribute to his alleged eavesdropping. Will’s behavior would be regarded as acceptable, considering he would unexpectedly over heard vital conversations causing him to gain insight and wisdom.
A time where the supposed eavesdropping took place is when Will had been cleaning at his grandfather’s house with Miss Love Simpson. The cowboy walked through the door, seized Miss Love, and began kissing her passionately. Will had become fascinated by the sight, but he became alarmed when he saw next door neighbor, Miss Effie Belle Tate. She was bringing a coconut cake, although Will realized this gesture was her excuse to investigate the appearance of the cowboy. Will tried to block Miss Effie Belle Tate’s view into the house, but she caught a glimpse of the kiss and hurried away to spread the gossip. Miss Love broke away from the cowboy and burst into tears. She called the cowboy, Clayton McAllister, a no-good liar and a rogue. Clayton said he had come to take Miss Love away, and she replied that she was already married.
According to Webster’s dictionary, to eavesdrop is “To stand under the eaves, near a window or at the door, of a house, to listen and learn what is said within doors; hence, to listen secretly to what is said in private.” However this term does not apply to Will. One could hardly describe the situations he’s placed in as eavesdropping. In many instances Will had been asked to help clean the house with Miss Love, work in the horse stalls or the garden out back where he just happened to hear or see Miss Love in compromising position. Unlike an eavesdropper or snoop, Will in no way felt he did not need to share with anyone, what he saw or heard unlike Miss Effie Belle Tate.
In the tiny town of Cold Sassy, gossiping and eavesdropping are very common to the townspeople however, there are few such as Will, who keep secrets to themselves to prevent rumors. There are many instances in where Will had been placed in a situation where it was possible to hear or see Miss Love in an uneasy situation. Will did not once though even consider telling another person what he saw, which made his suspected eavesdropping acceptable.
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