• Wendell states that his home is not simply material for his writing, it is his home and it
• His reading influences his writing as well as his involvement in his place.
• Agrarianism without agriculture is a failure.
◦ Farming requires a closeness to your land. The discipline of farming is a difficult
one, and each farm is unique to its own challenges.
◦ Respecting the individuality is the hierarch of farming.
◦ To be a farm is not to be an agrarianism, but to be an agrarian is to be a farmer.
And encountering your land directly is a farm.
◦ The true goal of agrarianism is to surrender yourself and farm well.
◦ Giving up your “book learning” to fit what you are doing to your land.
• Berry states that farming has influenced his entire life, it isn't just farming for content for
• We need imagination just perception and observation to tell a whole true story about a
whole people. Imagination fills in the gaps and creates the whole characters.
• Berry's writing has concern with what things are as well as how things he wishes they are
• Berry concludes the essay and states that it honors the actual place that he has lived.
• His farming life takes precedent over his writing rather than merely the material for his
TIPS FOR READING
• Keep themes in class in mind. Berry has been influenced by stuff that we have been
reading like Jefferson.
• HOWEVER do not blind yourself to everything that is going on, there is more to this
than just the debate between Jefferson and Hamilton.
• Feminism is a theme as well. See how women play a role in Berry's world.
• How Port William is a COMMUNITY
• Grief – talk about grief in these farming communities. It is certainly not a paradise, and
poor behavior and loss and immoral behavior is shown. Notice how Berry treats this
behavior in a nuanced way, rather than a religiously conservative way.
• Pg. 4 – some insight about what it means to be an adult.
◦ Nathan, who becomes Hannah's eventual husband, had to carry his father who
had perhaps had a stroke.
◦ Situations like this make one an adult.
◦ Grandpa Coulter dies shortly after this.
◦ Nathan's case, carrying his grandfather (being physically capable) is a sign of his
manhood as well as his mental state of being able to deal with this grief.
◦ Immediately after this he continues working – important part of adulthood.
◦ Selfishness of his association with childhood – Nathan tells his stories about
himself in his childhood, and his last story is about his grandfather, so in a sense
his stories about his childhood stop being selfish and talk of others, a sign of
◦ Nathan even went on to serve at WWII, and he does not talk about what
happened in the war often.
◦ After this turning point of adulthood, his stories are no longer never about
• Hannah even talks about how Nathan's story becomes “our” story. Their story was also
the story of their place.
◦ Pg. 5 “It is the story of our place in our time: our farm of “150 acres more or
less,” as the deed says, on the ridges and slopes above the creek known as Sand
Ripple that runs down from Port William to the river. Nathan bought it in that
year f 1948, hoping I would marry him, or in case I would, thinking he would need a place of his own to take me to.”
◦ Story was of their time and how farms began to get bigger and farmers fewer.
◦ Most of the farmers children would leave for cities.
◦ More importantly it is their time together.
• Hannah's story is a story of giving of thanks.
◦ This story may be full of grief and sorrow, however even the grief is meaningful
and in a weird way fulfilling. This sorrow is shared with other people. There is a
difference between fulfilling grief and a lonely grief.
◦ Example of funerals, they are for the living not for the dead.
◦ You could describe it as a fulfilling grief, because you are sharing it with other
people it is meaningful.
◦ When we see grief in this book, the grief described in this book is what we would
call fulfilling grief.
• Page 7 – Hannah talks about the death of her mother.
◦ She talks of moving on from her mother's passing with work.
◦ In a farming community farming and working does not stop. You don't get away
with quitting in a farming community, and you do not survive.
◦ You have to keep moving on and you have to work.
◦ Berry is describing the association between work and moving on and working
• After her mother's passing and after her father remarries, her household was described as
◦ The household was divided, and this division makes things “strange” on page 9.
◦ It is no longer home for her, and yet it is.
• We also get an important sense of the kitchen.
◦ Grandmother moves to the kitchen, she physically moves away from the center
of the house, but she in a way takes control of the house. She controls the garden,
the kitchen, and the barn. The social parts of the house are given up, and the work
gets done in the important parts.
◦ We get a sense of importance in the power of a person running the kitchen.
• Standard of a poor family.
◦ Hannah's grandmother of saving dresses. If she could afford more dresses would
she throw away her old dresses?
◦ Berry's commentary in a way hints at a virtue in being poor.
◦ There are virtues that only the poor can possess or are a lot better at developin