Joe Craddock-Old Women Analysis

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During the Reconstruction era the Deep South took on an antiquated farming system called Sharecropping. Sharecropping worked well for landowners, but absolutely destroyed tenants and workers. Although, too young to experience the detrimental age of sharecropping. Sharecropping took an immense Physical and Psychological toll on people in the Deep South. Erskine Caldwell and Margate Bourke-White do an excellent job of capturing the toll it took with their powerful quotes and word choice in the short story “Joe Craddock- Old Women” and novel “You have seen their faces.” Both, capture the absolute horrors sharecroppers had to live through in order to barley survive. Joe Craddock-Old Women is a short story about farmer’s wife who was not once…show more content…
When Craddock speaks of Joe he makes the statement, “Joe worked all the time, too. Yet his labor returned nothing but an aching back, heartbreak, and poverty.” Clearly, his work took a physical toll on him because of his aching back and mentally because of his heartbreak. However, Joe worked so much that he had not recognized his wife when her body was brought back after being washed and cleaned up. In fact, in order for Joe to identify his own wife he had to go retrieve a picture that she gave to him before they were married. Physically this event shows that Julia’s body must have been put through hell and back because of sharecropping… But more so, mentally, Joe for the past ten years had seen Julia as his “Old Woman” and forgot the beauty of his own wife. I feel that Craddock sums it up well when he wrote, “There with Joe and Julia life wasn’t worth living very long.” This line alone makes it exceptionally clear that being a sharecropper was no way to live a life. Along with the many lines in You Have Seen Their…show more content…
The author, then, speaks about it again and says, “wringing dry the bodies and souls of men, women, and children… new numbers to take places of those crushed and thrown aside; breeding families of eight, ten, twelve, fourteen, sixteen, and more, in order to furnish an ever increasing number of persons necessary supply rent-cotton for the landlord.” A noticeably large and powerful quote pulled from the novel. When broken down it is clear that the author is expressing the effects this style of farming has. First and foremost, there are numerous physical effects on any woman that has to birth and raise eight or more kids. Not to mention the stress that comes along with those kids which is: mouths to feed, cloth, tend to when sick, and provide a shelter for. To add, the word choice of “wringing bodies and souls” shows how cutthroat it is. Not to mention, the reason there are so many “wringing bodies” is because the constant necessity to replace workers (some being young children) because of how physically and mentally wrenching the work is. The children that are birthed for the soul purpose of tending to the farm are being deprived of an
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