Analysis Of Daniel Wallace's Essay 'The Bitter Southerner'

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Daniel Wallace’s essay “Killings,” which was recently featured in The Bitter Southerner, is a very honest explanation as to how the author ended up killing a chicken. The essay features a section in which the Wallace discusses “the early years” of his experiences with death, and the childhood he describes is one that is very stereotypically Southern. Playing outside and messing with bugs are much more common in the South than in the North, so this essay embodies Eudora Welty’s idea that the location plays a large part in a story because this story would not have taken place outside of the South. This community, one in which children are outside all the time and death is not uncommon, is one that I was only introduced to when I was 8, so I never experienced stories exactly like these in…show more content…
Wallace’s essay documents his experience with killing and most of the stories are presently rather nonchalantly. It is not until he kills the chicken when he addresses the fear and anxiety associated with life and death scenarios, and this lack of emotions is representative of the desensitization towards violence. Killing grasshoppers by putting firecrackers on them is a rather gruesome way to kill, and yet not something that most people would find particularly shocking, especially in the South where animal deaths and childhood pastimes are more likely to intersect. What probably started with acclimating to the death of farm animals has become a general attitude of apathy towards violence, which is likely why the South has such trouble dealing with racism, particularly issues of police brutality. In the same way that Wallace does not dwell on the life or death implications of his actions until he is about to kill the chicken, it is hard to understand the struggles of another group of people without going through them
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