A Painted House Essay Research Paper A
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A Painted House Essay, Research Paper A PAINTED HOUSE A Novel by John Grisham March 26, 2001 John Grisham’s book, ‘A Painted House’ places the reader within the walls of a simple home on the cotton fields of rural Arkansas. Within the first few pages, the author’s description of the setting quickly paints a picture of a hard working family and creates a shared concern with the reader about the family’s struggle to meet the basic needs of life. The description of the dusty roads, the unpainted board-sided house, the daily chore requirements and their lack of excess cause the reader a reaction of empathy for the family. Although the story takes place in a dusty setting very unfamiliar to most readers, the storyline is timeless and universal. Most everyone has a desire to meet the basic needs of life, embrace their family ties, and make others and ourselves proud. The crux of this book is that it does an excellent job in showing the reader through other’s examples and hardships to persevere and never give up. The title of the book, ‘A Painted House’ is based on the actual farmhouse in which the Chandler family resides. It was an old house. It was a fine house that had never been painted. For this particular family, paint – like eating meat with every meal – was a luxury. It was not a requirement to have a painted house. It was not a sign of laziness as the reader might initially expect. It was a sign of being frugal with money. In this bold example of persevering and never giving up, Mr. Grisham demonstrates to the reader that ’one can’t have everything’. The story is told through the eyes of seven year old Luke Chandler. Luke lives with his parents and grandparents on their rented farmland in the lowlands of Arkansas. It takes place during the harvest season for cotton in 1952. Like other cotton growers, these were hard times for the Chandlers. Their simple lives reached their zenith each year with the task of picking cotton. It’s more than any family can complete by themselves. In order to harvest the crops and get paid, the Chandlers must find cotton pickers to help get the crops to the cotton gin. In order to persevere, they must depend on others. They find two sets of migrant farm workers to assist them with their efforts: the Mexicans, and the Spruills – a family from the Arkansas hills that pick cotton for others each year. In reading the book, the reader learns quickly that life is difficult for many people – not just the Chandlers. In spite of these hardships, these families know that the work must continue in order to survive. As one might expect from the title, one continued part of the story concerns the lack of paint on the home. Trot, in spite of his lack of physical strength and intelligence, decides to paint the house. His sister Tally buys him some paint, and Trot begins painting the house on a side not normally visible during daily activities. At first, it seems a mystery on who is painting the house and for what reason. It’s very obvious later in the book what the author was conveying with this exercise. The unpainted house is certainly a metaphor when studying these folk as they interact with one another. One has to set his goals and work very hard and persistently in order to complete the task…just as in life. Mr. Grisham takes the reader into the cotton fields with the snakes, the almost-unbearable heat, and the empty sacks that must be filled. Too much time spent in one area of a cotton row and there is wasted time. Not enough time spent in each area of the cotton row, and there is wasted cotton. The bags have to be filled in order for anyone to get paid. Luke is out there everyday with the adults – dragging his sack behind him while doing his best to keep up with the others. The work is hard and the days are long. However, in this book’s setting, it seems natural and expected for everyone to share the load.