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Packhorse Librarians #4



"This is what I would say if I could, to all smart people of the world with their dumb hillbilly jokes: We are right here in the stall. We can actually hear you." - Demon Copperhead


When I read the final page of Kingsolver's book I was struck by how tenderly she wrote about the characters from the hills of Kentucky, people who were historically and are presently dismissed and mocked for their station, as if they had a fighting chance against an indomitable system working hard to keep them down. It is not lost on me the parallel of the packhorse librarians delivering books with new perspectives to their community and Kingsolver's writings delivering, to a much broader audience, a view of different worlds existing within our own. As I mentioned in my first blog entry, she has changed the way I think about and see Appalachia, its history, and its people.


I little anecdote about this painting in particular is the scene with the librarian riding up to the porch rather than front door. The dilapidated homes were difficult to keep warm in the cold winter days and were often insulated with old newspapers glued to the walls. In order to not let in the cold chill of the day, the librarians would hand their materials through slots in the covered "windows" or a back patio where the home was less exposed.



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