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Port William’s “Hard History of Love”

Port William’s “Hard History of Love”

The Short Stories

(p.117) Chapter 4 Port William’s “Hard History of Love”
The Achievement of Wendell Berry
Fritz Oehlschlaeger
University Press of Kentucky

This chapter concentrates on Port William's “hard history of love” as it is told in the short stories collected in That Distant Land. That story is complex, and, as with most things, all the interest lies in the details. But perhaps the overall arc of the story can be described as one from hurt to charity—from the hurt young Mat Feltner sees in the face of the man his mother assists in the opening story to the charity of sight and knowledge evident in Wheeler Catlett and Danny Branch in the last story, “The Inheritors (1986)”. The volume's stories work together to show how a good community prevents hurt from compounding endlessly as pain and anger, how it provides a place and context for the development of charity.

Keywords:   Port William, hard history of love, That Distant Land, Mat Feltner, The Inheritors, Wheeler Catlett, Danny Branch, charity, hurt, anger

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