‘The Survivors’ by Elsie Singmaster

Singmaster, Elsie

 The Survivors by Elsie Singmaster, 1915

The magic trick:

Rooting the story in the real history of the American Civil War

I do not particularly care for this story. Nearly every good story offers at least two levels of narrative and meaning. Singmaster, here, shows only one: the story of two cousins estranged by the Civil War eventually coming back together after many years. The metaphor – divided family as divided country – doesn’t do much for me. What I did like was the fact that Singmaster’s story relies on a actual events for context. The story becomes a window into post-war relations and situations. And that’s quite a trick on Singmaster’s part.

The selection:

Fosterville was a border town; in it enthusiasm had run high, and many more men had enlisted than those required by the draft. All the men were on the same side but Adam Foust, who, slipping away, joined himself to the troops of his mother’s Southern State.

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