Summary: The story is about a man named Jake living with his wife Flora on a cotton plantation. The story starts to develop when a fire breaks out in one of the cotton gins and flora's husband is accused of the crime. Afterwards, Flora is confronted by the owner of the destroyed cotton gin and while Jake is gone he harasses her and wants her to admit that her husband was responsible for the deed. In the end she is sexually abused by the cotton gin owner and he doesn't want compensation for the destroyed gin.
Relevance to environmental science: The setting of the cotton plantation itself is related to issues discussed in my discipline. Cultivating cotton is a branch of agriculture and the characters in the story were dependant on the cotton for a stable lifestyle. Someone dealing with agriculture would think about ways to maximize profit from the available land and the gin-owner showed that when he didn't ask for compensation for his burned gin.
He concluded that it was more affordable to have Jake and Flora process his cotton. This can also be associated with energy conservation which maximizes the yearly income.