Charles Waddel Chesnutt's "The Sherrif's Children".

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Waves of Insecurity

In "The Sheriff's Children" by Charles Waddell Chesnutt, he uses water imagery to emphasize something strong. What he feels is strong is the effect the war had on the people of Branson County. He feels that since no battle had been actually fought in Branson County, the people were jealous and wanted something to make a fuss about. "but the thunder of it's cannon had not disturbed the echoes of Branson County" (32). In this excerpt, Chesnutt tells us that the Civil War had not affected the way of life of the citizens.

Chesnutt uses water related words to describe events not usually associated together. "Yet the fierce tide of war that had rushed through the cities and along the great highways of the country had comparatively speaking but slightly disturbed the sluggish current of life in this region, remote from railroads and navigable streams." (32).

Through this passage, Chesnutt relates to the reader a sense of boredom the citizens of Branson County lived. Even the Civil War, "from which all local chronicles are dated" (32), had not livened the people of Branson County. A fierce tide is most commonly viewed as a tsunami, which is strong and generally unstoppable. Chesnutt believes this tsunami is something that will eventually break the peoples boredom, but have negative effects, much like a natural disaster.

"A steady stream of curious observers visited the house of the mourning, and gazed upon the rugged face of the old veteran, now stiff and cold in death..." (34). Chesnutt describes the visitors as a steady stream. In this instance, he uses water imagery to create a calm, slow reacting behavior normally associated when viewing a body. Through this image, the reader can tell how much respect the citizens of Branson had given...