All Over but the Shoutin’ Major Character Analysis

Rick Bragg

All Over but the Shoutin’

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All Over but the Shoutin’ Major Character Analysis

Rick Bragg

This book is a memoir.  Rick Bragg has written the story of his life up to the point where he had reached his primary goals and could look back at how far he had come from his difficult childhood.  He himself is, therefore, the major character in the narrative; although he might say the leading figure is actually his mother.

As a boy, Bragg escaped by reading and daydreaming: “I was a dreamer, and while I loved the woods and the creeks and the natural beauty of our world, I also loved to bury myself in books…By the time I was in the eighth grade, I had read every book—except the ones for little kids—in the tiny library at Roy Webb Junior High School.  I am not bragging. I was just hungry.  When I was out of books, I just found a quiet place to dream” (91).

As a young adult he is reckless, as boys of his time and place often were, and he enjoys driving fast cars without a seat belt.  Bragg is one of the lucky ones, since he survives his biggest crash without injury.

He is also lucky to get the opportunity to write for his high school and college papers.  This leads to a job with a local newspaper.  After that, he has a series of lucky breaks that take him to Florida, Los Angeles, and New York.  He works for bigger and bigger papers and becomes more and more successful.

Yet, Bragg’s success was obviously more than just luck.  He had a combination of sensitivity to the pain of others and great talent for writing.  “The first story I wrote as a news reporter…I described a man’s attempt to drag his friend out of the woods, bleeding to death, after he had shot him…I had my first taste of that odd mixed emotion, of pride in the work, of seeing your story at the top of the page, and of that terrible sadness that the words contained” (140).

Whatever his opinion of his own abilities, Bragg certainly knows exactly how to chronicle the painful parts of life…

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