All Over but the Shoutin’ Prologue-Chapter 4 Summary & Analysis

Rick Bragg

All Over but the Shoutin’

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All Over but the Shoutin’ Prologue-Chapter 4 Summary & Analysis

Prologue Summary 

The author Rick Bragg explains why he came to write his and his family’s story.  He states, “This is not an important book.  It is only the story of a strong woman, a tortured man and three sons who lived hemmed in by thin cotton and ragged history in northeastern Alabama” (xi-xii). He talks about the sacrifices his mother made for him and his brothers and how he was able to “climb up her backbone and escape the poverty and hopelessness that ringed them, free and clean” (xii).

He also introduces the reader to his father,Charles,and the intense drama of his childhood and adolescence, wherein his daddy “whirled through our house in a drunken rage, and as always our momma just absorbed it, placing herself like a wall between her husband and her sons” (xvii).

Part One: The Widow’s Mite 

Chapter 1 Summary: A man who buys books because they are pretty 

In the first chapter,Bragg gives usthe essential background information on his family.  His parents were born in “the most beautiful place on earth, the foothills of the Appalachians along the Alabama-Georgia line…close to nothin’ but the dull red ground.  Life here between the meandering dirt roads and skinny blacktop was full, rich, original and real, but harsh, hard, mean as a damn snake” (3-4).

Next, the author describes his last visit with his father, who was dying young from the effects of alcoholism.  In that encounter, Bragg’s father gave him his inheritance: a library of beautifully bound books and a .22 rifle.  “He said he bought it sometime back, just kept forgetting to give it to me.  It was a fine gun, and for a moment we were just like anybody else in the culture of that place where a father’s gift of a gun to his son is a rite. He said, with absolute seriousness, not to shoot my brothers” (12).  This last comment reflects the male culture of fighting that was omnipresent for Bragg and his brothers.

Chapter 2 Summary: A killing, and a man who tried to walk on water

This chapter relates the story Bragg’s father told on his…

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