61 pages 2 hours read

S. A. Cosby

All the Sinners Bleed

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2023

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Important Quotes

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“The soil of Charon County, like most towns and counties in the South, was sown with generations of tears. They were places where violence and mayhem were celebrated as the pillars of a pioneering spirit every Founders’ Day in the county square.

Blood and tears. Violence and mayhem. Love and hate. These were the rocks upon which the South was built. They were the foundation upon which Charon County stood.

If you had an occasion to ask some of the citizens of Charon, most of them would tell you those things were in the past. That they had been washed away by the river of time that flows ever forward. They might even say those things should be forgotten and left to the ages.

But if you had asked Sheriff Titus Crown […]

He might…say…

‘The South doesn’t change. You can try to hide the past, but it comes back in ways worse than the way it was before. Terrible ways.’”

(Prologue, Pages 1-2)

The prologue introduces the theme of The Endurance of the Past by arguing that time is not linear or progressive but is instead cyclical. This notion that the past endures is especially true for large-scale unprocessed traumas and unhealed wounds, such as those of slavery and colonialism. As the details of the murders in Charon County unfold, both the protagonists and the antagonists will demonstrate this principle in a variety of ways.

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“Folks liked to say Charon wasn’t a place where terrible things like that happened with any regularity.

Titus thought folks had short memories.

Charon’s recent history was indeed relatively quiet, but the past held horrors and terrors that had moved into the realm of legend. His father would sometimes share a quote from one of Reverend Jackson’s fire-and-brimstone sermons and say that Charon was long overdue for a season of pain. Titus didn’t think Gideon had the gift of prescience, but he did believe in the rise and fall of time. That what had happened before would happen again. The wheel spins and spins and eventually it lands on the same number it landed on twenty, thirty, forty years ago. No matter what they found inside the school, the season of peace had passed. Now the season of pain had returned, on his watch.”

(Chapter 2, Pages 15-16)

Titus’s concept of time is cyclical, not linear, which suggests that the same events will happen again and that they never really ended in the first place. This quote also reveals the dangers of thinking of one’s hometown as being invariably “safe.” Such complacency ultimately makes people more vulnerable to being harmed by villains who are hiding in plain sight.

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“Ricky Sours and his neo-Confederates had installed solar lights around the statue of Ol’ Rebel Joe. Titus thought the lights looked cheap and disposable, much like the statue itself…Most of them were made of low-grade bronze or limestone, mass-produced and erected as fast and inexpensively as possible. These effigies served two purposes.

To create a false narrative of honor and sacrifice that Confederate sympathizers could embrace in place of the shameful pall of treason that was their actual birthright.

And to remind Black Southerners that to some of their white neighbors they were just escaped cattle meant to be sacrificed on the altar of the Lost Cause.”

(Chapter 6, Page 71)

Titus notes that Confederate monuments propagate a false historical narrative, and thus they somewhat thwart the endurance of the past. At the same time, these monuments solidify the past’s dominion because they continue to reify the racism and violence that serves as the foundation upon which the area was developed.