61 pages 2 hours read

S. A. Cosby

All the Sinners Bleed

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2023

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The Endurance of the Past

As a popular concept in Southern literature, this theme manifests in both large-scale and small-scale occurrences in All the Sinners Bleed, for the historical events of centuries past continue to haunt the community, just as personal events from Titus’s lifetime continue to haunt him as an individual. One way the author develops this theme is by referencing other Southern writers who have written about the same theme, most notably William Faulkner, who is alluded to repeatedly. In the novel Requiem for a Nun, Faulkner wrote, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past” (73). Titus applies this idea to Charon County’s racial segregation and prejudice, as well as personal events like breakups and the on-the-job murder that resulted in his resignation from the FBI. Although others claim that Charon County is peaceful and impervious to violence, Titus is aware of the long history of violence that has plagued the place: colonialism, genocide, slavery, murders, diseases, and more. Because violence begets more violence, Titus knows that these historical events still affect the local residents, and it’s only a matter of time until another painful “season” of violence arrives. As Titus believes, “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.