38 pages 1 hour read

Dennis Covington

Salvation on Sand Mountain: Snake Handling and Redemption in Southern Appalachia

Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 1995

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Chapters 10-11

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 10 Summary: “The Wider Circle: Elvis Presley Saylor”

The next week, Covington sees Dewey Chafin at the Church of Jesus Christ in Kentucky for the first time since Jolo, one year prior. Covington notices that Dewey looks exactly the same to him, down to a bandage he had been wearing on his hand. Dewey has recently received two new snake bites, bringing his total to 117.

On that day, Bill Pelfrey from Georgia preaches the sermon. Covington had met Bill during the Scottsboro days, and his wife and daughter, Diane, were also active snake holders. After the service, Covington meets a man outside, sporting a moustache and tropical shirt, who tells him the others call him “the Wicked One” (129). The man is named Elvis Presley Saylor and Covington finds him again after the dinner, when he is attempting to hitchhike home to Kentucky. Because he has been married twice, Elvis has found himself at odds with Punkin Brown. Covington realizes Elvis has been outcast from his own people, and he reveals to the reader that this is what always pushes him away from churchgoing. Covington does not realize he is about to be ostracized in the same way as Elvis.