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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Prologue-Chapter 1

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Prologue Summary

Dennis Covington begins by establishing himself as a Southerner born in the city—more specifically, Birmingham, Alabama—rather than one’s general idea of a country Southerner. In this way, Covington confesses that the world of the great Southern works of fiction was never his own. As he grows older, he learns to draw his own writing inspiration from the cities he experiences himself, leaving more rural settings to their own place in Southern literature. As he finds himself beginning to wonder if there is still a South at all, a 1990 Time essay published by American journalist Hodding Carter III confirms there is not. However, Covington foretells that his subsequent immersion in the snake-handlers’ community draws an opposing conclusion from the narrator. Covington reveals a central thesis of the text—Southerners are “as peculiar a people now as we ever were, and the fact that our culture is under assault has forced us to become even more peculiar than we were before” (xiii).

Chapter 1 Summary: “Following Signs”

Covington gives the reader an account of the first two times he attends services at The Church of Jesus with Signs Following in Scottsboro, Alabama, during the March of 1992. He decides to do this after covering the trial of Brother