The Voice of Ellis

Ellis tells his story in a unique voice that I recognize.  I am reminded of the eldedly people in my life whose stories have no real beginning, middle or end.  They look at everything as if it was yesterday and they contemplate life’s events and the impact each event may have had on their lives. 

Is it obvious that Ellis has many regrets to the reader? 

Why is he in prison?  And why does he start his story just as he gets out of prison?

Does the changes in times ( Ellis as a boy,a young man, a married man and an old man)contribute to the overall climate or tone of the story?  Is our lives a linear progression?  Or could that one mistake that happened 20-30 years previous be the ultimate cause for our current state?

Finally, what is it about Ellis’ wife (Susan) that others see but Ellis does not?  She is treated poorly by many people in the beginning of the book.   The boys at the fair ground, the ladies she works for talk to her rudely.

Ellis has no family or friends and Susan seems to have no family and friends.  I am hyper-aware of their isolated life.  They have the neighbor and eventually WD–but there seem to be no other close connections. 

I am impressed with the way the author shows the separation between races–and the separation between the classes of people.  The chapter where the hog is slaughtered and roasted is a cleverly crafted scene that shows that race was not the only thing that separated people.  Even the little white girl could not sit on the porch steps of Mr. Stillwell’s house.  With just a look Mr. Stillwell was able to communicate to the mother that the child was in the wrong place.

Does anyone have any thoughts on the title “Sweet Everlasting?”  I know that it is a wild flower–but the title to me has a biblical tone. 

Check out this link if you want more information about the author:



2 thoughts on “The Voice of Ellis

  1. Hello TTT Ladies, first of all I would like thank ” HoneyBadger” for choosing such a excellent “read” The Sweet Everlasting” by Judson Mitchum

    I am still reading but so far I appreciate how he has introduced us to “history”. I must admit this book is a short novel, but so intimate and detailed. It keeps you engrossed with intrigue.

    I believe because of the era women did not have many rights or education, they would have treated any woman with disrespect. Looking at the orgin of their character I am not surprised. They are jerks.

    I agree it does have a biblical overtone, but I have not figured what it is.

    I did find it odd that the the author starts this book as Ellis gets out of prison, but then maybe his life has some clarity and meaning??? I am confused, but still interested in as the book slowly unfolds, his life is such a mystery I have to know what happened and why.

    I assumed Ellis was a Black man because of the story line, I was shocked to read he was white, I had to start over again, how did I miss that?

    I do wonder what could he have done to go prison for so long? I will keep reading very slowly, this book is full of twist and turns.

    In my opinion it is obvious that Susan and Ellis are poor, they are automatically seen as “left overs” The people that have money feel that is why they are superior.

    TTT Ladies Let’s talk

  2. I am finished reading the novel “The Sweet Everlasting” I still in a state of “awe”

    It was just fabulous, so real and true, I feel I know Ellis

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