Home > Uncategorized > What do you want?

What do you want?

When reading Galland’s story, I’ve often found it difficult to fully understand what the other members of the Love Cemetery Project are after.

Galland’s first person point of view quickly muddles my ability as a reader to interpret the actions of other characters. When reading a first person narrative, we’re at the mercy of our main character and their account of the situation at hand. I’m not attempting to critique Galland’s writing or her depiction of the story. In fact, I think she made the right choice when she decided to write in the first person. I would have been offended to read the story and find her making grand assumptions about the other character’s thoughts and feelings in an attempt to write in the third person. Also I don’t think the story of Love Cemetery can be told from a scholarly perspective. So much of the story is rooted in deep emotions among those involved. That being said, I think Galland chose the lesser of two evils in the way she wrote Love Cemetery.

When I reread R.D.’s quotation from today, I realized how far the Love Cemetery project had grown from page 116 in the book to the clips we watched today in class. Love Cemetery quickly became a part of a much bigger picture when Galland began to help. What I’m wondering is if the project turned into what the community wanted.

To me, the wishes of the community differ from the huge expectations Galland has put onto Love Cemetery. R.D.’s language suggests that he sees this story as a way to immortalize their story, making it as hard to erase as a head stone. “They would like to have this history wrote up, for our children to come along and read about us and our foreparents who was there. They can get that book. They can say: ‘I see where my Aunt Doris, she was in this deal.’” While it’s obvious that access to Love Cemetery was never a simple matter of making a few calls, I feel that the book is at odds with the task at hand. Occasionally we lose sight of what the community members ultimately want, as she says on page 39, “Nuthel wanted us to have grave-cleaning days like they used to have to keep the Ancestors happy and restore Love Cemetery to its proper state.”

Simple enough. But what do the African American people involved in all of this think of the story, of Galland’s rhetoric and her presentation of the story of Love Cemetery? I couldn’t ever handle a story like this. There would just be too many toes to step on.


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