Saving Grace the stories of redemption in midnight in the garden of good and evil

Introduction

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil features a wide variety of worldly characters. From drag queens to a failed inventor who daily threatens the town with a bottle of poison, this place couldn't get any weirder. The town is crawling with greed both political and monetary as they thrive off of gossip and slander, and all the while, they drink themselves further into their holes of hopelessness. But in each of the characters, even those who seem to be without hope, there is, above all else, redemption.

At first glance, the town is a thriving little city. You can tell the people are proud by the way they uphold tradition so religiously, with their ladies' club itinerary planned by the minute for who knows how many years and their meticulous pregame rituals for the University of Georgia where they dress a bulldog in incredibly specific attire. But it's this pride that keeps this town from progressing and from changing the way they think and act. This leaves people stuck in their own little rut, developing Savannah's caste system, which is about as rigid as it is in India. This is the exact reason I chose the theme of redemption.

Redemption in Savannah is huge. It means coming out of your rut and changing the shape of the world in the rigid Old South. I chose redemption, because above all else, it's the fuel of the story. The biography of Savannah meanders from character to character, with no regard for a plot. But by looking further, you see what keeps the reader going: the desire for each character to be redeemed. You keep reading because you want to see the witch doctor redeem her business, for Joe Odom to become a credible lawyer again and because you have to see Jim Williams get his life back. That's the thing with redemption. It's coming back to and even surpassing a past state of existence after being in a valley of life. In this book, it's what keeps the reader reading.

The Genres

Jim Williams' Societal Redemption

Dearest mother,

After so prolonged and forlorn of a time in this blasted cell, I have finally been redeemed from this life with criminals. My state of innocence proved strikingly clear to the people of Augusta, Georgia, and thank the Lord for it. I had tired of spending my then dwindling fortune on incompetent lawyers to present my case to a jury of bullish Savahnians.

But that is not the point of my letter, so please forgive my rant. I have sent you this out of my rejoice. I am free! My antiques business has grown at an alarming rate now that it's business as usual. I am as rich as ever. As for the people of Savannah: they love me again! After resuming my yearly parties, I have retaken my original position in society as a leading gentlemen. This is far better than being associated with criminal squalor. Moreover, all the attention from the press has given Mercer House, and in turn, myself, all the more attention. I even recall the film Glory being filmed outside the mansion. All is well in my life.

So, mother, I would like to thank you for your unwavering support. I was in the deepest rut of my life. But now, thanks to family and the ever-present comfort of money, I have risen in stature to be a man of honor once again. I have redeemed my life socially, and what more does a man need?

P.S. On a more somber note, I'm experiencing a rather nasty cough. I do suppose it's just the commoner's cold; I will let it run its course.

Best Wishes,

James Williams

Redeeming the History of Savannah

http://www.visitsavannah.com/essential-savannah/history-of-savannah.aspx

A Witch Doctor's Business Redeemed

Witch Doctors of America

I am submitting my application as a fellow witch doctor to become a part of the association Witch Doctors of America. I believe my qualifications are in order, having been tutored under one of the greatest rootworkers of our time and that I now have a steady line of work, and therefore, income.

After losing most of my business after the death of my mentor and lover Dr. Buzzard, I began to scrabble for jobs. The most work I could get was throwing graveyard dirt on the porches of those who hold grudges against me, but that didn't pay at all. I was destitute, living in a little shack, barely able to afford food. Nobody appreciated my skill. It wasn't until an old friend was convicted for murder that I began to find work.

James Williams took the life of a young boy and needed me to work the spirits in order to prove his innocence. For years, I earned $25 dollars a day, not much, but better than nothing. His first two trials, I was able to work the spirits so that his punishment wasn't too severe. But the spirits were still angry, so I wasn't able to acquit him completely.

It wasn't until his final trial that I was able to calm the murdered boy's spirit. Which was a brilliant accomplishment, mind you; I've never seen that much hatred in someone. Once he was calmed down, James was acquitted and walked a free man. After this, business soared. I continued working for James, keeping the evil from hurting him again and I got a lot of other jobs as well, working the roots and spirits, you know.

My most recent and greatest accomplishment was the death of Mr. Williams. I know I worked for him, but a man by the last name of Adler payed a great sum of money for some bad luck to befall James. I went back to the murdered boy's grave and had a little chat. He was laughing in his grave when I told him. Less than a month later, James Williams dropped dead.

Business was better than ever, at this point. I went from a destitute old woman to the best witch doctor in the south.

I believe these accomplishments qualify me to be a part of your club. I am a valuable asset, no doubt, and you need my guidance, or else I'll be putting a curse on you, too.

Much love,

Minerva

Redemption of African-American Society in the Eyes of Whites

Much like the woman depicted here, the women in the debutante ball all wore elegant white gowns.

Redeeming the Lady of Six Thousand Songs

Grocery List 1:

Church clothes, a new purse

Grocery List 2:

Car repairs, a new lung, new songbooks, gas for the car, hospital bills

Grocery List 3:

Mortgage on the bar, a piano, drinks for the customer, more church clothes

Notes

The Genres

The genre titled "Jim Williams' Societal Redemption" was done in the form of a letter to his mother. I used the letter because I felt it was the only way to truly describe Williams' fall to criminality and then rise to gentlemanly stature; with a letter, I was able to give all of the details, but not drown the viewer in a pointless diagram. This relates to the overall theme because Jim's cumulative story in the book is one of redemption, and I addressed that in the genre. I described his fall from the position of wealth and power in Savannah to being a criminal and the lowest of the low. I then talked about him rising up and once again becoming a prominent businessman after his final case.

"Redeeming the History of Savannah" uses a timeline to show the rise, fall and then rise again of Savannah's society. Using a timeline best shows redemption because it shows the changes of the city chronologically. By showing how beautiful Savannah was ravaged by the Civil War, the downfall is accurately represented. When I show the chronological order of blacks rebuilding the city and then the historic preservation society being created, I'm able to show how Savannah was rebuilt to it's former glory, and then it went even further as it reached it's renaissance. This shows its redemption as a city.

"A Witch Doctor's Business Redeemed" tells the tale of how Minerva's business became popular once again. It's commonly known that her boss Dr. Buzzard was one of the best rootworkers, which meant he had a lot of business. When he died, the business of both of them died with it, until Jim hired Minerva out and provided her with a constant source of income. I did this in the form of an application to the Witch Doctors of America to describe how she went from being destitute to having a full-fledged witch doctor business, enough to gain admittance to a national club, which is a story of redemption.

"Redemption of African-American Society in the Eyes of Whites" is in the form of an invitation of the debutante ball. The debutante ball is one of the highlights of African culture in Savannah and it proves to white society that the African-Americans are socially competent and deserve a place in society. Even though they were responsible for the original reconstruction of Savannah, they were still not treated equally. But by creating this ball, they show white society that they are just as capable of being classy as they are, redeeming their originally low reputation among wealthy whites.

I chose three grocery lists for "Redeeming the Lady of Six Thousand Songs". I did this because it shows the ups and downs in her life. In the first grocery list, I put church clothes, which I also put in the third, showing faith as a constant in her life. I also showed her original position of living a happy life with little to worry about by making the list rather short. The second grocery list shows all the demands that came with caring for her son after he shot himself, marking a low point in her life. The third grocery list shows that she found her calling to play music full time and open her piano bar, and again, the church clothes as a marker of her faith, which she says was strengthened after her son was injured.

Works Cited

"Visit Savannah Http://www.visitsavannah.com." Visit Savannah. Visit Savannah, n.d. Web. 01 Apr. 2017.

"Historic Savannah Foundation." Historic Savannah Foundation RSS. Historic Savannah Foundationl, n.d. Web. 01 Apr. 2017.

Credits:

Created with images by nigelhowe - "Sunrise" • randwill - "The Mercer House" • Mariaa - "cotton white plant" • RobVanDerMeijden - "grave cemetery rip" • Sister72 - "A Lovely Debutante" • cocoparisienne - "piano keyboard keys"

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