So far, Sandpebbles has been really interesting. After reading more about it from few of the chapters, I got to meet more characters and read about their different reactions to events. Hickman is really drawing my attention as she introduces each character in the most poetic way possible and talks about how each character struggles through relationships. As I have mentioned earlier, she uses a lot of humor and the story itself is full of poetic beauty and it touches the struggle of the human heart.
With the struggle of human heart, both Joan Longfellow and her daughter in law, March Longfellow portray it well. On page 39, James Norville tells her daughter March that Joan had called again and that she needs to return her calls. But March didn’t bother to much. She replied to her dad by saying, “I didn’t return her call because she’s making a nuisance of herself. Eighty acres isn’t enough for her, Dad.” Joan wanted the land that Joe left it for his son Mason. The relationship between Joan and March is very stubborn as both continue to get angry and argue over the land in their hometown, Virginia. Mason then reminded her mother by saying, “If the land in Virginia is mine and Grandma wants it, then I’ll just give it back and stop all the fighting. You’re always upset. Before Daddy dies, you and Grandma never fought” (41). Then her mother responded by saying, “Mason, at your age, you don’t know everything. For your father’s sake, I seldom said the things to your grandmother I wanted to say…”After your daddy dies, it was like opening a wound too soon. All of your grandmother’s anger came spilling out. Things I never even knew that she thought about me, now I’m hearing for the first time” (41). The grief of her loving husband has changed everything. I think March is trying to prove something to Joan. But Joan is trying to accuse March of her son’s death by saying, “He knew you didn’t love him” (49) when March finally had a face to face conversation with Joan. I think Joan is trying to blame March so that she could take the land.
Anyways, Hickman also captures the heart of the human nature by showing love and loyalty among the characters. This was captured when March decided to bring food over to Pastor Arnett and his family, who is a friend of James Norville. He invited Pastor Arnett from Lake Norman to speak at the church on Sunday. When March talked on the phone with her dad, he said, “So you’re visiting the Arnetts. That’s a bit of a surprise” and March responded by saying, “Mason and I are taking a picnic out to the Arnetts, Dad. It’s a polite gesture. You’re welcome to join us” (39).
Then on Sunday, after Pastor Arnett gave a message to the congregation, the congregation were not that welcoming. After service, everyone gathered together to eat the food that was prepared by some of the members of the congregation but the Arnetts didn’t get to eat. They rushed out of the church without telling anyone and that caused mixed feelings between the congregation. One of the member of the congregation, Wanda said, “The pastor almost ate nothing and then had that sister of his round up the whole kit-and-kaboodle and off they went. Maybe they don’t like our food” (66). Then Reverend James told March that “I’ve never seen so many steely-eyed stares coming from a congregation. A godly love, that’s what the whole place lacked this morning” (68). The congregation felt something was wrong. But the Arnetts left because one of Pastor Collin’s friend had died on that Sunday morning.
With Pastor Collin having to preach on Sunday, a lot of people also got the feeling that he might replace Reverend James. One of the lady, Fern told March by saying, “March is this man trying to take your father’s place or not? ” (68). Without telling them that her father is thinking of retiring, she said, “If Reverend James Norville trusts the man, perhaps you should offer the same trust” (69). This has caused me to think that the congregation don’t like the idea of their Reverend getting replaced by a man they have known for a short period of time.
Hickman continues to impress me with a lot of struggle between the characters and their actions towards each other. I can’t wait to find out more about the relationship between March and Joan and what might happen next. Also, I’m hoping to see a positive gesture among the congregation to Pastor Collin and Reverend Norville’s retirement.