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Forgotten People Of The Blue Highways

659 words - 3 pages

Forgotten People of the Blue Highways

Journeying along the back roads of the blue highways of the road maps, William Least Heat Moon discovers the forgotten people of America in Blue Highways. In the beginning, his trip seems to be motivated by anger and disillusion. But when readers look deeper into the story, they see that Least Heat Moon focuses the attention on how to "climb out of a world which he realized was impersonal and materialistic" (Lyons 63). By avoiding the large cities, he focuses his attention on the forgotten civilizations. His ability to convey feelings with his storytelling doesn't commercialize the people or the stories. According to one critic, "Least Heat Moon has the judgment to step aside and let them tell their own often remarkable stories in their own words" (Perrin, 858). By mapping out his route, Least Heat Moon goes full circle from his hometown of Columbia Missouri to Othello, New Jersey, and back. Feeling as if his life is going nowhere, Least Heat Moon starts his journey in the middle of America.

Throughout the novel, the reader encounters towns such as Nameless, Defeated, and Shake Rag. But Least Heat Moon's most compelling story springs from his stopover in Selma, Alabama. Here he encounters a part of life that never wants to change. At the beginning of the chapter Least Heat Moon comes to Selma to see whether Martin Luther King's famous march has changed anything. In a bar, he encounters a white woman and man, Bernita and Ray. When he asks them about the changes in Selma, Bernita tells him that the only thing that has changed is the way they do business. Their views on the changes in Selma are surprising, yet uncommon. White people still view black people negatively and say that ongoing problems are common. But Bernita gives the most truthful view of the problems by stating, "Don't get the wrong...

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