The novel, “One Foot in Eden” by Ron Rash, is an extravagant story that takes the reader into a tail of desperation, forgiveness and the inevitable change that comes with time. The novel is written in first person by four different novel characters who include: The High Sheriff Alexander, Deputy Bobby, Billy Holcombe, and his wife, Amy.
The High Sheriff is looking for Holland Winchester, who is known as a local ruffian and war hero. The Sheriff soon learns from Holland’s mother that he had been having an affair with Amy Holcombe prior to his disappearance. Although Amy loves her husband Billy; he cannot give her a child because he is sterile. Amy goes to Holland Winchester, her neighbor, to give her a child because Widow Glendower promised he would.
Widow Glendower is a minor character in the novel “One Foot in Eden.” However, she plays a vital role. Widow Glendower is often referred to as a witch throughout the novel, often associated with a devilish figure. Many believe that witches are dangerous. “For most of history, in most of the world, the prevailing view of witches is that they present some kind of threat (690 Joshi).” There are certain characteristics that represent the figure of a witch, however, Ronald Hutton states that there is “no general agreement on what a witch or witchcraft is supposed to be.“ Though out the book, some of Widow Glendower’s actions could be interpreted to embody the characteristics of a witch. However, instead of being viewed as a witch or threatening figure, Widow Glendower should be seen as a part of a traditional herbal healing age, who cared for the sick and received a bad label because of history. She should be noted as a gentle midwife that wishes to invoke life, not take it away. Widow Glendower should not be seen as a evil figure because of her unconditional advice which leads Amy to deceive her husband and, ultimately to the death of Holland Winchester.
The first characteristic of a witch is defined by a “person who uses non-physical means to cause misfortune or injury to other humans (Hutton).” During the book, “One Foot in Eden,” Widow Glendower does not seek to hurt others or cause them ill will. Although the life of Holland Winchester is taken in result of Widow Glendower’s unconventional advice given to Amy, Widow Glendower had nothing to do with the actions which lead toward the murder of Holland Winchester.
Widow Glendower was a herbal healer who wanted to help and cure people when they were sick. She saves Billy Holcombe from a serious illness that could of taken his life. She is not reluctant to provide Amy with “willow bark and boneset” (110 Rash) to break Billy’s fever. The Widow is known to have helped many another person when they wasn’t no one else to doctor them…(68 Rash).“ The Widow saves Amy’s life from freezing to death and is not revengeful toward Amy for not allowing her to midwife her baby. The Widow says to Amy, “If I wanted to revenge you why didn’t I let you freeze to...