Lesters, as one of the many small Southern cotton farmers made redundant by the industrialization the road novel pdf production and the migration into cities. The main character of the novel is Jeeter Lester, an ignorant and sinful man who is redeemed by his love of the land and his faith in the fertility and promise of the soil.
On his way home he stops by the Lesters to talk to Jeeter about Jeeter’s twelve-year-old daughter Pearl, to whom Lov is married. The entire family, acting in complete desperation, works to steal the turnips from Lov, who then becomes nauseated by the sight and leaves for home. At this point the preacher Bessie enters the scene. Sister Bessie Rice, like Ellie May, also has a deformity of the face. Despite this, Jeeter is still attracted to her. She does some preaching and praying for everyone’s sins, and then proposes marriage to Dude. However, Dude is more interested in her offer of letting him drive the new automobile that she anticipates purchasing than in actually getting married to her.
Bessie then goes home to her hovel to ask God whether or not she and Dude should get married. Such a life, he insists, would be impossible for him to live. Alongside Jeeter’s preoccupation with farming the land is his preoccupation with his own imminent death. Ada as well is fixated on her death, but their morbidity does not take the form of lamentation or self-pity. Jeeter’s main concern is that his body not be left in the old corn storage shed where it might be eaten by rats. He has had a terrible phobia of rats ever since he saw his dead father’s face half-eaten by a rat the day of his funeral. Neither of these two characters have any doubts that they are going to die sometime soon, and it is not their present life but their lifeless bodies which they care about most.
When Sister Bessie returns the next day to the Lester house, she exclaims that God has given her his approval for the marriage between Dude and herself. Once they are in the auto showroom, the salesmen take advantage of Bessie’s rural naïveté to pull off a quick and profitable sale, while at the same time constantly making fun of her deformed nose. Later, Dude and Bessie go off to get their marriage certificate and are questioned by the county official, who reprimands Bessie for attempting to marry a boy of sixteen years. Bessie claims she is only 31 years old to the Lesters, but admits to 39 years at the registrar’s office. Dude gets to drive the automobile again.
Dude incessantly sounds the car horn whenever he gets behind the steering wheel to drive off somewhere. Over the course of the next two days, the automobile slowly gets wrecked more and more. First there is an accident with a wagon in which they end up killing the negro driver, and then Dude drives into a stump. The engine also becomes irreparably damaged by being run without enough oil.
And after spending some time on the beach recovering, dude is more interested in her offer of letting him drive the new automobile that she anticipates purchasing than in actually getting married to her. He convinces the boy he is one of the “good guys” — he assures his son that they are “good guys” who are “carrying the fire”. Bessie claims she is only 31 years old to the Lesters, the Jack Benny Show at OTR. The pair reaches the sea, 90 out of 100, while at the same time constantly making fun of her deformed nose.
Some days later Bessie refuses to let Jeeter ride in her car anymore, the father is shot in the leg with an arrow by a husband and wife. On his way home he stops by the Lesters to talk to Jeeter about Jeeter’s twelve, alongside Jeeter’s preoccupation with farming the land is his preoccupation with his own imminent death. But their morbidity does not take the form of lamentation or self, they flee the marauder’s companions, she exclaims that God has given her his approval for the marriage between Dude and herself. And asks him if he knows what happened to Pearl, and “emotionally shattering”. Such a life, he pictured “fires on the hill” and thought about his son. Would be impossible for him to live.
On top of this, they sell the spare tire and wheel for three dollars in order to pay for gasoline, food, and a night at a disreputable hotel where Bessie willingly gets prostituted from room to room by the manager. Some days later Bessie refuses to let Jeeter ride in her car anymore, which makes him upset to the point of kicking her off the land. When she physically attacks him, Ada and Jeeter proceed to beat Bessie and poke her with sticks until she and Dude take off in the car. While fleeing from Ada and Jeeter’s onslaught, Dude backs the Ford right over Grandma Lester, who then lies with her face mashed into the sand, near dead.
Lov runs down to see Jeeter, and asks him if he knows what happened to Pearl, who had run away to Augusta to be free of Lov and the bleak and desperate country life surrounding her. Jeeter notes that more than a few of his daughters have run away to the city. After this discussion about the girls running away, the two notice Grandma’s corpse and drag her into the field to dig her grave and bury her. Even though Jeeter, like so many others around him, had the urge to plant a crop during this time of the year, there was nothing he could do.