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The story opens with Ruby Turpin entering a doctor's waiting room with her husband Claud who has been kicked by a cow. As she and Claud wait, she takes hard stock of the other people in the room. There was some white-trash, a "red- headed youngish woman" who was not white-trash, just common, a well-dressed, pleasant looking lady, and her daughter, an ill-mannered ugly girl in Girl Scout shoes with heavy socks who was reading …

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showed last 75 words of 855 total
…her white cotton gloves and pins "a purple spray of cloth violets containing a sachet to her neckline"; as her interior monologue tells us, "In case of an accident anyone seeing her dead on the highway would know at once that she was a lady." And the thought is grimly prophetic. Badgered into traveling down a rutted dirt road that the grandmother mistakenly thinks will lead to an old plantation, they do have an accident.