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Literature / Christy

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Christy is a novel written by Catherine Marshall in 1967. It tells the story of nineteen year-old Christy Huddleston, who leaves her comfortable middle-class life to teach at a missionary school in 1912, in the remote and impoverished Appalachian village of Cutter Gap, Tennessee. Christy is initially daunted by the old-fashioned and superstitious customs of the community, but aided by her faith and determination, she soon learns how to connect with its inhabitants. Other important characters include Alice Henderson, a Quaker who runs the missionary school, David Grantland, a preacher, and Neil MacNeill, a doctor.

A television adaptation was made in 1994, and ran for twenty episodes. Three made-for-TV movies were also produced in 2000-2001. The story was also expanded into a series of books written by C. Archer, starting in 1995.

Provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Lundy's father, Birds-Eye Taylor.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: In a long-term damaging sense. The adults of Cutter Gap refuse any help from the missionaries that they deem as "charity", even if it means their children starve and walk around barefoot in the snow. Fortunately, Christy and the others find a way around this problem by getting them to trade commonplace items for them, such as sauerkraut and molasses, for much needed items that the mission provides.
  • Fish out of Water: Christy when she first comes to Cutter Gap. She barely goes a page or two without something new shocking her sensibilities.
  • Frontier Doctor: Neil MacNeill.
  • Love Triangle:
    • Both David and Neil develop feelings for Christy.
    • The TV series gives us another, between John Spencer, Rob Allen, and Bessie Colburn.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: The families of Christy's students usually fall into this. When Christy first arrives at Cutter Gap, she asks what people raise. The answer? "Young'uns, mostly."
  • The Missionary: A missionary school has been set up at Cutter Gap, and is run mostly by Alice and David.
  • One-Word Title: Protagonist's first name.
  • Preacher Man: David Grantland.
  • Protagonist Title: Full name, Christy Huddleston.
  • Schoolmarm: Christy, who teaches at a missionary school.
  • The Speechless:
    • Mountie O'Teale. It's not clear whether she cannot or will not speak, since her parents don't accept Dr. McNeill's medical treatment.
    • She's more The Voiceless in the TV series, because she does speak at the end of the pilot.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Fairlight Spencer. She is gentle and kind, and very wise for someone who has lived in poverty in the wilderness all her life. She befriends Christy immediately upon the latter's arrival. She also seems to have some sort of clairvoyance, foreseeing her own death as a shadow coming to get her. She is one of the first victims to succumb to the typhoid plague in the latter part of the book.