Monday, March 4, 2013

The Calendar Year

From March through June, while the cotton is being cultivated, they live on the rations money.
From July to late August, while the cotton is making, they live however they can.
From late August through October or into November, during the picking and ginning season, they live on the money from their share of the cottonseed.
From then on until March, they live on whatever they have earned in the year, or however they can.
During six to seven months of each year, then -- that is, during exactly such time as their labor with the cotton is of absolute necessity to the landlord -- they can be sure of whatever living is possible in rations advances and in cottonseed money.
During five to six months of the year, of which three are the hardest months of any year, with the worst of weather, the least adequacy of shelter, the worst and least of food, the worst of health, quite normal and inevitable, they can count on nothing except that they may hope least of all for any help from their landlords.
--James Agee, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, p. 102-103

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