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The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

Dr. Beaman, English 1302

About the Book

1936. Tucked deep into the woods of Troublesome Creek, KY, lives blue-skinned Cussy Carter, the last living female of the rare Blue People ancestry. She joins Roosevelt's Pack Horse Library Project of Kentucky and becomes a traveling librarian, riding across slippery creek beds and up treacherous mountains on her mule to deliver books and other reading material to the impoverished hill people of Eastern Kentucky. Along her route, Cussy faces doubters at every turn, but is  determined to bring the joy of books to the hardscrabble Kentuckians. 

Assignment, Themes and Topics

  • Based on some idea or theme from The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, write a research-based paper of at least 1500 words, or 4-5 pages, excluding the Works Cited page. This paper MUST follow MLA format in all regards.
  • The topic is up to you, but is should address how some idea or theme in the novel relates to the present day. In other words, this is NOT a book review or literary criticism. This paper is not about the novel; it is inspired by the novel. The essay should include references to the novel and how it is relevant to the topic of the essay. However, you will reference the novel in your final essay.
  • You will be using a total of 4 sources for your assignment.
    • The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is 1 source.
    • 1 source from a .gov or .edu website.
    • 2 sources from the research databases or credible books, magazines, or newspapers.

General Topics:

  • Poverty today and eating what the land provides
  • Fire Towers and management of Forest Fires today
  • Abilities of animals to predict danger
  • Homeopathic medicine and home remedies
  • Laws to protect people in medical research
  • Coal vs. Clean energy

These, however, are general topics that must be narrowed and focused to create a thesis. For example, a topic turned into a thesis may look like one of these samples: 

  • Even though people in poverty have more food resources than were available in 1936, the recent job losses caused by COVID have made some people resourceful in finding food sources, such as sharing recipes for wild hog, because food is more expensive than ever. 
  • Even though most fire towers are no longer manned by people and are using technology, some fire towers still use older methods because these methods work.
  • Although some people use homeopathic medicines and swear by the benefits of essential oils, herbal medicines are not regulated by the FDA and can be dangerous to use.
  • Even though the abuses of the coal industry to people and the environment are numerous, clean energy faces difficulties in replacing this long-standing fuel source because of government regulations.


  • Father/Daughter Relationship
  • Poverty
  • Hardships of Mine Workers
  • Neighbor Helping Neighbor
  • Absence of Assistance Programs for the Poor
  • Racism/Prejudice
  • Interracial Relationships
  • Kindness to Neighbors
  • Isolated Environment and Living
  • Survival
  • Hope
  • Literacy
  • Plight of Children
  • Distrust of Authority
  • Legacy of Generational Poverty

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