A terrible lynching viewed in the character’s youth colours the whole of her life. Feelings of horror and guilt for keeping silent dominate a life every waking moment. Today we would diagnose PTSD. It is a life frozen in time.
This links to the theme of forgiveness. We need to forgive ourselves and others. “I could follow that root of bitterness still deeper.” If bitterness takes hold, it is hard to shake it off. We must forgive.
Feelings of loneliness and isolation are explored within the novel.