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I value Praying . . . particularly because it conveys ambiguity; it transcends the naive illusions of “good” and “bad” people.  It counters such myths by presenting real people with complicated and inconsistent natures: “good” people caught up in impossible circumstances, and “bad” people being generous.  Contrasting the complexities of real people with the idealized constructs of others, attorney David Walbert, looks back across the years and says:
    I now realize that I—that we—idealized the black civil rights people.  They represented something we were looking for, but they were regular human beings.  They were real people, and real people are imperfect. (287)
     At the same time it works relentlessly to represent life accurately, creative nonfiction admits imaginative treatment of its material.  In order to characterize the place, Greene’s imaginative storytelling takes liberties that conventional nonfiction would not allow:
  . . . from the pine woods comes the high, continuous growl of a buzz saw, and on the dirt roads crows pace and argue.  If the Messiah did arrive today, the old black people of McIntosh would be the least astonished group in America.  They might send a young person to go look, and those with telephones might call their daughters, but the rest would remain in their upholstered rockers . . . and wait to be called upon Personally. . . . [offering] a dozen more amenities until the Guest has had a moment to look around and have a sip of tea.  Then there would come the complaints: “Did y’all have to cause my Raymond to lose that job back in ‘81?  You know he was fixing to change his habits, and he never did make good after that”—the big women aproned, standing, hands on hips; the men shushing them, embarrassed, but swinging around to hear the reply nonetheless.  “Excuse me, Lord, but my old Buick only had eighty thousand miles on it.  You couldn’t have given me another year out of it?”
     The old people of McIntosh County have lived on close, practical and well-understood terms with God all their lives. . . .  If a messenger of God were to appear on their porch one morning, there’d be no awkwardness of address, no groping for greetings of sufficient splendor . . . and no exaggerated prostration either: “Gertie?!  Angel of the Lord’s here!”  (27-28)
Such characterization in this brand of storytelling distinguishes between truth and fact.  Nonfactual does not necessarily mean untruthful.  Then too, years after events, it is often necessary to reconstruct or invent dialogue in order to dramatize events.  Greene’s method is spirited storytelling; if this same story were retold in conventional documentary form and measured against Greene’s book, it would seem impoverished.
     This story is driven by powerful characterization of people and place.  So events seem to flow with inevitability, and it needs very little abstract summarizing.  What explication there is is short and tight reiteration, as in the following.  After newly-elected Mayor Sumner fires the seven blacks on the Darien city payroll (six sanitation workers and a cop), hundreds of local blacks crowd into city hall, pressing officials to reinstate the men:
     Viewing the scene from across the street—for it was a city tumult again, not directly implicating the county— Sheriff Poppell was overheard to remark: ‘Goddamn Sumner’s gone and let the monkeys out of the cage again.’
     The monkeys surely were out of the cage again, but with a difference: this time they had their lawyers with them.(199)
—a rare, cogent summary.
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