Up Country
In his novel Up Country, Alden R. Carter writes about how hard life is for
children in the adolescent era by portraying the actions off Carl Staggers, a
teenager surviving his mothers alcoholism and his car radio thief ring gone to
disarray. Carl is a tragic hero who rambles through this time period by trying
to make things right. He is also accompanied by characters close to him as the
novel progresses. Carl is a young man with great hopes and dreams to become an
electrical engineer. The problem is that he and his mother are deeply in debt,
and Veronica Staggers, Carlís mother, is an alcoholic who is brought home by
the cops almost every week. Carl has the bright idea to use an opportunity that
arose to earn money to go to a good technical college and earn a degree in
electrical engineering. In this little opportunity, Carl repairs stolen stereos
that he receives from his partner in crime, changes the serial number, and
places the stereo into a company box for resale. Although this seems like the
perfect crime, something goes terribly wrong with his admirable plan and Carl
gets busted for the radios along with all of the other juveniles helping him.

Ironically he was busted for the car audio equipment because of his mother who
was thrown in a detox center for her alcohol abuse. Therefore, Carl was sent"up country" to stay with his aunt, uncle, and cousin whom he hasnít seen
for a little over eight years. Thatís when all of the trouble starts,
including a run in with the local redneck bully and his girlfriend. On a good
note while staying with his secondary family, he meets a wonderful country girl
with whom he ultimately stays with instead of going back to live with his
mother, who cleans her self up and moves on with her life. Carl is sentenced to
public work and is basically let off easy on the condition that he stay in
school and earn that electrical degree. The theme of this story is that even the
most least likely person can get what they long for. Carl had always yearned for
a stable family. When he was busted and was forced to move in with his aunt and
uncle he, at first, dreaded the idea. He was moving in with a family he hadnít
seen for eight years! As things moved on, Carl formed a niche in the little town
of Blind River. He formed a relationship with his new family and found a girl
that he learned to love. In the novella Up Country, examples of irony, a tragic
character, and the stereotyped character. Carlís cousin Bob who shows the
traits of the conventional red-neck, the buck-tooth, improper English, yokel,
where Carl himself shows the typical characteristics of the tragic hero. A hero,
who through his own choice, was caught up an a series of events that invariably
results in disaster. In my opinion this was a great book for any teenager to
read. Most teenagers feel that their life is poor, weak, and pathetic, but if
only they could take a look at Carlís life they could see how hard life can
sometimes be. Carl is an exceptional student who works hard for his goals, but
he knows he will never reach them because of his home and family. Also most
adolescents feel they need to take the wrong path to get what they want. Carl
took the wrong path and he ended up with a good and stable family, a girlfriend,
and a hope to reach is goal. So I say take the wrong path and maybe you could
end up with what Carl had. All things considered, Carl had an extremely hard
life with his alcoholic mother. But as you will see, when he got away from her
he matured and grew emotionally. He essentially got everything he prayed and
wished for. Consider this, if you were in Carlís shoes, what would you do?

What path would you take?