The novel, Raney, wrote by Clyde Edgergton took place in Listre, North Carolina around the mid- 70's. Raney is a novel about a Southern marriage between two totally different people. Throughout this novel one must look out for uncontrollable laughter as the two main characters, Raney and Charles, try to prove their points to one another. The three main characters of this novel are only two physical characters, but portray three separate personalities. The three personalities come from Raney at the beginning, Charles throughout the novel, and Raney at the end of the story.
To begin with, you have Raney at the beginning of the novel. She is a small town girl who was very sheltered by her family growing up. Raney had only been out of Bethel once or twice her whole life. She has no desire to learn new things unless it's coming from her parents. Throughout the novel Raney expects Charles to drop all of his ideas and do things her way. For example, when Charles' mom comes up from Atlanta and wants them to try an Episcopal Church and Raney did not want to go. (64) In Raney's eyes the Free Will Baptist Church is and will be the only church. Another issue Raney had a problem with is racism. The only way Raney had ever viewed black people was through her family's eyes in which they were considered niggers. This became a problem between her and Charles when she discovered one of his best friends from the service was a colored man named Johnny. When she realized this, there was no way Johnny was staying in her house. In Raney's head she has a picture of the way things are suppose to be and if they aren't, they are considered wrong. One example, is on their honeymoon she expects things to be the way her mom had told her. (20) Charles had already messed up when the bottle of champagne was wheeled in. Then things were suppose to be just like her mom had said, " go change into negligee, get in the bed, and let Charles carry out his duties". (22) Raney should have discussed her honeymoon with Charles rather than her mom since it was their night. Raney also has a problem with Charles drinking or for that matter, anyone. Her Uncle Nate is an alcoholic, but he always has been so she just lives with it. (11) As you can see, Raney's character at the beginning has a great influence on the issues described.
Next, we can look at the characterization of Charles throughout the novel. For one, Charles bases a lot of his ideas about life in philosophy rather than on family values. He was also raised in Atlanta, which is large city compared to Listre and Bethel. These aspects of him allow him to want to try new things and experience things out of the ordinary, whereas Raney is quiet content. Charles' friend Johnny is a great example of this. Charles has traveled and seen different places, and has learned to accept different races as he would anyone else. (31) His best friend happens to be a black man and he doesn't see anything wrong with it. Charles also has a respect for privacy and doesn't appreciate anyone else in his business. An example of this would be when Charles got mad at Raney's mom for entering their house when no one was home. (26,27) He also shows a bit of favoritism between the two moms. He doesn't even want Raney's mom in the house if they aren't home, but yet he wants Raney to give up her own bedroom for his mom. (64) Throughout the novel Charles keeps things hidden from Raney. For example, when Raney looked at the gas bill Charles told her it was none of her business. (28) Also, Raney learned that Charles hid his drinking and his magazine collection from her. (212) Another thing about Charles is that he doesn't mind going for outside opinions and suggestions. Charles was the one who set up the visits to the marriage counselor. (160) You can see how Charles' character would conflict with Raney.
Finally, towards the end of the story you can see a