Praying for Sheetrock by Melissa Fay Greene is the recount of McIntosh County citizen’s lives during the 1970s. The two focal characters with power are McIntosh’s Sheriff Tom Poppell and Thurnell Alston. Throughout the novel Greene illustrates the link between a persons’ strive for power and their strong political influence. Greene also outlines the burdens that the black community endured until they ultimately earned a spot for Thurnell as County Commission. As a poor black man, Thurnell’s ultimate undoing was his failure to acknowledge his limitations and instead always tried to exceed the black community’s expectations. Even though the black community fights for equal representation and their civil rights, they are not the main…show more content… Only a few people controlled the county and they had utilized their time ensuring “that as a race [they] should stay in [their] place” as one black citizen put it. Even though the black community had power in their numbers, the white community “managed all the businesses… and they filled every professional office”. Civil Rights activists were looked up to but the thought of equal representation was not possible at the time in Darien until March of 1972. The black community soon found its breakthrough in their fight for civil rights when the racial barrier was violently crossed one night. It would still take time for their voices to be truly heard from someone who did not fall under the influence of Sheriff Tom Poppell.
After his father’s passing Tom Poppell was able to secure his thirty- one year reign as sheriff and rule the county with a strong iron fist. His endless rule allowed him the opportunity to exert “his will and shape the county” the way he imagined in order to keep both races separate. The thrill for power over the county was the sole motivator in his line of work. He worked on his own time, lived by his own law, and McIntosh’s citizens acknowledged his dominance by stating “’you weren’t scared when you saw him coming, but you could feel the power’” when he was nearby. This power is without a doubt evident and it is the reason the majority of the citizens’ idolized Poppell.
The power he receives from the town’s people constantly