The Color of Lightning
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". . .a reminder of the dark side of human nature . . ."
The year is 1863, and the “War Between the States” has ended, sending many freed slaves away from their homes in the South. Such is the case of Britt Johnson and his family in the novel The Color of Lightning by best-selling author Paulette Jiles.
Britt Johnson and family move from Kentucky to Texas, leaving their shackled pasts behind only to find themselves in the midst of another war. They become caught between the Comanche and Kiowa and the “civilized” men who try to take away Indian lands and oppress the native people and change their culture.
The Color of Lightning presents a fictitious, yet plausible, reality of people living during that time. Through the capture of Britt Johnson’s family by the Comanche and Kiowa, Jiles teaches us that the real “savages” of that war were the men who believed their way of living was the only way. Oppression and control spurred violence, murder and grief, resulting in one group believing they were superior.
Bravo to Paulette Jiles for depicting a time in America’s not-so-distant past. Her work is a reminder of the dark side of human nature that rears its head when jealousy and greed get in the way.
Reviewer: Angela Garner McCabe