I lived for several years not long ago in a rural area of New York State which in some ways is not dissimilar to Appalachian or Ozarkian lifestyles and worldviews. There too was and is a multi-generational pattern of very hard work, not much money, not wonderful education and, oftentimes, early relationships and pregnancies. In my time there I came to know several of these families very well, and counted them as friends. What did they have? Love. In the families I knew, there was generosity, hospitality, warmth, straightforwardness, and love. If they liked you (which meant, if they knew you weren't going to stare down your nose at them and run them down behind their backs) their kindness was boundless. You cannot visit without being offered a meal. Yes, a meal made in a ratty trailer. A great meal. Notice how often the late Kenneth Rhoden (Gary's father) and Leonard Manley characterized family members as people who would "give you the shirt off their back". This code of generosity matters absolutely to families such as these. The generational early relationships and pregnancies are troubling to outsiders, for many legitimate reasons: what about education, we might ask. What about their futures, health, money, furthering themselves, getting out, breaking the cycles. All valid questions to ask. After all, all of our children become a part of the collective society eventually. But within families such as those I knew, there was a fatalism, an acceptance, and a depthless joy in every new family member. It can all seem, from the outside, irresponsible, cavalier, rash. But in my own experience there's more to it. In this utterly Shakespearean drama between the Rhodens and the Wagners, what for me surmounts all is an overwhelming sense that the Rhodens love(d) each other, and that the Wagners are empty - incapable of love, even for one another.