Please wait while we process your payment
If you don't see it, please check your spam folder. Sometimes it can end up there.
Don’t have an account?
Create Your Account
Sign up for your FREE 7-day trial
Already have an account? Log in
Choose Your Plan
$4.99/month + tax
$24.99/year + tax
Save over 50% with a SparkNotes PLUS Annual Plan!
for a group?
Get Annual Plans at a discount when you buy 2 or more!
$18.74 /subscription + tax
Subtotal $37.48 + tax
on 2-49 accounts
on 50-99 accounts
Want 100 or more?
for a customized plan.
You'll be billed after your free trial ends.
7-Day Free Trial
Renews December 14, 2023
December 7, 2023
Discounts (applied to next billing)
This is not a valid promo code.
(one code per order)
Annual Plan - Group Discount
SparkNotes Plus subscription is $4.99/month or $24.99/year as selected above. The free trial period is the first 7 days of your subscription. TO CANCEL YOUR SUBSCRIPTION AND AVOID BEING CHARGED, YOU MUST CANCEL BEFORE THE END OF THE FREE TRIAL PERIOD. You may cancel your subscription on your Subscription and Billing page or contact Customer Support at email@example.com. Your subscription will continue automatically once the free trial period is over. Free trial is available to new customers only.
For the next 7 days, you'll have access to awesome PLUS stuff like AP English test prep, No Fear Shakespeare translations and audio, a note-taking tool, personalized dashboard, & much more!
You’ve successfully purchased a group discount. Your group members can use the joining link below to redeem their group membership. You'll also receive an email with the link.
Members will be prompted to log in or create an account to redeem their group membership.
Thanks for creating a SparkNotes account! Continue to start your free trial.
Your PLUS subscription has expired
Olive Ann Burns was born in
Banks County, Georgia, in 1924.
Burns attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and
began a career as a journalist after graduating. Burns worked as
a staff writer for the Sunday magazine of the Atlanta Journal
and Constitution from 1947 to 1957.
From 1960 to 1967,
she authored an advice column called “Ask Amy” for
a local newspaper, using the pseudonym Amy Larkin. After being diagnosed
with cancer in 1976,
Burns began her first novel, Cold Sassy Tree. The
novel, which was published in 1984,
took almost nine years to complete. Upon its publication, the novel
was both a critical and a commercial success. In 1989,
Turner Network Television released a film version of Cold
Sassy Tree starring Faye Dunaway and Neil Patrick Harris.
Of her career and upbringing, Burns once said, “It has
been said that growing up in the South and becoming a writer is
like spending your life riding in a wagon, seated in a chair that
is always facing backwards. I don’t face life looking backwards,
but I have written about past times and past people.” Tales of the
past make up Cold Sassy Tree, and Burns models
these tales on stories from her own life. Although Cold
Sassy Tree is not a biographical account of Burns’s own
family, Burns draws upon the colorful history and idiosyncrasies
of her father and his family to evoke Georgia at the beginning of
the twentieth century. Burns said of the writing of Cold
Sassy Tree, “What I was after was not just names and dates.
I wanted stories and details that would bring the dead to life.”
Will Tweedy, the protagonist of Cold Sassy Tree, bears
many things in common with Burns’s father, William Arnold Burns.
William Arnold Burns was the grandson of the owner of the general
store in Commerce, Georgia; Will Tweedy is the grandson of the owner
of the general store in Cold Sassy, Georgia. Will Tweedy is fourteen
years old in 1906,
just as William Burns was. Burns loosely based the character Rucker
on her great-grandfather, and she modeled the fictional town Cold Sassy
on her hometown, Commerce.
Following the unexpected popularity of Cold Sassy
Tree, Burns found herself flooded with mail requesting
a sequel to the novel. In 1987,
Burns underwent a second round of chemotherapy, which led to congestive
heart failure and left her bedridden for more than a year. In February 1988,
Burns began to dictate the sequel to Cold Sassy Tree, which
she planned to title Time, Dirt and Money. In this second
novel, Burns intended to base the story on her parents’ life and
marriage during the Great Depression. The manuscript was unfinished
at the time of her death on July 4, 1990,
but the completed chapters, together with Burns’s notes, were published
in 1992 as Leaving
Ace your assignments with our guide to Cold Sassy Tree!