A Death in the Family is a Pulitzer-Prize winning heavily autobiographical novel by James Agee that was first published in 1957. The novel treats Agee’s recollections of the death of his father and its aftermath in Knoxville, Tennessee, when he was six years old in 1915. Agee was finishing up the novel when he suddenly died of a heart attack in May 1955. David McDowell, Agee’s editor, then finalized the manuscript that was published two years later. A Death in the Family won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1958.


See a complete list of the characters in A Death in the Family and in-depth analyses of Rufus Follet and Mary Follet.

Literary Devices

Here is where you will find analysis of key themes, motifs, and symbols in A Death in the Family.


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Deeper Study

Go further in your study of A Death in the Family by reading background information about James Agee and his autobiographical novel as well as mini essays on key topics.