Butchering Time

Newman, Carol

Primary Category: Literature / Fiction

Genre: Short Story

Annotated by:
Squier, Harriet
  • Date of entry: Oct-07-1997


Cora is a fourteen year old girl who lives in Oklahoma, probably during the early part of this century. She has had to assume the work of child and home care after the death of her mother earlier in the year. As she learns these new tasks she compares herself to her mother.

Her worst fear is of butchering time, when she has to hear the squeals of the pig being butchered and smell the fat as it is made into lye soap. After she carries food to her father and brothers in the field, her father pursues her and rapes her, telling her she is the woman in the family now. At the end of the story, butchering time is no longer her greatest fear.


This story is short and powerful. Although set in a more distant time, the events are not improbable for the current day.


First published as "Cora's vision" (Live Writers! Local on Tap, Vol 1, No.2, 1980)

Primary Source

I Am Becoming the Woman I've Wanted


Papier Mache

Place Published

Watsonville, Calif.




Sandra Haldeman Martz

Page Count