I also note that he did poorly in school, was forever failing subjects, and would blame the schools later for his lack of attention. He did not learn grammar or spelling easily.
Yet he did absorb his father's passion for the correcting of social injustices and for treating blacks equally, certainly an unusual attitude in the south at the time. He became an atheist while his father was a pastor in a rigid religion (yet his father gave him the freedom to decide for himself).
I have not read Tobacco Road or anything else of Caldwell's but now I want to. I should prowl around Leon's to see what is there, as well as to see what of Iris Murdoch I can find.