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Literary Precedents for A Thousand Acres

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Literary Precedents

Besides King Lear (1608), A Thousand Acres builds on precedents going back to the local color movement of the nineteenth century, in which writers like Hamlin Garland and Willa Gather chronicled the efforts of pioneers, often immigrants, to bring the midwestern prairies under cultivation, and the emotional, financial, and physical price many paid for developing this vast agricultural breadbasket. Later writers like Frank Norris, Theodore Dreiser, Sinclair Lewis, Sherwood Anderson, and Edgar Lee Masters showed how even after the farms and communities were established, frustrations arose among the descendants of the first generation. Business cycles, geographic isolation, weather fluctuations, and cultural narrowness limited full development.

Equally important is Smiley's larger theme of the transfer of power from one generation to another. Drawing upon Shakespeare's King Lear in which Lear, the father of three daughters, subdivides his kingdom, Smiley shows the disastrous consequences for all involved when such a decision...

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This section contains 237 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Purchase our A Thousand Acres Study Guide
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A Thousand Acres from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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