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The Good Life Study Guide & Plot Summary

This Study Guide consists of approximately 36 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Good Life.
This section contains 454 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The Good Life Study Guide

The Good Life Summary & Study Guide Description

The Good Life Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on The Good Life by Scott Nearing.

Plot Summary

Scott and Helen Nearing decide that they want to leave their New York lifestyle for the simpler life—what they call the "Good Life"—in rural Vermont. They put their hearts and souls into the endeavor, spending a great deal of time and energy creating a farming operation of which they are proud. They study and learn along the way, constructing the necessary buildings of stone and establishing good gardening practices that result in their ability to grow the majority of their food. As they search for a way to make the cash necessary to pay for those things they cannot raise or barter for, they discover the art of making syrup from trees on their property. Over the years, they earn enough money to expand their farm, establish themselves firmly in the syrup industry so that they are able to pay taxes, buy gas for their car and outlay the cash for cement and other building supplies unavailable from their land.

During their years in Vermont, they also seek to establish a cooperative community base from which the entire community will benefit. A sawmill, syrup packaging and other enterprises are on the minds of Scott and Helen Nearing, but the community never fully comes on board and the efforts all fall by the wayside. As their farm continues to develop, the Nearings find themselves in the middle of an effort to develop a ski resort in the region and their farm comes to the attention of many of the vacationers. As the visitors multiply, Helen and Scott come to the conclusion that they must move to another, more remote area that has not yet fallen victim to the tourist industry. They choose Maine and move onto a rundown farm to start over in 1952. Here they learn that blueberries can be a cash crop and, against professional advice, introduce hybrids that fund the necessities that the Nearings cannot produce for themselves, such as gas for their car.

Over the next decades, the couple plans and executes a series of building projects that include a house built of stone and a pond built on a large, swampy section of land using only hand tools and manual labor. There are some visitors who want to learn about their way of life and the Nearings help those who seem earnest in their quest for knowledge.

Through it all, their personal desire for new knowledge and their belief that their work should benefit more than just themselves drives the Nearings to greater heights. As they pass retirement age, they continue their work and their healthy lifestyles, choosing vegetables fresh from their gardens over processed foods, avoiding caffeine, tobacco and other drugs, and living as if they expect good health.

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This section contains 454 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The Good Life Study Guide
Copyrights
The Good Life 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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