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A Thousand Acres - Summary

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A Thousand Acres - Summary

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Major Works Study Form
AP Question 3

Title: A Thousand AcresAuthor: Jane Smiley
Biographical Information:
Jane Smiley was born in Los Angeles, California and later moved to Missouri, where she went to school until college. She went to Art at Vassar College, and then traveled around Europe where she worked on an archeological dig. She returned to America and became a teacher. She had two daughters and a son.

Author’s Style:
The author’s style is used to display the mysterious and unsettling feeling in the novel. The book is told from the point of view of Ginny. The rape from the father keeps the tone of the book very disturbing and solemn because Jess and Rose want to keep their sister Caroline free of the problems they had to grow up dealing with.

Plot Summary:
The plot of this book completely parallels Shakespeare’s play “King Lear”. Larry Cook acts as the King of the novel, and he runs the farm. He has three daughters, Ginny, Rose, and Caroline. In the beginning of the novel, Ginny thinks about the intersection and about the road overall where the farm was. Larry King wants love from his daughters to decide in how he should split up his farm. Ginny and Rose are sexually abused in the novel, but the youngest daughter, Caroline does not partake in this absurd scheme, and becomes a lawyer. She marries another lawyer and lives in Des Moines. Larry is respected by his neighbors and takes on the role of being the advisor but then retires for his children to fill his place. Caroline is cut out of the fathers will because he does not think that he is grateful for everything he has already given to her. Ginny and Rose have to take care of their father Larry, and deal with his rude behavior of drunk driving and wasting his money. Larry goes insane and one day runs out into a storm. The family has to go about their lives trying to cover up their family problems from the public, to make it seem like they are just another normal family....

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