Larry Cook vs King Lear (FIXED)
Jane Smiley makes A Thousand Acres directly parallel to the well-known tragedy King
Lear by William Shakespeare. Each father gives his daughters land due to a major interest, but
the consequences of this decision drives him mad. In addition, the characters also echo the story
in some way. Larry Cook and King Lear, the patriarchs of each family, are the most notable
characters. However, these patriarchs contrast on key issues. Smiley makes Larry Cook
contemporary by making the novel in the slightly more modern set of a small farm in Zebulon
County, Iowa, therefore, resulting in the characters being related to modern discussions and
Between Smiley's A Thousand Acres and Shakespeare's King Lear, the reader will find
that both works use similar character types that mirror each other to increase further the
similarities and meaning of the creations. Perhaps, no similarity is as appealing as that of the
fathers. Some characteristics between the fathers connect them and make their parallels
unmistakable. The most obvious is that they are both proprietors of a large land. King Lear's
property consists of England while Larry Cook's property is a farm of a thousand acres in Iowa.
This land brings the primary conflicts of the two works into focus. Before their decision of
dividing the land, both men are revered and respected. Their social status has brought them
honor, only up to the point where the fathers seek to divide their land. After that, things take a
turn for the worse. As it relates to Lear, he divides the kingdom between his three daughters.
The different characterization of Lear in King Lear and Larry in A Thousand Acres,
results in a...