This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Covert Control In Jane Smiley's A Thousand Acres

754 words - 3 pages

Covert Control in A Thousand Acres

 

Though there are instances of overt control and destruction performed by the patriarchy upon both women and nature, the most pervasive forms the Apollonian controlling impulse takes, are covert. What Ginny says about Larry, also goes for the system of which he is the ultimate signifier: "I feel like there's treacherous undercurrents all the time. I think I'm standing on solid ground, but then I discover that there's something moving underneath it, shifting from place to place."(104).

The most striking example of this, is of course the secret of the incest. But throughout the novel, there is an interplay of social imperatives and individual expression, a power struggle of discourses. This struggle is hidden under a shiny hard surface maintained by patriarchal control, as when Jess left for Canada to avoid the draft and "slipped into the category of the unmentionable" (6), or in Ty's own desires having to be "camouflaged with smiles and hopes and patience" until he becomes his own mask; "casting no shadow, radiating no heat" (306).

As signified by the motif of the tiles, and its many metaphoric implications, the community that Ginny lives in, especially her family, is ruled by a network of masks concealing the real motivations of people. For Ginny, this is even internalized into her understanding of her own body as layered with meaning:

I seemed, on the surface, to be continually talking to myself, giving myself instructions or admonishments, asking myself what I really wanted, making comparisons, busily working my rational faculties over every aspect of Jess and my feelings for him as if there were actually something to decide. Beneath this voice, flowing more sweetly, was the story: what he did and what I did and what he then did and what I did after that, seductive, dreamy, mostly wordless, renewing itself ceaselessly, then projecting itself into impossible futures that wore me out. And beneath this was an animal, a dog living in me, shaking itself, jumping, barking, attacking, gobbling at things the way a dog gulps its food.(172)

The surface is the many imperatives issued by her father and the system he represents: didactic force...

Find Another Essay On Covert Control in Jane Smiley's A Thousand Acres

The Effects of a Family Breakup in "A Thousand Acres"

1340 words - 5 pages Jane Smiley uses the characters' changing personalities and attitudes in A Thousand Acres to demonstrate the major effect the break up of a family can have on people. Many of the characters change through the novel with some becoming more insular and others becoming more outspoken. One of the main people to change in the novel is Ginny. However she still has one major factor that remains throughout the novel - she worries about people. In

King Lear and A Thousand Acres Comparative Literary Analysis

1819 words - 8 pages returned. In conclusion, both King Lear and A Thousand Acres are similar,in which they both communicate similar views on; the status of women in family as well as in society, family order, and the natural order of the universe. Women are submissive in both works, but can be considered dangerous when they receive power they have long been denied. Fathers are often the head of the household and when another person gains control of things too

Juxtaposing Goneril and Ginny from King Lear & A Thousand Acres

1769 words - 7 pages angry with him because of his inadequate parenting and downright abuse. All in all, Smiley added new life to Shakespeare’s ancient storyline from his play, King Lear, in building upon his characters and their behaviours in her modern day novel, A Thousand Acres. Works Cited Smiley, Jane. A Thousand Acres. New York, USA: Knopf, 1992. Print. 04/01/2014 Shakespeare, William. King Lear. New York, USA: Signet Classic, 1998. Print. 04/01/2014

Endurance: Hidden in A Thousand Splendid Suns

1355 words - 6 pages Indulging the plot into the political and social situation of Afghanistan at the time, Hosseini profoundly incorporates a strikingly realistic theme into the novel and expands the outreach of his ideas to the extent that they can be applied to the present-day state of affairs. In A Thousand Splendid Suns, the lives of the women, men, and children presented are derived and driven by the customs and traditions that root from the country’s

Women and Resilience in Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns

2843 words - 11 pages Afghan-born American novelist and physician Khaled Hosseini’s second bestselling novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns, written in 2007, is set in “war-ravaged landscape of Afghanistan”, and it focuses on the tumultuous lives and relationship of Mariam and Laila. In contrast to Hosseini’s The Kite Runner, which is a story of “father-son relationship”, this novels is regarded as “mother-daughter story” by the author himself. The novel relates the

Control in a Clinical Trial

1423 words - 6 pages The gold standard for a clinical trial design is the inclusion of a control. A control could be a placebo, active or no treatment. Clinicians use controls in order to give more power for their studies. A placebo control is a vehicle without the active ingredient. The main purpose of using a placebo in clinical trials is to differentiate the background noise from the actual effect of the treatment drug. Regulatory agencies prefer or favor trials

Mantaining Control in a Nation

979 words - 4 pages Power and truth play different but equal roles in maintaining control in a nation. Modern societies create regimes of truth that are enforced by power structures such as government, discipline and laws. When it comes to power, the government, queen or dictator is in charge. They tell their citizens what the main expectations are and how to abide by them. Nevertheless, the government should uphold fairness and not abuse its power unless it is

Lessona to be Learned in A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

1859 words - 8 pages Lessons to be Learned in A Thousand Splendid Suns A powerful, moving, eye opening novel is what should be taught in the grade 12 curriculum. A Thousand Splendid Suns written by Khaled Hosseini is just that. It is an incredible novel which gives students a better understanding of the 4U course. Firstly, the author explores literacy devices which illustrates effectively and is applicable for the 4U student and their journey to post

A Thousand Hills to Heaven by Josh Ruxin Shows God Sleeps in Rwanda

2430 words - 10 pages The saying “God sleeps in Rwanda” is often voiced by the people of Rwanda. Some, when speaking, mean that God comes to rest in in their country because of its high altitude and abundance of hills. The majority, however, sincerely mean that God works everywhere else in the world, except for Rwanda. After years of genocide, ethnic tension, and extreme poverty, this sentiment is understandable. A Thousand Hills to Heaven, written by Josh Ruxin in

The Ideal Mother in A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

900 words - 4 pages What does an ideal mother do? In the novel A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini, the ideal of mother is described. In the story two mothers, Nana and Mariam, are showed as the model of a perfect mother. Through Nana and Mariam, Hosseini shows that an ideal mother must be willing to sacrifice, must do her best to ensure their children’s survival, and be able to utilize tough love. Throughout the book both moms are constantly sacrificing

Deleuze and Guatarri discussion of the Rhizome in "A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia"

1121 words - 4 pages In the introductory essay of their book "A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia", Deleuze and Guatarri introduce a new conceptual model they call "The Rhizome." An idea which at first is difficult to grasp yet is very descriptive of many real-life systems. A rhizome is a network of interconnected points that "can be connected to anything other, and must be" as such, it varies "from ramified surface extension in all directions to

Similar Essays

Jane Smiley's "A Thousand Acres." Essay

706 words - 3 pages Jane Smiley's "A Thousand Acres" tells a dark tale of a corrupt patriarchalsociety which operates through concealment. It is a story in which the charactersattempt to manipulate one another through the secrets they possess and thesubsequent revelation of those secrets. In her novel, Smiley gives us a verysimple moral regarding this patriarchal society: women who remain financially andemotionally dependent on men decay; those able to break the

Jane Smiley's "A Thousand Acres" Essay

617 words - 2 pages with their grief was very different, there ways did have at least one main similarity, Ginny and Rose never dealt with their grief. There grief ate away at both of them until the day Rose died. Rose's anger never allowed her to be completely happy and Ginny's denial prevented Ginny from ever knowing who she truly was. By not dealing with their misfortune both Ginny and Rose suffered far more than if they had just dealt with their pain. A Thousand Acres teaches us that life is to short and precious to waste in anger or denial. That we must live life to the fullest, for before we know it we might not have the chance.

"A Thousand Acres" Analysis: Jane Smiley's Folly Why Rewrites Are A Bad Idea

904 words - 4 pages In Jane Smiley's "A Thousand Acres", the main focus is one of the family and familial relationships. Smiley presents what at first seems to be a typical American farm family, but is quickly revealed to be anything but. Her message is quite clear (since she stole it from Shakespeare); love in its very nature is something one cannot measure, attempting to do so can only lead to disaster. However, Smiley has put a new spin on the love involved in

Comparing Jane Smiley's A Thousand Acres And William Shakespeare's King Lear

2163 words - 9 pages Comparing Jane Smiley's A Thousand Acres and William Shakespeare's King Lear Jane Smiley's novel A Thousand Acres is a modern version of William Shakespeare's King Lear.  The tragic ideas brought out by King Lear are revisited in A Thousand Acres both containing universal themes in which societies from past to present can identify with.  Tragedy is a form of drama that depicts the suffering of a heroic individual who is often overcome by