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

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 economic and emotionalchains develop as women and as hum ans.Roots of "A Thousand Acres" can be seen in numerous novels and plays, themost obvious of which is King Lear. The parallels are too great to ignore.Smiley is successful because she fills in so many of the gaps left open in theplay. She gives us new an d different perspectives.One of the particular strengths of the novel lies in its depiction of theplace of women in a predominantly patriarchal culture. In this male dominatedculture, the values privileged in women include silence and subordination. Ginnyis acceptable as a woman as long as she remains "oblivious" (121). She is allowedto disagree with men, contingent upon her doing so without fighting (104).Ultimately, her opinion as a woman remains irrelevant. Ginny remarks, "of courseit was silly to talk about 'my po int of view.' When my father asserted his pointof view, mine vanished" (176). When she makes the "mistake" of crossing herfather, she is referred to as a "bitch," "whore," and "slut" (181, 185).It could be argued that many of the male characters in the novel aresuffering from a type of virgin/whore syndrome. As long as the women remaindocile receptacles they are "good"; when they resist or even question masculineauthority, they are "bad." Rose complains, "When we are good girls and accept ourcircumstances, we're glad about it....When we are bad girls, it drives us crazy"(99). The women have been indoctrinated to the point that they initially buy intoand accept these standards of judgem ent. The type of patriarchy described bySmiley simply serves to show the inscription of the marginalization of women bymen in the novel and in our society.Another strength of the novel is its treatment of secrets and appearances.Like characters in a Lewis or...

Find Another Essay On 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 King Lear, a tragedy by William Shakespeare, is about the delegation of power from the old generation to the young, new generation. Furthermore, the play demonstrates problems that can arise from a transfer made too early, from one generation to the next. A Thousand Acres is a modern retelling of King Lear, that is similar to King Lear, but it is not an exact word for word copy. The overall plot has been retained from King Lear, but some of the

Juxtaposing Goneril and Ginny from King Lear & A Thousand Acres

1769 words - 7 pages Jane Smiley’s novel, A Thousand Acres, is a bold, modern day response paralleling William Shakespeare’s play, King Lear through both plot and characterization choices. King Lear is based on a King’s difficult decision of dividing his precious kingdom between his daughters, whose names are Goneril, Regan, and Cordelia. Likewise, A Thousand Acres centres around Larry Cook regretfully signing his land to his daughters Ginny, Rose, and Caroline

Comparison between the characters Larry Cook & King Lear - English 4 Honors - Essay

568 words - 3 pages Ricardo Piovezan Mr. Correale 01/08/18 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

Title: The "Normal" Family

879 words - 4 pages . Even if this may not be the "normal" family as portrayed by the Ozzie and Harriet show, this is "normal" in today's society, and will most likely continue to be "normal" until "millions of years" of evolution "redesign our basic regenerative mechanics, transforming us into another species all together" (499).Just as Shield's shows today's family far from the traditional view, Jane Smiley's article "Why Do We Marry?" comes to the conclusion that

Huckleberry Finn And Uncle Tom's Cabin: Response To Jane Smiley's Essay

684 words - 3 pages properly and his overuse of the word "nigger". Despite her arguments it is quite clear that The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is worthy of being taught to students because it conveys a deeper meaning of slavery than Smiley's intended replacement, Uncle Tom's Cabin. One of Jane Smiley's main arguments is that Harriet Beecher Stowe, in Uncle Tom's Cabin, more effectively battles the issue of slavery than does Mark Twain. Yet as we look into

A Woman's Role on a Patriarchal Family Farm

1374 words - 5 pages articles were Jack Temple Kirby’s Rural Culture in the American Middle West: Jefferson to Jane Smiley, Marina Leslie’s Incest, Incorporation, and King Lear in Jane Smiley’s a Thousand Acres and Kelley J. Hall’s Putting the Pieces Together: Using Jane Smiley’s A Thousand Acres in Sociology of Families. Leslie and Hall spend a lot of time focusing on the family and gender aspects of the novel. Hall’s in particular, as can be inferred from the title

Shakespearean Comedy versus Tragedy: Challenging the Patriarchy in King Lear and The Taming of the Shrew - Lit 519 - Final Paper

3999 words - 16 pages Regan receive far more contempt than they deserve. For instance, Jane Smiley’s 1992 retelling of King Lear, entitled A Thousand Acres, presents the two eldest daughters in a more positive light, for today’s audiences. She claims: I’d always felt the way Lear was presented to me was wrong. Without being able to articulate why, I thought Goneril and Regan got the short end of the stick. There had to be some reason his daughters were so angry

Jane Addams

1190 words - 5 pages Jane Addams founded Hull House in 1889, along with her friend Ellen Starr. Jane had a very compassionate heart from the time she was a young girl. Everywhere she went, Jane had a desire to help people less fortunate than herself. Jane's father helped shape her to become more charitable to others less fortunate. Even as a young girl Jane wanted to know why all people did not live in nice homes with yards like her own. One day she saw a part of

Jane's Relationship with Rochester in Bronte's Jane Eyre

1979 words - 8 pages away to school: he says," I could not afford it: schools are so dear"(Page 200). Furthermore when Rochester tells Jane in chapter 27 about Bertha Mason he explains why his father arranged the marriage - the reason being that the Mason's were a rich family who would give a dowry of thirty thousand pounds (a considerable amount of money at that time). From this it is reasonable to conclude that Rochester didn't come from a

Importance of Settings in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre

919 words - 4 pages course the twenty thousand pounds from John Eyre's inheritance doesn’t hurt. In the final setting of the book at Ferndean, this is the place at where Jane will settle down. At the ends she concludes at Ferndean where she has now been cast into the role of a mother and from here so concludes the book.

Similar Essays

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.

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

"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