The Transformation Of 1850s California Essay

1483 words - 6 pages

The California Gold Rush left a huge mark on America. In the novel, The Sisters Brothers, written by Patrick deWitt, the Gold Rush had a large effect on transforming Californian lifestyle and its population. This research paper will prove that America was transformed by the 1851 Gold Rush and that this has been portrayed realistically in the novel.
The novel, The Sisters Brothers, written by Patrick deWitt is the story of two adventurous brothers named Eli and Charlie who travel from Oregon to San Francisco during the gold rush in the 1850s. The brothers are hired to find and kill a man named Hermann Warm. They run into a wide range of tough situations and sketchy characters such a rich businessman named Mayfield who runs his own town. The brothers have two very different characters which affect how they are to react to these situations. Eli is sweet, caring and chivalrous while Charlie is a quiet, angry man who was forced as a child to kill his father to protect his mother. Deep down they are both violent, cold blooded killers. Along their journey to San Francisco, Eli has an internal conflict to decide wether he wants to keep living the killer’s life or settle down and start a shop with his brother. When they arrived in San Francisco, they become exposed to the “gold fever” which was caused by the gold rush. Instead of killing their target they befriend Warm and search the rivers for gold to become rich. Sadly, Warm tragically dies from the chemicals and Charlie is burned and forced to have his hand cut off which leads to the brothers returning home to their mother as changed men.
Marsha Lederman wrote an article titled "Patrick DeWitt, Sensitive Cowboys Strike Gold." for the Globe and Mail on Patrick deWitt, a Canadian author who was born in Sidney, British Columbia in 1975. DeWitt is the author of the Governor-General’s Fiction Award winning novel, The Sisters Brothers. Part of the story takes place in the Oregon Territory during the 1850’s Gold Rush which meant that deWitt was able to familiarize himself with the area during his travels. He has one other novel published, Ablutions, which tells the story of a bartender that he related to because he worked in a bar for 4 years. When he was 2 he moved to Southern California and grew up travelling back and forth between Vancouver to the United States. Now age 37, he lives in Portland, Oregon.
Mark Medley describes how, years ago, the main idea of, The Sisters Brothers, came to deWitt with just a simple few words “sensitive cowboy” written on a notepad. They spawned a fictional conversation between two cowboys which grew to become the main characters, Eli and Charlie. One day while deWitt was riding his bike, he came across a yard sale and found an old leather-bound volume titled, The Forty-Niners, which contained pictures and text on the subject of the San Francisco Gold Rush. DeWitt focused on the pictures of old prospectors and abandoned steam ships in harbours “If I hadn’t happened...

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