A Thousand Acres

A Thousand Acres

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A Thousand Acres Book 1, Chapter 7 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Ginny and Tyler go to Larry’s house, where Jess is drinking coffee, alone. While Ty drives off to find the rest of the family, Jess tells Ginny that Pete has already expressed his plans for the land: he’ll install electricity and grow new crops.
It doesn’t take long for the family to begin making plans for Larry’s land: now that they own it, they can manipulate it however they like. Notice that it’s Pete who wants to change the farmland—Pete, who presumably knows the least about farming, but is also very assertive and aggressive.
Themes
King Lear and Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
Revenge Theme Icon
Ginny asks Jess to tell him about his time in Seattle, and Jess obliges. In Seattle, he ran a food co-op and held other odd jobs. He claims that he liked his lifestyle, since it helped him cultivate a sense of “inner peace.”
Jess is a little bit of everything: he seems like a hippie to Ginny, since he’s a draft-dodger, a co-op owner, and has a vaguely Zen demeanor (“inner peace”).
Themes
Appearance vs. Reality Theme Icon
Ginny hears Ty driving back: she sees that he’s found Harold and Loren. Another car pulls up, carrying Marv Carson and Ken LaSalle (Larry’s lawyer and friend). Pete and Rose arrive, and soon there are lots of people inside the house, talking happily. Ginny sees Larry, who seems to be in a good mood; in fact, Ginny sees that everyone is cheerful, even Harold and Rose.
Ginny has the sense that her family is happy, sincerely and profoundly. But as we’ve already seen, and will continue to see, the family’s happiness is short-lived and rather surface-level. The sense of jealousy and competition (between the sisters, between Larry and Harold, etc.) tears them apart.
Themes
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
Appearance vs. Reality Theme Icon
Caroline’s car arrives. When Caroline comes to the front door, Ginny opens it, but then Larry slams the door in Caroline’s face. Larry yells for the party to go on. Ginny looks out the window, but Caroline’s car is gone already.
Smiley never reveals what Caroline was going to say to Larry—whether she was going to apologize or not. Larry doesn’t give her a chance to speak her mind: he’s so spiteful, so insistent that his children honor him, that he disrespects her, even though she seems to be the only daughter who’s behaved truly honestly. This scene parallels Lear’s banishment of Cordelia in Shakespeare’s play.
Themes
King Lear and Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
Revenge Theme Icon
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