A Thousand Acres

A Thousand Acres

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Ginny Cook Smith Character Analysis

The protagonist and narrator of the novel, daughter of Larry Cook and wife of Tyler Smith. Ginny is a frustrated farmer’s daughter, full of repressed desires and thwarted ambitions. Along with Rose Cook Lewis, her sister, she accepts Larry’s inheritance: his farmland. Over the course of the novel, she becomes closer to her family, especially to Rose, but begins to drift away from Rose when they compete for the same man, Jess Clark. Ginny also remembers and then contends with her traumatic childhood, during which her own father repeatedly raped her. Ginny’s path in the novel is depressing and sometimes nihilistic: she’s blessed with her father’s inheritance, but a mixture of greed, trauma, jealousy, and vengefulness lead her to break off all relations with her husband, sisters, and father. By the end of the novel, she’s still a prisoner of her own traumatic past. Ginny corresponds to the character Goneril in King Lear.

Ginny Cook Smith Quotes in A Thousand Acres

The A Thousand Acres quotes below are all either spoken by Ginny Cook Smith or refer to Ginny Cook Smith . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
King Lear and Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Anchor Books edition of A Thousand Acres published in 2003.
Book 1, Chapter 3 Quotes

There was no way to tell by looking that the land beneath my childish feet wasn’t the primeval mold I read about in school, but it was new, created by magic lines of tile my father would talk about with pleasure and reverence. Tile “drew” the water, warmed the soil, and made it easy to work, enabled him to get into the field with his machinery a mere 24 hours after the heaviest storm.

Related Characters: Ginny Cook Smith (speaker), Laurence Cook
Page Number: 15
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Smiley sketches out a “creation myth” for the Cooks’ portion of the Midwestern United States. Ginny, the narrator of the novel, describes how her great-grandparents, and later her grandparents, built an elaborate agricultural system using “tiles” (mechanisms that filter the soil and make it easy to control). Larry inherited his ancestors’ tiles—not unlike a king inheriting a kingdom from his father. The passage lends a majestic, semi-mythological tone to the novel: Ginny feels tied to the farmland of her community, because it’s been in her family for a long, long time, and because her family actually changed the farmland at an almost geological level. If anybody has a claim to owning the land, it’s a Cook.

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Book 1, Chapter 4 Quotes

At the pig roast, Jess Clark and the new machinery were Harold’s twin exhibits, and guests from all over the area couldn’t resist, had no reason to resist, the way he ferried them between the two, asking for and receiving admiration with a kind of shameless innocence that he was known for.

Related Characters: Ginny Cook Smith (speaker), Harold Clark , Jess Clark
Page Number: 18
Explanation and Analysis:

Early on, Smiley gives us a vivid sense of the competitiveness and nosiness of small-town farm life. Because the community is pretty tiny population-wise, everybody knows about everybody else—there’s a constant surveillance process going on. When Jess Clark, Harold Clark’s “prodigal son,” returns from years of draft dodging and traveling, Harold makes sure he throws a party to prove to everybody that his family is strong: whether or nor he’s actually angry with his son, he wants to demonstrate to others that he’s proud of Jess and happy to have him home. As far as other neighbors are concerned, Jess is a “prop” for Harold, equated in the passage with Harold’s prized new tractor (a mark of his wealth and sophistication as a farmer). Harold wants to prove to other people in the community that he’s a successful man and a good father—there’s no better way to do both than to host a big party and invite everybody.

Book 1, Chapter 6 Quotes

We’ll stop making allowances tomorrow. This is important. He’s handing over his whole life, don’t you understand that? We have to receive it in the right spirit. And Rose and Pete and even Ty are ready to receive it. Just do it this once. Last time, I promise.

Related Characters: Ginny Cook Smith (speaker), Rose Cook Lewis , Caroline Cook , Laurence Cook , Tyler “Ty” Smith , Pete Lewis
Page Number: 34
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Ginny tries to convince her sister, Caroline, to go along with Larry’s plan to divide up his property between his three daughters. Previously, Caroline has been the only daughter to question her father’s sudden decision. Larry is getting older, he drinks a lot, and there are legitimate reasons to believe that he’s not in the right state of mind to voluntarily give up his own land and money. And yet Ginny and Rose go along with Larry’s decision—they want his property, even if they don’t admit it. Caroline, who, Ginny notes, has always loved Larry most dearly, is the only one to question Larry’s decision: an act that, on the surface of things, might seem disobedient, but is actually a sign of respect. It’s also important to note that Caroline is more financially independent than either of her siblings (she’s a lawyer) and less closely tied to her father’s farmland (unlike her siblings, she lives in Des Moines). It’s easier for Caroline to speak about the farmland frankly, because she’s not as biased by financial motives or by an emotional connection to the land.

The passage also implies some of Ginny’s latent guilt at accepting her father’s property so eagerly: she wants Caroline to accept her father’s generosity because of her own guilty conscience. Ginny tries to trick Caroline into accepting the money out of a sense of duty to her father—when in reality (as Caroline seems to know), the truly “dutiful” thing to do is probably to turn down the property altogether, or at least advise Larry to wait before making a rash decision.

Book 2, Chapter 8 Quotes

What is a farmer?
A farmer is a man who feeds the world.

Related Characters: Ginny Cook Smith (speaker), Laurence Cook
Page Number: 45
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Ginny reiterates some of the mythological, even religious elements of life on a farm. Larry is just a man—but he thinks of himself as doing almost holy work, providing food and nourishment for others. It’s hard to deny that Larry has a point: he does incredibly valuable work. And yet Larry’s high opinion of himself (an opinion that he’s passed onto his daughters, as evidenced by the quote, which he’s repeated many times over the years) is a kind of smokescreen. Because Larry thinks of himself as an important, powerful farmer, he can justify even his most morally dubious actions: taking advantage of his poorer neighbors, bullying his wife, and even abusing his children. By worshipping his own profession like this, Larry arguably feels justified in even his most horrible sins.

The passage is also a great example of the importance of appearances and images in Larry’s community. Larry tries to cultivate an image of benevolence and importance among his daughters and his neighbors, even though, deep down, he’s something very different altogether.

Book 2, Chapter 9 Quotes

I have this recurring nightmare about grabbing things that might hurt me, like that straight razor Daddy used to have, or a jar of some poison that spills on my hands. I know I shouldn’t and I watch myself, but I can’t resist.

Related Characters: Rose Cook Lewis (speaker), Ginny Cook Smith , Laurence Cook
Related Symbols: The Jar of Sausages
Page Number: 62
Explanation and Analysis:

Rose differs from her sister in many important ways; one of these is her acquisitiveness. Rose has no illusions about her personality: she was always a greedy person, even when she was a young child (or dreaming, as here). Whenever she saw something she liked, she had to have it immediately—even if the item in question was bad for her. Rose knows perfectly well that her greediness is a flaw: she recognizes that sometimes, she desires things that are bad for her; hence her nightmare about grabbing razor blades and poison. And yet Rose is powerless to change who she is.

The passage is important because it foreshadows the events of the rest of the novel. Rose will soon be seduced by her own wealth and power, to the point where she’ll be “chained” to her own farmland, even though she knows that it’s bad for her soul. (Also notice the subtle foreshadowing: Rose mentions a “poisoned jar’ much like the one Ginny will later use in an attempt to kill her.)

Book 2, Chapter 12 Quotes

It was a pantry cabinet, a sink, four base cabinets, and two wall cabinets, as well as eight fee of baby blue laminated countertop, … which my father had bought for a thousand dollars.

Related Characters: Ginny Cook Smith (speaker), Laurence Cook
Page Number: 80
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Rose and Ginny have accepted their father’s generosity and taken control over his property. And yet they’re still responsible for taking care of their father—giving him food and shelter, and providing for him financially. Larry maintains some control over his own assets, as well—he still has money to spend. Here, Ginny notices that Larry has made a series of extravagant purchases, including cabinets and countertop. As before, Larry is just trying to compete with his neighbor, Harold Clark.

The difference between now and then, as Ginny seems to sense, is that Ginny and Rose don’t want to lose their own money. When he buys cabinets and other things, Larry is taking money from his children—and while Ginny never says so explicitly, Smiley makes it clear that she doesn’t like Larry doing so. Ginny is less overtly acquisitive than Rose, but she still wants land and money for herself. Notice the way she spells out the cost of Larry’s new stuff—that’s one thousand dollars that won’t be going to her. The passage’s subtle displays of Ginnys materialism and acquisitiveness foreshadow her more overt greed later on in the novel.

“He is crazy,” said Rose. Anyway, Ginny, you’re running out of money

and you have all the expensive rentals left before you get to Go.”

Related Characters: Rose Cook Lewis (speaker), Ginny Cook Smith
Related Symbols: Monopoly
Page Number: 82
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Smiley uses the symbol of Monopoly to signal her characters’ latent greed and selfishness. The characters are playing a friendly game of Monopoly, but they’re also talking about Larry, who continues to spend money on elaborate house purchases, like cabinets and countertops. Rose moves the discussion from Larry to Monopoly, but because of the syntax of the paragraph, we think that she’s talking about real life when she says, “You’re running out of money.”

Smiley’s point is that, even if they won’t say so explicitly, Rose and Ginny are afraid that Larry is going to spend all their money before he dies. Now that Rose and Ginny are in power, they don’t like the idea of their father wasting his (and their) cash on things he doesn’t need. Smiley never comes right out and says that Rose and Ginny are greedy for land and cash—one has to read between the lines to see that they are, and this passage is a great example of how Smiley uses subtle hints (and the façade of a game) to alert readers to the truth.

Book 2, Chapter 14 Quotes

Now that I remembered that little girl and that young, running man, I couldn’t imagine what had happened to them.

Related Characters: Ginny Cook Smith (speaker), Laurence Cook
Page Number: 106
Explanation and Analysis:

In this chapter, Ginny remembers her father at his most heroic: saving Harold Clark, his rival, from underneath a truck. The memory is vivid, and because Ginny remembers her father’s heroism so clearly, she’s moved to tears. As a child, Ginny (apparently) hero-worshipped her father, and thought of him as a larger-than-life figure. Now that Ginny and Larry are older, Ginny thinks of her father as a pathetic old man—still intimidating, but hardly the hero he used to be in her eyes.

In the near future, Ginny will begin to question everything she knows and believes about Larry. So here, it’s possible that Ginny is lying to herself—i.e., she never really thought of her father as a hero, and is just idealizing her own memories. Ginny seems to feel guilty about her role in Larry’s mental decline; she’s guilty about accepting his money and property without a second thought. Moreover, Ginny is nostalgic for a time in her life when she and the rest of her family got along perfectly. The days of idyllic childhood are long behind her: in their place are confusion, rivalry, and resentment. No wonder she’s crying as she remembers.

Book 2, Chapter 16 Quotes

After you’ve confided long enough in someone, he or she assumes the antagonism you might have just been trying out. It was better for now to keep this conversation to myself.

Related Characters: Ginny Cook Smith (speaker), Rose Cook Lewis
Page Number: 119
Explanation and Analysis:

In this strange passage, Ginny has just had a long, angry conversation with her sister, Caroline, in which Caroline accuses Ginny or dong a bad job of taking care of her father. Caroline suggests that Ginny and Rose are ungrateful children; in spite of everything their father has done for them, they treat him like an annoyance, to be tended to from time to time without any affection or compassion. Although Ginny denies that Caroline has a point, she declines to tell Rose about the conversation. Her stated reason for doing so is fascinating: essentially, she says that when somebody accuses you of being evil, you’ll eventually become evil. This fits with the novel’s complicated ideas about appearances and reality: sometimes appearances are a mask or diversion from reality, but sometimes one’s reality actually shifts to fit appearances.

The passage is especially ambiguous because it’s not clear if Ginny really is innocent of any maliciousness toward her father, or if, deep down, she senses that Caroline is right. If the former possibility is the case, the quote might suggest that Ginny and Rose aren’t really “villainous” at all at this point; they’re driven to mistreat their father because their father hates them and thinks of them as “whores.” If the latter possibility is true, then Ginny refuses to tell Rose about the conversation because she senses that Caroline is telling the truth.

Book 3, Chapter 19 Quotes

She wore a cast for eight weeks, and she made a sleeve for it with the words PETE DID THIS, glued on it in felt letters.

Related Characters: Ginny Cook Smith (speaker), Rose Cook Lewis , Pete Lewis
Page Number: 141
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, we learn that Pete Lewis beat his wife, Rose, until he eventually he broke her arm. Rose was so furious about Pete’s actions that when she wore a cast, she wrote, “Pete did this” on it. The cast acted as a reminder to everybody in the community that Pete wasn’t the good, easygoing man he pretended to be: Rose refused to give Pete the luxury of hiding from his crimes.

As we’ll eventually learn, though, Rose’s actions have a deeper meaning. Rose advertises Pete’s abuse because she refuses to let someone else get away with mistreating her, after Larry. Larry raped Rose repeatedly when she was a teenager, and Rose has been living with the trauma for decades. She refuses to let anyone take advantage of her ever again—hence the sleeve on the cast. Rose’s willingness to publicize Pete’s abusiveness contrasts with her reluctance to tell anyone about her father’s actions. In part, the difference is that, in the case of Larry’s abuse, there is no “this”—in other words, there is no physical mark that Rose can point to as a sign of her father’s cruelty. (See quotes from Chapter 24 for more on Rose’s reaction to Larry’s abuse.)

Book 3, Chapter 20 Quotes

It was exhilarating, talking to my father as if he were my child, more than exhilarating to see him as my child.

Related Characters: Ginny Cook Smith (speaker), Laurence Cook
Page Number: 148
Explanation and Analysis:

This passage is another sign that Ginny isn’t quite as virtuous as she often believes herself to be. After Larry drinks and drives, he winds up in the hospital. As Ginny drives Larry home, she gets a little thrill from asserting so much power over her own father, of whom she was frightened for many years. Now that Larry is old and growing senile, Rose and Ginny have become the powerful people in the Cook family: Larry is practically their child (they have to support him and provide for him in almost every material way).

Ginny, while she thinks of herself as a good, responsible caretaker, is actually more vengeful and assertive than she lets on. She doesn’t take care of Larry just out of the goodness of her heart; she takes care of Larry partly because she likes feeling powerful. Rose and Ginny assert their power over their father in two ways: Rose does so by bullying him, while Ginny does so more subtly, by babying him.

Book 3, Chapter 23 Quotes

I flattered you when I called you a bitch! What do you want to reduce me to? I’ll stop this building! I’ll get the land back! I’ll throw you whores off this place. You’ll learn what it means to treat your father like this. I curse you!

Related Characters: Laurence Cook (speaker), Ginny Cook Smith , Rose Cook Lewis
Page Number: 183
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, a direct homage to King Lear, Larry Cook accosts his two eldest daughters in the middle of a wild storm. Larry is furious that his daughters have mistreated him and disrespected him. It’s hard to say exactly what Larry’s children have done to offend him, however; they take care of him and invite him to spend more time with them. And yet, by Ginny’s own admission, the Cook daughters have also taken some pleasure in belittling their father—treating him like a child—and perhaps Larry is reacting to his children’s barely-concealed (and, in light of his abuse and rape, justified) contempt. Moreover, Larry is angry with himself for rejecting Caroline, and he takes out his frustration on Rose and Ginny.

As a result, Larry yells at Rose and Ginny, accusing them of being bad daughters and bad people. He even claims that he should never have given up his land, and that he’s going to try to get it back. The passage reiterates what an important part of Larry’s identity his land was: now that Larry has signed away his property, he’s “naked,” stripped of his identity and power. (Notice also that Larry calls his daughters “bitches” and “whores,” both exposing his deep sexism and foreshadowing the events of the next few chapters.)

Book 3, Chapter 24 Quotes

“He didn’t rape me, Ginny. He seduced me. He said it was okay, that it was good to please me, that he needed it, that I was special. He said he loved me.”
I said, “I can’t listen to this.”

Related Characters: Ginny Cook Smith (speaker), Rose Cook Lewis (speaker), Laurence Cook
Page Number: 190
Explanation and Analysis:

In this horrifying passage, Rose confesses that Larry had sex with her when she was only a teenager. Curiously, Rose refuses to admit that Larry raped her—even thought it’s pretty clear that, for all intents and purposes, he did. The way Rose puts it, she was “seduced” by Larry—suggesting that, on some level, she feels responsible for her own father’s incestuous crimes (“raped” would suggest that Rose had no control in the matter; “seduced” would suggest that on some level she chose to have sex with Larry).

The passage is a good example of the irrational guilt that survivors of rape and incest often feel: they believe that they themselves are responsible for their own abuse. Rose’s explanation is not logical; she was a child, and can hardly be blamed for not fighting back against her intimidating, frightening father. But her guilt explains why she’s wrestled with her traumatic memories for so long. Also notice that Ginny refuses to listen to the truth about her father; she’s in denial about Rose’s mistreatment because she’s also in denial of her own.

“He won’t get away with it, Ginny. I won’t let him get away with it. I just won’t.”

Related Characters: Rose Cook Lewis (speaker), Ginny Cook Smith , Laurence Cook
Page Number: 192
Explanation and Analysis:

One question hangs over the second half of the novel: why doesn’t Rose go to the police or make Larry’s crimes public? Why can’t she just tell the authorities and townspeople that her father is a criminal, an incestuous rapist? What we gather, based on this chapter, is that Rose feels partly responsible for her own rape—an irrational, but all-too common response among traumatized rape victims. Furthermore, there’s no indication that anybody would believe Rose if she said that Larry raped her years ago (as is often the case in situations like this, unfortunately). Finally, as the quote suggests, Rose would never be satisfied with merely a legal punishment for her father: she wants to destroy her father completely, expunging her own sense of guilt in the process.

The only way for Rose to totally destroy her father, Smiley implies, is to control everything he owns, including the farm. Rose’s plan is to humiliate her father until the day he dies: reshaping his farmland into a hog farm, and never showing compassion or love of any kind for him. By asserting her ownership of the farmland, Rose hopes to purge all memory of Larry from her surroundings, and therefore from her own mind. The problem, however, is that such an obsession with revenge usually leads to more pain and corruption for the person seeking vengeance than punishment for the original offender.

Book 3, Chapter 28 Quotes

It was incredible to hear Rose speak like this, but it was intoxicating, too, as sweet and forbidden as anything I had ever done.

Related Characters: Ginny Cook Smith (speaker), Rose Cook Lewis
Page Number: 216
Explanation and Analysis:

As the novel goes on, Rose and Ginny become more overtly villainous, confirming, perhaps, Ginny’s observation that she has a habit of taking on the antagonism people attribute to her. At the church potluck, Rose confides to Ginny that she wants to humiliate Larry—show him how far he’s fallen from his former glory and prestige. Ginny, who’s always thought of herself as a kind, loyal daughter, is a little shocked by Rose’s cruelty. But as she says here, she’s also “intoxicated,” knowing that Larry deserves whatever humiliation and punishment he might receive because of his past crimes, and relishing the shift in the family’s power dynamic.

The passage, at the simplest level, is about evil and how evil perpetuates itself. Ginny might not be an “evil” person, but she finds herself seduced by evil in trying to punish her father’s evil. While Regan and Goneril, the counterparts to Rose and Ginny in King Lear, are presented as more overtly and unambiguously villainous, Smiley wants to treat Rose and Ginny’s seemingly “wicked” actions with more nuance, particularly by identifying their source (Larry’s past abuse). Rose and Ginny both commit some horrible crimes of their own during the novel, but at the same time, they are the victims of their monstrous father; they’re trying to escape the traumatic past, but are trapped in a cycle of suffering and vengeance.

Since then I’ve often thought we could have taken our own advice, driven to the Twin Cities and found jobs as waitresses, measured out our days together in a garden apartment, the girls in one bedroom, Rose and I in the other, anonymous, ducking forever a destiny that we never asked for, that was our father’s gift to us.

Related Characters: Ginny Cook Smith (speaker), Rose Cook Lewis , Laurence Cook , Pamela , Linda
Page Number: 220
Explanation and Analysis:

Here Ginny expresses her desire to escape from the farmland where she’s spent most of her life and go to the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and Saint Paul). Ginny recognizes that she’ll never be entirely happy on the farm: there are too many bad memories. The farmland itself is a symbol of her family and her family’s legacy (the tiles themselves were laid by Larry’s ancestors), so Ginny can’t live on the farm and also forget about Larry and Larry’s crimes. As long as she accepts his property, she has to accept his influence and her memories of him. The alternative to accepting Larry’s influence is to “escape” the influence of Larry’s property by moving to a city. This is why the thousand acres is both a blessing and a curse to the Cook daughters.

But even if working as a waitress in the city would be a welcome release from Larry’s overbearing, intimidating presence, Ginny isn’t strong enough to leave (yet). She wants her father’s land and money, and she feels a legitimate family connection to the land. (She also feels she deserves it, and wants to get back at Larry by taking his power and wealth.) Like Rose in her nightmares, Ginny feels drawn to the things that slowly kill her.

Book 5, Chapter 36 Quotes

I was so remarkably comfortable with the discipline of making a good appearance!

Related Characters: Ginny Cook Smith (speaker)
Page Number: 285
Explanation and Analysis:

After Larry announces his intentions to sue Ginny and Rose and get his former property back, Ginny and Rose consult a lawyer in the city. The lawyer, Jean Cartier, advises Ginny and Rose to be perfect—to do a great job tending their father’s property, and keep up an appearance of being successful farmers. Larry can only sue Ginny and Rose according to a clause of their contract that allows him to repossess his land if his daughters treat it badly. So as long as Ginny and Rose treat the farmland well, they’ll be fine—it doesn’t really matter how they treat Larry himself.

Ginny finds that she’s very good at putting on the appearance of competence, normality, and graciousness. In a way, Ginny has been practicing for such a role for most of her life—as the resident of a small town where everybody knows everybody else, she knows how to “seem” one way and secretly “be” another.

Book 5, Chapter 39 Quotes

One of the jars of sausage was close to the edge of the table. I pushed it back and looked at Jess again. For the first time in weeks what was unbearable felt bearable.

Related Characters: Ginny Cook Smith (speaker), Jess Clark
Related Symbols: The Jar of Sausages
Page Number: 314
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Ginny has fixed a jar of poisoned sausages, designed to kill her sister, Rose. Rose has offended Ginny by sleeping with Jess Clark, Ginny’s former lover. Ginny had thought of Jess as a symbol of escape and freedom from Larry, and had seemingly truly fallen in love with him. Now, instead of hating Jess for his manipulation and deception, Ginny takes out her sense of betrayal by hating her sister, and even going so far as to try and kill her. (Whether this plot twist is plausible or not is arguable, but it does echo the events of King Lear, where Goneril poisons Regan.) Ginny makes sausages in particular because she knows that Jess is a vegetarian; Rose is the only person in the house who’s going to die.

Interestingly, Ginny feels eerily calm as she delivers the tool of her sister’s murder. When she presents it before Jess, she finds it easy to smile back at him, even though she’s been uneasy around him ever since hearing that he and Rose slept together. It’s interesting to compare the passage to Jess’s earlier description of how Harold Clark enjoys pretending to be eccentric in order to conceal his true nature: similarly, Ginny takes genuine pleasure in hiding her true feelings. At this point, she really is acting more overtly “villainous” (like her counterpart in Lear)—she’s no longer trying to escape from or punish an abusive father, but has now been corrupted by revenge and greed to the point that she turns a murderous hatred against her sister.

Book 5, Chapter 40 Quotes

I continued to behave as if I was living in the sight of all our neighbors, as Mr. Cartier had told us to. I waited for Rose to die, but the weather was warm for sauerkraut and liver sausage—that was a winter dish.

Related Characters: Ginny Cook Smith (speaker), Rose Cook Lewis , Jean Cartier
Related Symbols: The Jar of Sausages
Page Number: 316
Explanation and Analysis:

The strength, but also the weakness, of Ginny’s murder plot is that it’s slow-acting and relies heavily on chance. As a result, it’s less likely that Ginny will be linked to the murder—but until Rose dies, Ginny has to twiddle her thumbs and wait. Moreover, until that time, Ginny can’t focus on anything but the murder. There’s a constant cloud of vengeance hanging over her—her life is “stalled” until the day that Rose dies.

Ginny’s murder plot is intended to free Ginny from her anxieties about life on the farmland: by killing Rose, she can (she assumes) run off with Jess and escape Larry forever. But because the sausages don’t kill Rose right away, Ginny can’t live normally; she’s always looking over her shoulder and putting on appearances of normality (as her lawyer told her to, mentioned here). As we’ll see soon enough, Ginny will spend the next decade and more with the burden of Rose’s potential murder.

One thing was surely true about going to court. It had marvelous divided us from each other and from our old lives. There could be no reconciliation now.

Related Characters: Ginny Cook Smith (speaker)
Page Number: 326
Explanation and Analysis:

Ginny seems to be seeing the truth more and more clearly. She was seduced by the promise of power, as represented by Larry’s land. But now that she’s won a victory against her father in court (determining that she and Rose really are the owners of the farmland), she can’t savor her victory. Instead, Ginny sees clearly how the farmland has torn the family apart: she and Larry will never reconcile after their disagreements in court, and Caroline has seemingly turned against her sisters to side with Larry, meaning that the family will always be fractured.

Rose has said that she accepted Larry’s property as a form of revenge—her intention was to humiliate her aging father. In other words, her goal was to tear the family apart (at least in the sense of destroying Larry—Caroline didn’t seem to factor into it). Here, Ginny recognizes, Rose has gotten her wish—the Cook clan is in ruins—but in enacting their revenge on Larry, Rose and Ginny have hurt themselves too, not just their father. Ginny has sought revenge against Rose for sleeping with Jess, and it seems unlikely that they’ll ever be close again.

Book 5, Chapter 41 Quotes

Ty yelled, “I gave my life to this place!”
Without looking around at him, I yelled back, “Now it’s yours!”

Related Characters: Tyler “Ty” Smith (speaker), Ginny Cook Smith
Page Number: 330
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Ginny makes the choice to turn her back on her husband and her own farmland. She’s won a victory in court by defeating her father, and yet it seems to bring her little pleasure. Instead, her court victory seems to remind her how toxic her farmland really is: it’s corrupting her soul. Instead of staying around to run the farm, Ginny gives it up to her husband in the middle of a fight, and impulsively leaves for the city (to become a waitress, just as she and Rose had vaguely planned).

The irony of the passage is that Ginny is finally escaping from her old life in the country—but too late. Ginny and Rose had talked about getting away from their father and starting fresh, but their greed and guilt kept them around. Now, Ginny has finally summoned the courage to move away from her childhood home—but only after she’s plotted to murder her sister and is cutting ties with her husband. Ginny can’t truly escape her past, because the possibility that Rose will “drop dead” will always be hanging over her head.

Book 6, Chapter 45 Quotes

“Look at Daddy! He knew he’d treated me unfairly, but that we really felt love for each other. He made amends. We got really close at the end.”

“How did he mistreat you?”
“Well, by getting mad and cutting me out of the farm.”

Related Characters: Ginny Cook Smith (speaker), Caroline Cook (speaker), Laurence Cook
Page Number: 362-363
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Ginny comes ever so close to telling Caroline the truth about their father. Caroline claims that she found the strength to forgive Larry for how he “mistreated” her—but she seemingly has no idea that her father was an incestuous rapist, and thinks that his “mistreatment” was merely cutting her out of inheriting the farm. At this point, Ginny seems poised to tell Caroline the truth about Larry. But she never does.

The passage is full of ambiguities: Caroline ended up having the best relationship with Larry (she even helped him sue Rose and Ginny), but only because she had the shallowest understanding of who he really was. Smiley leaves open the possibility that Caroline was also raped by Larry (neither Ginny nor Rose knows to a certainty whether or not she was, though they tried to protect her from being abused) and repressed it, or even forgave him. Because Caroline and Ginny never open up to one another, we never know the truth. Smiley suggests that Caroline’s supposed “goodness” might be nothing more than ignorance of her father’s horrific crimes. (It’s also worth noting that Caroline calls Larry “Daddy” here, something she refused to do at the beginning of the book.)

I had a burden lift off me that I hadn’t even felt the heaviness of until then, and it was the burden of having to wait and see what was going to happen…

Related Characters: Ginny Cook Smith (speaker)
Page Number: 367
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Ginny gets rid of the poisoned sausages that she’s just rediscovered in Rose’s basement. Years before, Ginny cooked the sausages with hemlock, in an attempt to murder her sister as punishment for sleeping with Jess, her lover. Ginny has spent the last decade with the burden of her sister’s impending death hanging over her. Now, she’s gotten rid of that burden by throwing the sausages away.

The irony of the passage, of course, is that Ginny relieves herself of guilt and responsibility too late. If she’d thrown away the sausages years ago, before she ran away from her old home, she possibly could have preserved her relationship with Rose. As it stands, Ginny loses her property, her husband, and her sisters because she has a bad habit of doing the right thing too late.

Epilogue Quotes

I can’t say that I forgive my father, but now I can imagine what he probably chose never to remember—the goad of an unthinkable urge, pricking him, pressing him wrapping him in an impenetrable fog of self that must have seemed, when he wandered around the house late at night after working and drinking, like the very darkness. This is the gleaming obsidian shaft I safeguard above all the others.

Related Characters: Ginny Cook Smith (speaker), Laurence Cook
Page Number: 371
Explanation and Analysis:

As the novel comes to an end, Ginny finds herself in a dark place. One of her sisters is dead; the other one barely talks to her. Her parents are dead, and her property is gone—indeed, almost all memories of the Cooks’ former glory are gone (except, in a brutal irony, the community’s memory of Larry as a kind of “saint”). As Ginny contemplates her life, she thinks back to her father, the man who raped her, setting in motion the cycle of guilt, regret, and revenge that has made her adult life so hard.

Ginny’s recollections of her father are important for a number of reasons. First, it would seem that, understandably, Ginny is no less traumatized by her father’s actions than she was years before: she’s tried to enact revenge on him, but she’s ended up destroying her own life in the process. Larry’s incest continues to darken her life—it’s “lodged” in her mind, impossible to remove. Second, the passage suggests a sinister connection between Larry and Ginny. After so many years of greed, domination, and revenge, Ginny s no longer a good, virtuous person; one could even argue that she’s become a lot like her father in some ways. Notice how easily Ginny puts herself in her father’s place—disturbingly, she claims to understand the motives that led Larry to rape her; the innate darkness and sinful urges that can impel a human being to do evil (the same sinful urges that impelled Ginny to try to murder her own sister). If there’s a theme to this passage (and maybe to the book as a whole), it’s that evil begets more evil. Here, Smiley implies that Larry’s horrible, incestuous crimes have both permanently scarred Ginny and pushed her to become a dark, jealous, and in some senses, evil person.

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Ginny Cook Smith Character Timeline in A Thousand Acres

The timeline below shows where the character Ginny Cook Smith appears in A Thousand Acres. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 1, Chapter 2
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...has changed—their parents are still stubborn, old-fashioned, and subtly competitive. Jess addresses the narrator as Ginny. (full context)
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Ginny asks Jess where he’s been living, and what he’s been doing with his life. Jess... (full context)
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...arrives at the party, and greets Jess warmly. The last time Tyler and Jess talked, Ginny thinks, Tyler seems far more mature. Now, it seems, Tyler and Jess are equally old... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 3
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Ginny describes her great grandparents, who emigrated from England to Zebulon County in 1890. At first,... (full context)
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When Ginny’s great grandparents’ daughter (i.e., her grandmother), Edith, was 16 and John Cook was 23, they... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 4
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Harold Clark’s house, according to Ginny, is more or less identical to her own father’s. Clark’s property is smaller and less... (full context)
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Ginny comes to Harold Clark’s house, where she finds Rose, Caroline, and Larry. Larry is explaining... (full context)
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Abruptly, Ginny turns to describing her father, Laurence Cook. From her earliest memories onward, Ginny was afraid... (full context)
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...who’s drunk, angrily tells Caroline that if she doesn't want his money, she’s “out.” As Ginny witnesses this exchange, she realizes a crucial difference between Caroline and herself and Rose: Ginny... (full context)
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Still at the Clark house, Ginny talks with Jess Clark about Larry’s plan for the “corporation.” Ginny says that the idea... (full context)
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In bed with Tyler later that night, Ginny thinks about her relationship with Tyler. In the past, Tyler has always been completely open... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 5
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The morning after the party, Ginny goes to her father’s house, and finds Larry driving with his friend, Marv Carson, who... (full context)
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Ginny thinks back to Rose’s decision to marry Pete. Ginny was impressed with Pete, since Pete... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 6
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Ginny prepares to go to church. At church, the minister Henry Dodge speaks about the importance... (full context)
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Ginny continues to try to convince Caroline to go along with Larry’s plan for a corporation,... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 7
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Ginny and Tyler go to Larry’s house, where Jess is drinking coffee, alone. While Ty drives... (full context)
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Ginny asks Jess to tell him about his time in Seattle, and Jess obliges. In Seattle,... (full context)
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Ginny hears Ty driving back: she sees that he’s found Harold and Loren. Another car pulls... (full context)
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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... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 8
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Ginny recalls a neighbor, Cal Ericson. Cal owned lots of animals, which he kept on his... (full context)
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Ginny’s mother, Mrs. Cook, got along decently well with Mrs. Ericson, though deep down she agreed... (full context)
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After the corporation is established, Ginny and Rose take turns having Larry over for dinner. For months, Larry visits his two... (full context)
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One night at dinner, Ty and Ginny talk with Larry about their plans to enrich the land Larry has given them. Larry... (full context)
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The next day, Ginny goes to plant tomatoes on her property. While she’s outside planting, she sees Jess Clark,... (full context)
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...Alison while working with her at a crisis center. Jess admired her kindness and dedication. Ginny is reminded of Rose’s breast cancer diagnosis, and Jess insists that nobody told him that... (full context)
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...he went to Canada to dodge the draft, and his mother never properly forgave him. Ginny tells Jess she’s sorry, and Jess smiles, saying that he believes that life is good,... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 9
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Ginny knows that it’s been three months since Rose’s operation, meaning that Rose, who’s been undergoing... (full context)
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Rose and Ginny walk through the city, and Rose admits that she’s been depressed for a long time.... (full context)
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While shopping, Ginny and Rose talk about Caroline, who hasn’t spoken to Larry since he slammed the door... (full context)
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Ginny admits to Rose that she’s always had problems opening up to people outside her family;... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 10
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Caroline was six when her mother died, Ginny remembers. She was an agreeable child who never bothered anyone, and Larry often said she... (full context)
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Rose and Ginny looked out for Caroline, their little sister. In high school, they made sure that Larry... (full context)
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After driving Rose home, Ginny decides to call Caroline. She drives back to her home, past Larry’s house, and notices... (full context)
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Rose calls Ginny later that evening and reports that she can see Larry from her house, watching Ty... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 11
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Ginny realizes that she’s waiting to run into Jess Clark again. She thinks about the death... (full context)
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Jess emerges from the bathroom and talks about Ginny’s house, which used to belong to the Ericsons: Larry bought the property from them when... (full context)
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Ty suggests that Jess rent out some land next year, and Ginny realizes that Ty likes Jess as much as she does: he wants Jess around for... (full context)
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It’s late at night, but Ty, Jess, and Ginny talk about a news story: a woman was murdered in a nearby town. A man... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 12
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The next evening, Jess comes for dinner again. Rose, Ginny has heard, will be out of town tomorrow to pick up Linda and Pammy from... (full context)
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Pete plays Monopoly aggressively, spending all his money on property instead of saving it. Ginny notices that Pete can be a lot of fun: he tells goofy stories about hitchhiking... (full context)
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...his house using concrete in the kitchen—a plan that everyone finds absurd. The next day, Ginny sees that Larry has ordered expensive new doors and cabinets for his own kitchen, but... (full context)
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One night, Larry comes to Ginny’s for dinner and Ty mentions that it’s going to rain soon. Ginny asks what Larry... (full context)
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At Monopoly night, Ginny and Rose talk about Larry’s expensive, irresponsible orders, and Rose notes that Ginny is “running... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 13
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The next day, Ginny drives Linda and Pammy to the nearby community swimming pool. In the car, the children... (full context)
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...the pool, Pam wears a pair of sunglasses that she bought in Iowa City, and Ginny realizes that nobody will recognize her while she’s wearing the glasses. Mary Livingstone, an older... (full context)
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Mary and Ginny talk about Ginny’s mother, whom Mary knew well. Mary tells Ginny that Ginny’s mother was... (full context)
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As Ginny watches the children, she thinks about what Mary has said: Mary sized her up completely.... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 14
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Back at Rose’s home, Ginny finds Ty, Rose, and Pete. Rose tells Ginny that Jess is coming over for a... (full context)
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On Sunday, Ginny honors her promise to herself and calls Caroline. She calls, and Caroline immediately asks if... (full context)
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After her phone call, Rose tells Ginny that Caroline barely visited her during her time in the hospital, and suggests that Caroline... (full context)
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A few days after the dinner, Ginny and Rose go to visit Larry for their annual Father’s Day dinner. At dinner, Larry... (full context)
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After dinner, Ty says that Ginny and Rose don’t understand their father at all. Ty explains that Larry is now afraid... (full context)
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As she falls asleep, Ginny thinks about all the stories she’s heard about her father, a legendary farmer, over the... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 15
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Harold Clark is a strange, contradictory man, Ginny thinks. He loves showing off with his new tractor, annoying Larry greatly. One night over... (full context)
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...announces that he’s talked to Harold recently: Harold is thinking about changing around his will. Ginny knows that Harold’s current will probably favors Loren over Jess. Jess jokes that Harold is... (full context)
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...he would experiment with different crops and a more ambitious farming schedule. Ty is offended, Ginny can tell. The next day, Ty complains to Ginny that Jess is overly ambitious with... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 16
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Later in the day, Ginny goes to run errands and then visit her father. She thinks about Larry driving all... (full context)
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Ginny arrives at Larry’s house, where she finds him sitting out back. He complains that nobody... (full context)
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Ginny “flashes back” to describe her most recent phone call with Caroline. After learning about Larry’s... (full context)
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Ginny remembers that Caroline always got along with Larry better than she or Rose did. In... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 17
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The next morning, Ginny cleans the house from top to bottom. In the middle of her work, Jess pays... (full context)
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In the dump, Jess cheerfully points out different species of flowers and snakes to Ginny. Suddenly, he asks Ginny who Larry’s favorite child was: Ginny immediately replies that it’s always... (full context)
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Jess tells Ginny that sometimes he’s afraid that after his father dies, he’ll end up living on the... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 18
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Ginny imagines the geological processes that led to the creation of Larry’s farmland: volcanoes and storms... (full context)
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Ginny remembers Mel Scott, a poor farmer who didn’t know how to take care of his... (full context)
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...moved back to Chicago). Larry never stopped negotiating business deals, even when Mrs. Cook died. Ginny has grown up with one key lesson: land is always moving from one owner to... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 19
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One Monopoly night, Ginny and her family learn that Caroline has gotten married to Frank in Des Moines. Rose... (full context)
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...stands up from the Monopoly game and throws the board to the ground, infuriating Pete. Ginny remembers that Pete used to beat Rose. Ginny remembers that when Pete broke her arm,... (full context)
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...a car accident, and he’s in the hospital. Rose mutters, “It’s about time.” Rose and Ginny drive separately to the hospital, and in their car, Ty and Ginny talk about how... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 20
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In the hospital, Ginny and Rose find Larry in the waiting room, being very quiet. Larry has been mildly... (full context)
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Ginny and Ty drive Larry home, and Larry sits in the back, silent. As Ginny sits... (full context)
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Ty and Ginny take Larry to their home and put him in bed. The next morning they fix... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 21
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Ginny finds herself becoming annoyed with Ty. Ty was lucky: his father died just as Ty... (full context)
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In the days following Larry’s accident, the police impound his car, and Ginny sees that it was almost destroyed in Larry’s accident. Ginny’s main source of happiness during... (full context)
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Harold Clark begins to talk about changing his will. One afternoon Ginny is driving Linda and Pammy to the pool, and she runs into Harold while stopping... (full context)
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...Jess, Harold, and Loren come by to drop off some frozen supplies with Ty and Ginny. Jess kisses Ginny when Ty isn’t looking, and tells her to meet him in the... (full context)
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As Jess finishes the delivery and says goodbye to Ginny, he mentions to Ginny that he’s planning to farm organically on Harold’s property after Harold’s... (full context)
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That afternoon, Ginny meets Jess in the dump as they’d planned. They have sex (though Smiley doesn’t describe... (full context)
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Ginny eats dinner with Ty that night, and they discuss having a child. Ginny says she... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 22
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Ty and Ginny plan to expand their equipment so that they can have a hog farm. Their plans... (full context)
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Ginny drives Larry to the chiropractor, who needs to take a look at Larry’s injured back.... (full context)
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At the chiropractor, Ginny tells Larry she’s going to go shopping, but Larry forces her to wait in the... (full context)
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After the appointment, Larry and Ginny go eat dinner, though Ginny isn’t hungry. Larry mutters that Rose and Ginny should show... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 23
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Ginny drives Larry home, and he gets out of the car without saying a word to... (full context)
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Rose calls Ginny at night, saying that Pete’s truck has disappeared; Larry might have taken it. Rose complains... (full context)
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It’s a stormy night, and Ginny entertains her nieces Linda and Pammy by watching TV. Late at night, after the nieces... (full context)
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Larry asks Ginny how she can treat him like this: he’s her father, and deserves her respect. He... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 24
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Ginny has been shocked by her father calling her a whore—she wonders if he could possibly... (full context)
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Rose and Ginny continue talking about Larry. Rose remembers the time after Mrs. Cook died, when Larry would... (full context)
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Rose continues to tell Ginny about Larry’s sexual abuse. In high school, Rose felt that it was her mission to... (full context)
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Ginny doesn’t know what to say to Rose, except, “It didn’t happen to me.” Rose hisses... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 25
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...back from their search for Larry, only to go out again. As she falls asleep, Ginny can’t stop thinking about what she’s just learned: Larry used to sexually abuse Rose. Although... (full context)
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The next morning, Ginny finds Jess waiting for her. As she looks as Jess, she begins to cry. Jess... (full context)
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Later that morning, Ty comes back, very tired. Ginny makes him some breakfast. As she cooks, Ginny imagines herself in a horse’s body, trapped... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 26
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Owning a farm, Ginny thinks, is all about keeping up appearances. So when it becomes clear that there’s a... (full context)
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Ginny dines with Marv Carson, from whom she and Ty are planning to borrow some money... (full context)
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After Marv’s visit, Harold Clark stops by to tell Ginny that there’s a problem: Larry refuses to visit with Ginny or Rose anymore. Ginny insists... (full context)
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For diner, Ty and Ginny host a businessman from Kansas, who’s been talking to them about state-of-the-art farming equipment. The... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 27
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Ginny decides that it’s time for her family to start seeing a psychiatrist: about Larry’s insanity,... (full context)
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Ginny meets with Rose and tells her that it’s time to confront Larry about his abuse.... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 28
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It’s Sunday, and the church holds a huge potluck. Ginny and Rose wear their best clothes and go to church, where they find Larry, looking... (full context)
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Finally, Larry comes to speak with Rose and Ginny. He immediately launches into a description of homes for the elderly, insisting that the conditions... (full context)
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At the potluck, Ginny runs into Jess. Jess reports that his brother Loren went into Mason City. In the... (full context)
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Everybody takes food and sits down to enjoy the meal. Rose and Ginny sit near Larry and Harold and try to make conversation with their father, but he... (full context)
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Rose and Ginny leave the potluck—Harold Clark’s insults have left them unable to talk to their father. The... (full context)
Book 4, Chapter 29
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Ginny remembers her mother. Mrs. Cook was a dedicated, hard-working woman, though not especially smart or... (full context)
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After the disastrous potluck, Jess tells Ginny and Rose that he needs a new place to stay while Larry and Harold calm... (full context)
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Inside the house, Ginny explores the attic and comes across old decorative plates and clothes that belonged to her... (full context)
Book 4, Chapter 30
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Ginny waits for Jess to stop by talk. Strangely, she only sees him twice, and he’s... (full context)
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...of Harold: Jess was jogging, Larry was talking to Marv Carson, Ty was working, and Ginny was driving Pammy. At the hospital, Harold discovers that he’s now blind. (full context)
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Ty tells Ginny about Harold’s blindness, and seems angry that Ginny isn’t more sympathetic. Ginny goes to tell... (full context)
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Jess enters the house, and has a serious talk with Ginny and Rose. Rose accuses Jess of pretending to feel sorry for his father because he... (full context)
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After their conversation, Ginny, Rose, and Jess don’t visit Harold in the hospital at all. When Ginny sees Loren,... (full context)
Book 4, Chapter 31
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Ginny remembers a time when Caroline was fourteen years old. Caroline was performing in a school... (full context)
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Back in the present, Ginny learns that Caroline is helping Larry sue her and Rose, citing the revocation clause of... (full context)
Book 4, Chapter 32
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After her call with Caroline, Ginny feels as if she has the flu. She drives by herself to the Columbus quarry,... (full context)
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Pete and Ginny both agree that they should be getting home soon. As they walk back to their... (full context)
Book 4, Chapter 33
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When Ginny returns home, she finds that Ty has eaten and left the house. She sits outside... (full context)
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The narrative flashes forward to Sunday afternoon: Ginny is in the kitchen, basting a turkey. Ty enters the room carrying some of Ginny’s... (full context)
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Ginny reveals that the clothes are a relic of her most recent miscarriage—she threw her bloody... (full context)
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Ty and Ginny eat dinner with some of their workers, who tell Ty that they’ll be done with... (full context)
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Ty accuses Ginny of hiding secrets from him, and Ginny realizes that lately she’s hated Ty: for talking... (full context)
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Late at night, Ginny wakes up next to Ty. She sneaks out of the house and goes over to... (full context)
Book 4, Chapter 34
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Two days later, Ty and Ginny get a visit from Henry Dodge, the minister. While Ty works outside, Dodge eats a... (full context)
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After Henry Dodge leaves, Ginny decides to drive to the center of Cabot, her town. She goes to an old... (full context)
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While shopping at a store called Roberta’s, Ginny hears Caroline, Larry, and Loren. Without showing herself, Ginny listens as Caroline helps her father... (full context)
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Afterwards, Ginny leaves the store and drives back the town. There, she tells Rose that she overheard... (full context)
Book 5, Chapter 35
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Ginny remembers when she was a child and she ate dozens of baby aspirins. She was... (full context)
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Ginny thinks about one more memory: being fourteen years old, on a Saturday night. Larry had... (full context)
Book 5, Chapter 36
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In Mason City, Ginny, Ty, Rose, and Pete meet with their new lawyer, Jean Cartier. Ginny thinks of Mr.... (full context)
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Back on the farm, Ginny takes Cartier’s advice to heart. She tries her best to make a good appearance. The... (full context)
Book 5, Chapter 37
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The morning after Pete’s death, Rose comes to Ginny’s house and tells her that Pete has “drowned himself.” Ginny is stunned, not because of... (full context)
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Still stunned, Ginny sits down and tries to wrap her head around Pete’s death. As she sits, Linda... (full context)
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Ginny thinks back to her mother’s death. She and her sisters were in school when they... (full context)
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Rose gathers Linda and Pammy and tells them “some really bad news.” Meanwhile, Ginny proceeds with her usual daily routine, designed to keep up appearances at all costs. At... (full context)
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Late at night, Rose calls Ginny and asks her to come over. Ginny remembers that after Rose was diagnosed with cancer,... (full context)
Book 5, Chapter 38
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Immediately after the events of the last chapter, Ginny goes to see Rose, where she finds her sister very drunk. Rose confesses to Ginny... (full context)
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Rose and Ginny walk outside, and Rose admits that her marriage to Pete was sad, even after he... (full context)
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Rose reminds Ginny that Larry used to beat them and have sex with them. As Ginny remembers the... (full context)
Book 5, Chapter 39
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The immediate effect of Ginny’s discovery that Rose is sleeping with Jess is that she thinks she understands everyone in... (full context)
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Ginny also thinks back to the funeral, and her conversations with Jess. Jess was cheerful and... (full context)
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Ty, Ginny realizes, is in a crisis. Without Pete and Larry to help him, he can’t harvest... (full context)
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Ginny describes the various poisons lying around on the average farm. She tries to find an... (full context)
Book 5, Chapter 40
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...men around who’s willing to help Ty). There’s less than a month until Rose and Ginny are set to appear in court. Ginny watches her husband and Jess harvest crops, and... (full context)
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A month goes by, and Caroline and Frank appear in court opposite Ginny and Rose. In court, Caroline ignores her sisters but smiles at Ty, who smiles back.... (full context)
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The hearing begins, and Ginny feels confident that she’ll win: the harvest has been a great success, meaning that, per... (full context)
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...dead.” Caroline, who’s sitting in court rushes to Larry’s side. Larry mutters that Rose and Ginny, “those bitches,” have killed Caroline. Larry says that Caroline used to sing “like a bird,”... (full context)
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...business that he did while in control of Larry’s land. As the hearing moves on, Ginny notices that Jess, who’s sitting in court, seems very cold and calculating. (full context)
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...point of the hearing is to determine if the farmland has been mismanaged—not how poorly Ginny and Rose treated Larry. (full context)
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Marv testifies that the farm is in debt, but only because Ginny and Rose are planning a hog farm that, in Marv’s opinion, will be highly successful.... (full context)
Book 5, Chapter 41
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After the verdict, Rose and Ginny pursue their farming ventures: they have no other choice, since they’re deep in debt. Ginny... (full context)
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Ginny asks Ty for 1000 dollars, and Ty gives it to her; he’s just collected rent... (full context)
Book 6, Chapter 42
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Ginny continues to live at the Saint Paul YMCA, and takes a waitressing job in town.... (full context)
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...half organically, while Ty will convert his half into a hog farm. In February, though, Ginny gets another note from Rose, explaining that Jess has left her. Rose is forced to... (full context)
Book 6, Chapter 43
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Years pass, and Ginny remains in Saint Paul. One day, she waits on a man in a cap, and... (full context)
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At lunch (really more like 10:30 with Ginny’s shift), Ty takes Ginny to lunch. He explains that he’s leaving the farm behind and... (full context)
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Ty explains why he’s here: he wants a divorce. Instead of replying, Ginny accuses Ty of talking to Caroline all those years ago: giving her the information about... (full context)
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Ginny leaves Ty to return to her job. As she returns, she remembers meeting him, years... (full context)
Book 6, Chapter 44
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Ginny continues to get letters and postcards from Rose, and each one infuriates her: they’re proof... (full context)
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One day, Ginny gets a letter from Rose: Rose will be in the hospital in Mason City. Ginny... (full context)
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Ginny reunites with Linda and Pammy, both now teenagers. Ginny has sent them both gifts every... (full context)
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Ginny drives back to see Rose in the hospital, and tells her that Linda and Pammy... (full context)
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Rose tells Ginny what’s going to happen: after she dies, she’s leaving the farmland to Ginny and Caroline,... (full context)
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Ginny tells Rose that she tried to kill her years ago with the jar of poisoned... (full context)
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Rose takes Ginny’s hand and tells her what she thinks about her own life: Rose hasn’t been a... (full context)
Book 6, Chapter 45
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It’s the day Caroline and Ginny are selling the farm. Both sisters are on their soon-to-be-former property, clearing out old silverware... (full context)
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...other people are. Even the baby in the picture could be Rose, or Caroline, or Ginny. (full context)
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Caroline tells Ginny that she can’t understand how Ginny and Rose bankrupted Larry’s farm. She reminds Ginny that... (full context)
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Ginny considers telling Caroline the truth about Larry, but in the end she loses her nerve.... (full context)
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Before she’s gotten far, Ginny turns around and drives back to the farm. She goes down to the cellar and... (full context)
Epilogue
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In the aftermath of Rose’s death and the sale of the farm, Caroline and Ginny find that they owe 34,000 dollars. Caroline pays her half, and Ginny works extra hours,... (full context)
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Ginny is lonely: she meets men, but never anyone like Jess. However, she has “inherited” Linda... (full context)
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Ginny thinks about her other kinds of inheritance. There are farming chemicals—diesel, plant dust, ammonia, etc.—coursing... (full context)
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Finally, Ginny thinks of Larry. She can’t forgive him for anything he did, and she often thinks... (full context)