A Thousand Acres

A Thousand Acres

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The husband of Rose Cook Lewis, Pete is a talented musician, and not a native of Rose’s community. As an outsider among stoic farmers, he’s often treated like a mere “tourist,” even after he settles down with Rose. Though he seems charismatic and friendly in general, Pete also drinks a lot and beats Rose sometimes, to the point where he breaks her arm—and after this his abuse supposedly stops. Pete dies—whether by accident or suicide we never know—when he learns that Rose is having an affair with Jess Clark. Pete corresponds to the character Cornwall in King Lear.

Pete Lewis Quotes in A Thousand Acres

The A Thousand Acres quotes below are all either spoken by Pete Lewis or refer to Pete Lewis . 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 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.

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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.)

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Pete Lewis Character Timeline in A Thousand Acres

The timeline below shows where the character Pete Lewis appears in A Thousand Acres. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 1, Chapter 2
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
...alone now that his wife is dead. She also cooks for Rose and her husband, Pete, and for herself and her own husband, Tyler. She works long, hard days, often waking... (full context)
King Lear and Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
...they see a car pulling up to the house. Out of the car step Tyler, Pete, and–unexpectedly—Caroline. When the group walks through the door, Caroline doesn’t walk toward the narrator and... (full context)
King Lear and Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Appearance vs. Reality Theme Icon
...senior, and very well mannered. He gets along well with Ginny’s father, in contrast to Pete Lewis, Rose’s husband, who often quarrels with Ginny’s father. (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 5
King Lear and Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Appearance vs. Reality Theme Icon
Ginny thinks back to Rose’s decision to marry Pete. Ginny was impressed with Pete, since Pete was handsome and charming, as well as a... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 6
King Lear and Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
...up his property in order to get rich quick. Caroline walks off with Rose and Pete, who drive her away from the church. As Ginny watches her sisters drive away, she... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 7
King Lear and Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
Revenge Theme Icon
...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. (full context)
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
Appearance vs. Reality Theme Icon
...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.... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 12
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
...town tomorrow to pick up Linda and Pammy from boarding school. Ginny invites Rose and Pete over, and everyone—Ty, Ginny, Rose, Pete, and Jess—plays a game of Monopoly. Everyone has a... (full context)
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
Revenge Theme Icon
Pete plays Monopoly aggressively, spending all his money on property instead of saving it. Ginny notices... (full context)
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
Revenge Theme Icon
Appearance vs. Reality Theme Icon
One night, Jess comes over for Monopoly with Rose and Pete, and says that Harold is planning to remodel his house using concrete in the kitchen—a... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 14
King Lear and Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
Back at Rose’s home, Ginny finds Ty, Rose, and Pete. Rose tells Ginny that Jess is coming over for a big dinner. Ginny reminds Rose... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 15
King Lear and Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
Pete, who’s also playing Monopoly, announces that he’s talked to Harold recently: Harold is thinking about... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 16
King Lear and Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
...gone well. By passing on his land to his daughters, and therefore to Ty and Pete, Larry has found himself becoming increasingly irrelevant to the lives of his loved ones. Caroline... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 19
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
Revenge Theme Icon
...angrily 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... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 23
King Lear and Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
Rose calls Ginny at night, saying that Pete’s truck has disappeared; Larry might have taken it. Rose complains that the police should have... (full context)
King Lear and Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
Revenge Theme Icon
...whatever you want,” and Larry calls her a bitch. As Larry and his daughters argue, Pete pulls up, driving his pickup truck. (full context)
King Lear and Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
Revenge Theme Icon
...she’s old. Rose pulls Ginny into the house. Ginny sees that outside, Larry has punched Pete in the face and walked away, into the night. Suddenly, it begins to rain, very... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 24
King Lear and Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
...hard, and the family is trying to figure out what to do about Larry. Eventually, Pete and Ty agree to go check if Larry has found his way back to his... (full context)
King Lear and Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
Revenge Theme Icon
Appearance vs. Reality Theme Icon
...to pleasure him. Rose has told few people about her father’s sexual abuse: she told Pete after Pete broke her arm. She even sent her daughters away to boarding school so... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 25
King Lear and Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Appearance vs. Reality Theme Icon
It’s after midnight, and Ty and Pete come back from their search for Larry, only to go out again. As she falls... (full context)
King Lear and Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
Appearance vs. Reality Theme Icon
...Larry was yelling about Rose and Ginny being whores. Jess also mentions that he and Pete had an argument: Pete didn’t want to keep looking for Larry, but Jess insisted that... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 26
King Lear and Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
Revenge Theme Icon
Appearance vs. Reality Theme Icon
...sister treat their father well, even though he’s a drunk and a thief (he stole Pete’s truck). Harold tells Ginny that Larry is staying with him for now, but that Ginny... (full context)
Book 4, Chapter 32
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
Appearance vs. Reality Theme Icon
...come to hate her and her sister for mistreating Larry. At the quarry, she sees Pete. They talk in a friendly way, and Ginny tells him about her lawsuit. Without answering,... (full context)
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Appearance vs. Reality Theme Icon
Pete and Ginny both agree that they should be getting home soon. As they walk back... (full context)
Book 5, Chapter 36
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
Revenge Theme Icon
Appearance vs. Reality Theme Icon
In Mason City, Ginny, Ty, Rose, and Pete meet with their new lawyer, Jean Cartier. Ginny thinks of Mr. Cartier as a skilled... (full context)
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
Revenge Theme Icon
Appearance vs. Reality Theme Icon
...her land and home that she barely notices the days going by. However, in August, Pete has an argument with Harold. He yells at Harold and points a gun at him.... (full context)
Book 5, Chapter 37
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Appearance vs. Reality Theme Icon
The morning after Pete’s death, Rose comes to Ginny’s house and tells her that Pete has “drowned himself.” Ginny... (full context)
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
Revenge Theme Icon
Appearance vs. Reality Theme Icon
Still stunned, Ginny sits down and tries to wrap her head around Pete’s death. As she sits, Linda and Pammy wake up and greet Ginny, asking her to... (full context)
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
...nothing she can do for Linda and Pammy to make their lives easier now that Pete is dead. (full context)
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
Appearance vs. Reality Theme Icon
...“This is a big place for one guy to farm.” Ty gives a eulogy for Pete, in which he calls Pete a hard worker and a loving husband. (full context)
Book 5, Chapter 38
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
...where she finds her sister very drunk. Rose confesses to Ginny that she’s furious with Pete for traumatizing their children. Rose insists on cleaning the house, even though it’s very late... (full context)
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Revenge Theme Icon
Appearance vs. Reality Theme Icon
Rose and Ginny walk outside, and Rose admits that her marriage to Pete was sad, even after he stopped beating her. She slept with other men, and has... (full context)
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Revenge Theme Icon
Appearance vs. Reality Theme Icon
...Ginny accuses Rose of taking everything for herself, and Rose agrees, smirking. Ginny thinks of Pete drowning, and guesses that his last thoughts were of Rose “crushing him.” (full context)
Book 5, Chapter 39
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
Revenge Theme Icon
Appearance vs. Reality Theme Icon
...thinks she understands everyone in her life now. In turn, she thinks of Larry, Caroline, Pete, Ty, and Rose. When she thinks of Rose, she imagines her sleeping with Jess, and... (full context)
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
Ty, Ginny realizes, is in a crisis. Without Pete and Larry to help him, he can’t harvest 1000 acres all by himself. He tries... (full context)