A Thousand Acres

A Thousand Acres

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Tyler “Ty” Smith Character Analysis

The husband of Ginny Cook Smith, Ty Smith is a hardworking, ambitious farmer. Over the course of the book, his allegiances are never entirely clear: there are times when he seems to share his wife’s dreams for developing their land, but there are also times when he seems to agree with Larry and Caroline Cook that Rose and Ginny have been treating their father poorly. Overall Ty is presented as a good husband, though Ginny keeps some of her miscarriages a secret from him and cheats on him with Jess Clark. When Ginny runs away from the farm, Ty stays behind to try and become a hog farmer. Ty corresponds to the character Albany in King Lear.

Tyler “Ty” Smith Quotes in A Thousand Acres

The A Thousand Acres quotes below are all either spoken by Tyler “Ty” Smith or refer to Tyler “Ty” 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 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 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.

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Tyler “Ty” Smith Character Timeline in A Thousand Acres

The timeline below shows where the character Tyler “Ty” Smith 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
...also cooks for Rose and her husband, Pete, and for herself and her own husband, Tyler. She works long, hard days, often waking up at five am. (full context)
King Lear and Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
...chat, 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... (full context)
King Lear and Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
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...knows that he is a deserter. Ginny explains to Jess that she’s been married to Tyler Smith (or Ty, as she calls him) since she was nineteen. After seventeen years, she... (full context)
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Tyler arrives at the party, and greets Jess warmly. The last time Tyler and Jess talked,... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 4
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In bed with Tyler later that night, Ginny thinks about her relationship with Tyler. In the past, Tyler has... (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 off to... (full context)
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Ginny hears Ty driving back: she sees that he’s found Harold and Loren. Another car pulls up, carrying... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 8
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Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
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One night at dinner, Ty and Ginny talk with Larry about their plans to enrich the land Larry has given... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 10
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Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
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...Ginny later that evening and reports that she can see Larry from her house, watching Ty operate a tractor. She suspects that Larry and Ty have had a fight of some... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 11
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...fiancée and mother, and wonders how he’s remained so happy for so long. One evening, Ty comes home with Jess, saying that Jess is staying for dinner; he’s been working for... (full context)
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...when Ginny was a teenager. Jess proceeds to have a lively meal with Ginny and Ty, during which everyone eats noodles, cottage cheese, and other vegetarian dishes, and Jess talks about... (full context)
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Ty suggests that Jess rent out some land next year, and Ginny realizes that Ty likes... (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... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 12
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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 will do about his... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 14
King Lear and Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
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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 big dinner.... (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... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 15
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Before Jess leaves, he asks Ty about an area of land that Ty has been working for a long time. Jess... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 16
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
...about Larry driving all the way to Des Moines by himself. She remembers him praising Ty’s father, also a farmer, for dying of a heart attack instead of living into old... (full context)
King Lear and Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
...clearly hasn’t 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... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 19
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The phone rings and Ty answers it: he reports that Larry has been in a car accident, and he’s in... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 20
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Ginny and Ty drive Larry home, and Larry sits in the back, silent. As Ginny sits in the... (full context)
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Ty and Ginny take Larry to their home and put him in bed. The next morning... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 21
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
Ginny finds herself becoming annoyed with Ty. Ty was lucky: his father died just as Ty was becoming a man, sparing Ty... (full context)
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
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...shortly afterwards, 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... (full context)
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
...he’s planning to farm organically on Harold’s property after Harold’s death. That night, Ginny and Ty have intense sex, but Ginny thinks about Jess the entire time. (full context)
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
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...had an affair before, and also confesses she’s had five miscarriages in the past, though Ty only knows about three of them. Jess suggests, “it’s the water.” (full context)
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
Ginny eats dinner with Ty that night, and they discuss having a child. Ginny says she was wearing a diaphragm... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 22
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
Ty and Ginny plan to expand their equipment so that they can have a hog farm.... (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
...Larry in jail for a few nights to teach him not to drink and drive. Ty and Pete to go search for Larry. (full context)
King Lear and Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
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...nieces Linda and Pammy by watching TV. Late at night, after the nieces are asleep, Ty returns home and tells Rose and Ginny that he’s found Larry: Larry has some things... (full context)
King Lear and Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
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...into the night. Suddenly, it begins to rain, very hard, and the electricity goes out. Ty and Pete stagger into the house, and Ty says that he’s lost sight of Larry... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 24
King Lear and Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
...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 own place... (full context)
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
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...Jess. Inside the house, Rose says that Larry is clearly crazy. The phone rings, and Ty reports that Larry is nowhere to be found. (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 25
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It’s after midnight, and Ty and Pete come back from their search for Larry, only to go out again. As... (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... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 26
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Ginny dines with Marv Carson, from whom she and Ty are planning to borrow some money to expand their farm. Marv tells Ginny the problem:... (full context)
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
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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... (full context)
Book 4, Chapter 30
King Lear and Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
Appearance vs. Reality Theme Icon
...around to take care 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... (full context)
King Lear and Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
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Ty tells Ginny about Harold’s blindness, and seems angry that Ginny isn’t more sympathetic. Ginny goes... (full context)
Book 4, Chapter 31
King Lear and Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
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...stubbornly walked out himself. Caroline hints that she’s heard different, both from Larry and from Ty. Angrily, Ginny reminds Caroline that years ago, she and Rose “did everything for you!” Caroline... (full context)
Book 4, Chapter 33
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Revenge Theme Icon
When Ginny returns home, she finds that Ty has eaten and left the house. She sits outside and watches the building crew that’s... (full context)
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
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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 clothing—clothing that’s covered in “rusty stains,” which she... (full context)
King Lear and Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
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...are a relic of her most recent miscarriage—she threw her bloody clothes away, thinking that Ty would never find them. She considers the fact that it’s still possible that she could... (full context)
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
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Ty and Ginny eat dinner with some of their workers, who tell Ty that they’ll be... (full context)
King Lear and Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
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Ty accuses Ginny of hiding secrets from him, and Ginny realizes that lately she’s hated Ty:... (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 Larry’s house, where Jess Clark... (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... (full context)
Book 5, Chapter 35
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...aspirins. She was rushed to the hospital, and narrowly escaped dying. Ginny also remembers marrying Ty at the age of nineteen. It occurs to her that she never really touched her... (full context)
Book 5, Chapter 36
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
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In Mason City, Ginny, Ty, Rose, and Pete meet with their new lawyer, Jean Cartier. Ginny thinks of Mr. Cartier... (full context)
Book 5, Chapter 37
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...up to Ginny and says, “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... (full context)
Book 5, Chapter 39
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
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...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 imagines... (full context)
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Ty, Ginny realizes, is in a crisis. Without Pete and Larry to help him, he can’t... (full context)
Book 5, Chapter 40
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It’s the middle of September, and Ty prepares for the harvest with the help of Jess (one of the few able-bodied men... (full context)
King Lear and Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
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...in court opposite Ginny and Rose. In court, Caroline ignores her sisters but smiles at Ty, who smiles back. Ginny is struck by how peaceful and happy Caroline and Larry seem... (full context)
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The hearing goes on. Ken manages to enter some evidence of Larry’s corporation agreement, while Ty testifies about the business that he did while in control of Larry’s land. As the... (full context)
Book 5, Chapter 41
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
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...their farming ventures: they have no other choice, since they’re deep in debt. Ginny and Ty are unsure how to feel about their victory: they become increasingly quiet and distant. One... (full context)
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Ginny asks Ty for 1000 dollars, and Ty gives it to her; he’s just collected rent money on... (full context)
Book 6, Chapter 42
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In Rose’s note, she explains that she and Ty divided the farm evenly: Rose and Jess will farm their half organically, while Ty will... (full context)
Book 6, Chapter 43
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...she waits on a man in a cap, and she realizes that the man is Ty. Ginny greets Ty casually and asks how Rose is doing—to Ginny’s surprise, Ty explains that... (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 going to... (full context)
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Ty explains why he’s here: he wants a divorce. Instead of replying, Ginny accuses Ty of... (full context)
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Ginny leaves Ty to return to her job. As she returns, she remembers meeting him, years ago. Ty... (full context)