A Thousand Acres

A Thousand Acres

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Monopoly Symbol Icon

After Rose Cook Lewis and Ginny Cook Smith inherit their father’s property, they strike up a family tradition in which they play a nightly game of Monopoly with their husbands, as well as with Jess Clark. The game is extremely enjoyable for all concerned, but it also symbolizes the characters’ latent desire for power and property (and allows them to access these desires behind the façade of a game). Their enjoyment of the Monopoly game—and the other characters’ fascination with it—is an early sign that the Cook family will be torn apart by greed and acquisitiveness (after all, a game of Monopoly ends when one person has all the wealth and everybody else is broke).

Monopoly Quotes in A Thousand Acres

The A Thousand Acres quotes below all refer to the symbol of Monopoly. 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 2, Chapter 12 Quotes

“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.

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Monopoly Symbol Timeline in A Thousand Acres

The timeline below shows where the symbol Monopoly appears in A Thousand Acres. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 2, Chapter 12
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
...invites Rose and Pete over, and everyone—Ty, Ginny, Rose, Pete, and Jess—plays a game of Monopoly. Everyone has a great time: Jess and Pete tell stories, and Jess’s presence in particular... (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 that Pete... (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... (full context)
King Lear and Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
Appearance vs. Reality Theme Icon
At Monopoly night, Ginny and Rose talk about Larry’s expensive, irresponsible orders, and Rose notes that Ginny... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 15
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
Appearance vs. Reality Theme Icon
...thinks. He loves showing off with his new tractor, annoying Larry greatly. One night over Monopoly, Jess points out that Harold is a lot sharper and more manipulative than he lets... (full context)
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 changing around his will.... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 19
King Lear and Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
One Monopoly night, Ginny and her family learn that Caroline has gotten married to Frank in Des... (full context)
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
Revenge Theme Icon
Rose angrily stands up from the Monopoly game and throws the board to the ground, infuriating Pete. Ginny remembers that Pete used... (full context)