A Thousand Acres

A Thousand Acres

A Thousand Acres Book 2, Chapter 14 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
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 that it’s her turn to host Larry for dinner, and Rose irritably tells Ginny that she already fed Larry.
As time passes, Rose and Ginny both tire of taking care of their aging father (just like Regan and Goneril in Lear). Rose, the more rebellious of the two of them, cracks first.
Themes
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Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
On Sunday, Ginny honors her promise to herself and calls Caroline. She calls, and Caroline immediately asks if Larry is all right. When Caroline is sure that Larry is fine, she asks Ginny if she and Rose have signed the corporation paperwork, and Ginny says that everything has been taken care of. Ginny guiltily says she had no choice but to sign, and Caroline shoots back that Ginny did have a choice.
Caroline’s attention to Larry’s health and happiness is immediate: the first words out of her mouth are about her father. The scene emphasizes the increasing carelessness with which Ginny and Rose have watched their father (even if we should also keep in mind that Larry has been pushing away from his daughters, too).
Themes
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Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
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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 thinks she’s better than the rest of the family. Preparing for dinner, Ginny imagines Caroline cross-examining her about her decision to sign the corporation papers and take Larry’s money and land. She’s not sure what she would say. At dinner, Ginny stares at Jess, who looks very handsome.
Ginny continues to feel attracted to Jess—he seems to represent “a way out” for Ginny, an escape from the drudgery of life on the farm (and the family quarrel over the inheritance of the farm). Ginny’s guilt grows and grows; it’s as if she senses that, deep down, Caroline is right to attack her for greed.
Themes
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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 is morose—the contrast with the sisters’ dinners with Jess is clear. Larry mentions a freak hailstorm that occurred recently, and says that he drove all the way to Des Moines earlier in the week. He’s curt and brusque with his guests, especially Ginny and Rose.
Larry is becoming increasingly pessimistic following his decision to give up his property. Perhaps he’s always thought of himself one day giving away his land to his children—but now that that day has come, he’s not sure what else to live for, and feels robbed of all his power. Furthermore, Larry seems to continue to love Caroline best, as evidenced by the fact that he keeps trying to visit her.
Themes
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
Appearance vs. Reality Theme Icon
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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 of his own children: he doesn’t have any real money anymore, and that means he doesn’t have any real power over his family. Ginny insists that she feels as if nothing at al has changed: she owns a lot of property, but she hasn’t changed her behavior at all.
Ty seems to have divided loyalties. Even though he criticizes Larry at times, he’s sympathetic to Larry’s condition, and wishes that Ginny and Rose would pay more attention to their father. Ginny and Rose seem to be doing the bare minimum at this point: they treat taking care of Larry as an annoying duty.
Themes
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Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
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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 years. As a young man, he’d been incredibly handsome, and wooed Ginny’s mother with great skill. She also remembers an accident that Harold Clark had in his truck, when she was a little girl. Larry told Ginny to run over to Harold, who was trapped under his own tire, and give him a bottle of whiskey. Then Larry helped pull the truck off of Harold. Ginny cries as she remembers her father: she can barely remember the man her father used to be.
Ginny notices the contrast between her father now and her father as a young man: without his property, Larry is nothing: it’s as if he’s lost a part of his body (maybe even the most important part of his body). Larry has always tried to assert his power and manliness: when Harold is injured, he gives Harold the help he needs, but refuses to be too personally compassionate with his neighbor (he sends Ginny to give Harold the whiskey, instead of doing so himself).
Themes
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Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
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