A Thousand Acres

A Thousand Acres

A Thousand Acres Book 3, Chapter 23 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Ginny drives Larry home, and he gets out of the car without saying a word to his daughter. At home, Ginny plans a dinner with one of the businessmen she’s been talking to about the hog farm, a confinement building man from Kansas.
Notice the contrast between the way Ginny plans ahead for her meal with the businessmen from Kansas and her indifference to her meals with Larry: the former is a “passion project” and the latter is an unappealing duty.
Themes
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
Appearance vs. Reality 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 put Larry in jail for a few nights to teach him not to drink and drive. Ty and Pete to go search for Larry.
In this important chapter, Larry takes things too far, riding off on his own into the night. The simmering family tensions finally burst in a dramatic action.
Themes
King Lear and Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
It’s a stormy night, and Ginny entertains her 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 to tell his daughters. Rose and Ginny come outside, holding hands. Larry is standing outside; he yells that he’d rather stand outside in the storm than go back to either his own house or one of his daughters’ houses. Rose, infuriated, tells Larry, “Do whatever you want,” and Larry calls her a bitch. As Larry and his daughters argue, Pete pulls up, driving his pickup truck.
Ginny, as usual, seems closer to her nieces than their own mother is. It’s important to contrast the way Ginny acts around her nieces with the way Larry behaves in front of his two daughters: in spite of passing on his own property to them, he regards them as weak and incompetent, and his obvious sexism is evidenced by the way he calls Rose a “bitch” in his moment of anger. The tables have turned: where before Larry had all the power, now Larry himself is struggling for freedom and independence (even stealing someone else’s truck).
Themes
King Lear and Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
Revenge Theme Icon
Larry asks Ginny how she can treat him like this: he’s her father, and deserves her respect. He calls her a whore, and he warns her that her own children will treat her just as horribly when 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 hard, and the electricity goes out. Ty and Pete stagger into the house, and Ty says that he’s lost sight of Larry altogether.
The word “whore” triggers a long series of flashbacks for Ginny, though they don’t yet arrive in this scene. Larry’s attitude around his daughters suggests that he’s always regarded them as incompetent women and sexual objects. This passage is based on the scene in King Lear in which Regan and Goneril cast their father out into the storm, where he rages about and finally succumbs to madness. Here, of course, we see things from the point of view of the daughters, not “Lear” himself.
Themes
King Lear and Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Women, Sexual Abuse, and Fertility Theme Icon
Inheritance, Land, and Memory Theme Icon
Revenge Theme Icon
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