By Frank Norris
Just like the tentacles of an octopus, the tracks of the railroad reached out throughout California, as though to know every thing of worth within the kingdom in response to a precise, bloody dispute among wheat farmers and the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1880, The Octopus is a gorgeous novel of the waning days of the frontier West. To the tough-minded and self-reliant farmers, the monopolistic, land-grabbing railroad represented every thing they despised: consolidation, association, conformity. yet Norris idealizes not anyone during this epic depiction of the unstable scenario, for the farmers themselves ruthlessly exploited the land, and of their starvation for greater holdings they resorted to an analogous strategies utilized by the railroad: subversion, coercion and outright violence. In his advent, Kevin Starr discusses Norris's debt to Zola for the novel's notable sweep, scale and abundance of characters and info.
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Extra resources for The Octopus: A Story of California: The Epic of Wheat v. 1 (Twentieth Century Classics)
What if this have been his likelihood, finally, come eventually in the end those years. His probability! The instincts of the old-time gambler, the main redoubtable poker participant of El Dorado County, stirred on the observe. probability ! to understand it while it got here, to know it because it handed fleet as a wind-flurry, grip at it, trap at it, blind, reckless, staking all upon the chance of the problem, that was once genius. was once this his likelihood ? out of the blue, it looked as if it would him that it used to be. yet his honour! His loved, lifelong integrity, the unstained purity of his rules? At this overdue date, have been they to be sacrificed? might he now pass counter to the entire company outfitted cloth of his personality? How, later on, may he undergo to appear Harran and Lyman within the face? And, yet—and, yet—back swung the pendulum—to forget his likelihood intended failure; a lifestyles all started in promise, and resulted in obscurity, possibly in financial disaster, poverty even. to grab it intended fulfillment, repute, impact, status, almost certainly nice wealth. “ i'm so sorry to interrupt,” acknowledged Mrs. Derrick, as she got here up. “ i am hoping Mr. Annixter will excuse me, yet i need Magnus to open the secure for me. i've got misplaced the mix, and that i should have a few funds. Phelps goes into city, and that i wish him to pay a few accounts for me. Can’t you return straight away, Magnus ? Phelps is prepared and ready. ” Annixter struck his heel into the floor with a suppressed oath. consistently those idiot feemale girls got here among him and his plans, blending themselves up in his affairs. Magnus have been at the very aspect of claiming anything, might be committing himself to a couple plan of action, and, at exactly the fallacious second, his spouse had minimize in. the chance was once misplaced. the 3 again towards the ranch condominium; yet earlier than announcing goodbye, Annixter had secured from Magnus a promise to the impact that, earlier than coming to a distinct determination within the topic below dialogue, he might speak additional with him. Presley met him on the porch. He used to be going into city with Phelps, and proposed to Annixter that he may still accompany them. “ i need to head over and spot previous Broderson,” Annixter objected. yet Presley trained him that Broderson had long gone to Bonneville prior within the morning. He had noticeable him pass previous in his buckboard. the 3 males trigger, Phelps and Annixter on horseback, Presley on his bicycle. once they had long past, Mrs. Derrick sought out her husband within the place of work of the ranch residence. She used to be at her prettiest that morning, her cheeks flushed with pleasure, her blameless, wide-open eyes virtually girlish. She had fixed her hair, nonetheless wet, with a black ribbon tied in the back of her head, and the gentle mass of sunshine brown reached to less than her waist, making her glance very younger. “ What used to be it he was once announcing to you simply now,” she exclaimed, as she got here during the gate within the green-painted cord railing of the place of work. “ What was once Mr. Annixter announcing? i do know. He was once attempting to get you to affix him, attempting to convince you to be cheating, wasn’t that it? inform me, Magnus, wasn’t that it? ” Magnus nodded. His spouse drew just about him, placing a hand on his shoulder.