It was not an assigned text, though it was one that he clearly favored. I liked the professor very much; he was an impressively learned old school man who lectured with confident ease on a broad canvas about philosophical, political, and social currents that formed the backdrop of whatever works we happened to be reading.
A Story of California is a novel by Frank Norris and was meant to be the first part of an uncompleted trilogy, The Epic of the Wheat. It describes the wheat industry in California, and the conflicts between wheat growers and a railway company. In the novel he depicts the tensions between the railroad, the ranchers and the ranchers' League.
The book emphasized the control of "forces"—such as the power of railroad monopolies—over individuals. Some editions of the work give the subtitle as alternatively, A California Story. Origins Following the release and subsequent success of Norris' McTeagueNorris began searching for an idea for his next project.
Within a few weeks he had formulated his idea for a trilogy of novels on the topic of wheat, his 'Epic of the Wheat', from its growth in California which would be the basis of The Octopusto its distribution in Chicago The Pitpublished posthumously into its consumption in a famished region of Europe or Asia intended to be titled The Wolf, although never begun before his death.
The Octopus itself was based on the Mussel Slough Tragedy ofwhich involved a bloody conflict between ranchers and law agents defending the Southern Pacific Railroad.
The central issue was over the ownership of the ranches, which the farmers had leased from the railroad nearly ten years earlier with intentions of eventually purchasing the land.
Norris decided upon the project in Marchand by early April had left for California to research the project.
He returned to New York that fall, and between January and December wrote the manuscript for The Octopus, which was published the following April with substantial success. Frederick Keller 's "The Curse of California", which appeared in The Wasp on August 19,is the likely origin of the depiction of the Southern Pacific Railroad monopoly as an octopus.
The railroad attempts to take possession of the land the farmers have been improving for many years, forcing them to defend themselves. The wheat farmers are represented by Magnus Derrick, the reluctant leader of the ad hoc farmers' League designed to fight for retention of their land and low-cost freight rates.
Behrman serves as the local representative of P. In his attempt at writing his great epic poem, Presley witnesses the disintegration of Annixter, Derrick, Hooven, and their families.
Characters Presley — A poet searching for a plot, as well as a surveyor of the dilemma between the ranchers and the railroad. The novel begins with him, riding his bicycle across the countryside, and ends with him as well. He lives on Los Muertos with the Derricks as a friend of the family.
Harran Derrick — Son of Magnus, Harran aids his father on the ranch. It is Harran who persuades Magnus to head the League. Along with his father he is part of the inner circle of the ranchers' League. Lyman is contracted by the League to represent the farmers on the state Railroad Commission, which decides on transport rates.
Annixter — Owner and operator of the Quien Sabe Rancho, Annixter is a young, headstrong confirmed bachelor who, over the course of the novel, matures into a soft-hearted, selfless man, largely due to his developing interest in Hilma Tree.
Part of the inner circle of the League. Vanamee — Long-time friend of Presley, Vanamee is a wanderer haunted by the tragic, violent death of a love interest, Angele Varian, years before.
In the novel he works on different ranches and spends a great deal of time at the Mission San Juan de Guadalajara, where Angele had been murdered. The novel compares Vanamee to biblical prophets, as he has a strong spiritual aspect. Behrman — In addition to being a banker, real estate agent, and a political boss, S.
Behrman is vilified by his representation of the railroad. As such, he is despised by the ranchers. Other important characters include: Reception "The Octopus" is a novel of crude and almost barbaric force; showing in many parts the deep impress of Zola both in method and manner, but disclosing also great vigour of imagination, dramatic feeling and a deep sense of reality.
If it be true that it is not wisely described as an epic, it is equally true that it is a powerful and tragic piece of fiction. Even today the image of an octopus is used to describe big monopolies such as MicroSoft, Google, FaceBook, and Amazon.
The novel points to shifting perceptions of scale in our times. It portrays a system of power to which humans become increasingly indifferent.The Depiction of Conflict Between Farmers and the Railroad in Frank Norris' "The Octopus".
But, to put it in context, it is written about the conflict between farmers, mostly large farmers, in California and their struggles against the railroad which was charging high rates - being a monopoly, and having political influence allowing them to withstand court cases against them/5(15). It looks like you've lost connection to our server.
Please check your internet connection or reload this page. Unlike most editing & proofreading services, we edit for everything: grammar, spelling, punctuation, idea flow, sentence structure, & more. Get started now! 1 Excerpted and edited from Frank Norris, The Octopus, published in This novel was a fictional depiction of the relationship between western farmers and the railroad.
The Octopus depicts the conflict between wheat farmers in the San Joaquin Valley and the Pacific and Southwestern railroad (P&SW). The railroad attempts to take possession of the land the farmers have been improving for many years, forcing them to .