By Frank Norris
Just like the tentacles of an octopus, the tracks of the railroad reached out throughout California, as though to understand every thing of price within the kingdom according to a precise, bloody dispute among wheat farmers and the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1880, The Octopus is a beautiful 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 nobody during this epic depiction of the risky state of affairs, for the farmers themselves ruthlessly exploited the land, and of their starvation for greater holdings they resorted to a similar strategies utilized by the railroad: subversion, coercion and outright violence. In his creation, Kevin Starr discusses Norris's debt to Zola for the novel's awesome sweep, scale and abundance of characters and info.
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Additional resources for The Octopus: A Story of California: The Epic of Wheat v. 1 (Twentieth Century Classics)
The thick, sweet-smelling lots, bitumen brown within the shadows, corruscated like golden filaments within the gentle. Her organdie frock used to be lengthy, longer than any she had but worn. It left a bit of her neck and breast naked and all of her arm. Annixter muttered an exclamation. Such hands I How did she be capable to preserve them concealed on usual events. significant on the shoulder, tapering with scrumptious modulations to the elbow and wrist, overlaid with a fragile, glowing lustre. As usually as she became her head the flow despatched a sluggish undulation over her neck and shoulders, the light amber-tinted shadows lower than her chin, coming and going over the creamy whiteness of the outside just like the altering moire of silk. the gorgeous rose color of her cheek had deepened to a faded carnation. Annixter, his palms clasped at the back of him, stood observing. In a couple of moments Hilma was once surrounded through a gaggle of younger males, clamouring for dances. They got here from all corners of the barn, leaving the opposite women precipitately, virtually rudely. There can be no doubt as to who used to be to be the belle of the get together. Hilma’s little triumph used to be rapid, entire. Annixter may well listen her voice now and then, its traditional velvety huskiness vibrating to a notice of exuberant gayety. unexpectedly the orchestra swung off right into a march—the Grand March. there has been a very good rush to safe “partners. ” younger Vacca, nonetheless going the rounds, was once driven to 1 aspect. The gayly apparelled clerk from the Bonneville shop misplaced his head within the confusion. He couldn't locate his “ accomplice. ” He roamed wildly in regards to the barn, bewildered, his eyes rolling. He resolved to organize an tricky programme card at the again of an outdated envelope. speedily the road was once shaped, Hilma and Harran Derrick within the lead, Annixter having obstinately refused to interact in both march, set or dance the entire night. quickly the pressured shuffling of toes settled to a measured cadence; the orchestra blared and wailed, the snare drum, rolling at specified periods, the cornet marking the time. It was once half-past 8 o’clock. Annixter drew an extended breath: “ Good,” he muttered, “the factor is less than approach finally. ” Singularly sufficient, Osterman additionally refused to bounce. The week sooner than he had back from la, bursting with the significance of his project. He were profitable. He had Disbrow “in his pocket. ” He used to be impatient to pose prior to the others of the committee as a skilful political agent, a manipulator. He forgot his angle of the early a part of the night while he had drawn recognition to himself together with his awesome outfits. Now his comedian actor’s face, with its brownish-red cheeks, protuberant ears and horizontal slit of a mouth, used to be overcast with gravity. His bald brow used to be seamed with the wrinkles of accountability. He drew Annixter into one of many empty stalls and commenced an complicated rationalization, glib, voluble, interminable, going all over again intimately what he had pronounced to the committee in define. “I managed—I schemed—I stored dark—I lay low—” yet Annixter refused to hear.