- File Size: 1287 KB
- Print Length: 434 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1461072328
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publication Date: May 16, 2012
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0083Z80AQ
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Not Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,594 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
The Octopus : A story of California Kindle Edition
|New from||Used from|
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Customers who bought this item also bought
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The story about the lives and hardships of the people in the San Joaquin Valley, and the injustice of the railroad is very thought provoking, and I think some of those practices still exist today
the railroad trust at the turn of the century. Together with Norris' "The Pit" it shows how the
great power of the moneyed interests affected the situation of the working classes. The
plot is worthy of five stars, but Norris, even more than in "The Pit", frequently digresses
into romantic and often even mystical reflections which can be difficult for the modern
reader. Still, it is worth the effort.
The Octopus deserves the designation of Great American Novel not only for its exceptional literary merit, but also because it deals with issues that are quintessentially American--a person's right to own land, the right to derive a living from that land, and conversely, the right to pursue great wealth, even at the expense of others. The scope of the novel encompasses the realms of business, agriculture, the press, the arts, politics, and family. It celebrates the beauty of nature, the triumph of love, and the defiance of the human spirit. Whether depicting the small dramas of everyday life or the cataclysmic clash of inevitable forces, Norris's writing is perfect throughout. As the foremost representative of the Naturalist school in American literature, Norris showcases his preternatural ability to accurately depict nature and society in almost photographic detail, yet he also displays a Romanticist's penchant for larger-than-life events and heroic conflict. The result is a gripping novel of ordinary people faced with extraordinary circumstances.
Some critics complain that the stoic, fatalistic tone of the book's epilogue betrays the fiery social consciousness that precedes it. Fellow "muckrakers" like Jack London or Upton Sinclair would have ended the book with a socialist polemic, but Norris refuses to take the easy way out and rightly realizes that such an anthemic ending would belie the book's realism. When one character does seek a socialistic solution to the railroad problem, Norris immediately points out the folly of such a simplistic answer. The Octopus was influenced heavily by the French author Emile Zola's masterwork Germinal, which tells the story of a coal miners' strike. Like Zola, Norris primarily concentrates on the plight of the working class, but also allows the opposing side to be heard, objectively acknowledging that the dispute is not so cut and dried as it appears. The conflict between the railroad and farmers is not merely one of predator and prey, but a manifestation of universal forces which operate above and beyond the lives and deaths of these characters.
Though the famous corporate trusts of the 19th century have come and gone, the struggle between big business and the individual continues, and The Octopus is still relevant. Due to its charged political content, it will probably never be required reading in high school English classes, but it should be. This novel is a masterpiece and should be ready by all.