Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
A Son of the Middle Border begins with the same incident used in “The Return of a Private,” probably Hamlin Garland’s most popular short story, but more than twenty-six years separates the writing of the two versions. The discrepancies between the two may be caused by Garland’s habit of squeezing as much publication out of his materials as possible or by Garland’s tender age when his father returned from the Civil War. There is little doubt, however, about the main lines of his life from 1865 to 1893. The repetition of material chiefly shows that the two series of works for which Garland is best known begin with the earliest remembered dramatic incident in his life and that later reflection showed him some of the depths of meaning contained in that incident. Garland was four or five years old when his father returned from the war; he was thirty when he first published his short story and fifty-seven when he published A Son of the Middle Border. This was the first of four volumes of family history that won the Pulitzer Prize in 1921 and reestablished his career as a writer. The other three volumes are A Daughter of the Middle Border (1921), the story of his marriage and life until 1914; Trail-Makers of the Middle Border (1926), the story of his family before 1865; and Back-Trailers from the Middle Border (1928), the history of the family after 1914.
Although the Middle Border is Minnesota, Wisconsin,...
(The entire section is 1400 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of A Son of the Middle Border Summary. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!