Under the Lion's Paw

by Hamlin Garland

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In "Under the Lion's Paw," how does the portrayal of Mr. and Mrs. Haskins give them heroic, even mythic status?

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Mr. & Mrs. Haskins are heroic in this story because as victims of unfortunate circumstances, they have lost their farm, they do not lose their hope.  They end up getting a chance to rent a broken down old farm that needs enormous amounts of work just to produce a crop that will support the family.

Mr. Haskins meets the challenge, working, toiling, with the help of his neighbors, and turns the farm into a profitable operation, making enormous improvements.  The landlord upon seeing the improved condition of the farm becomes greedy, realizing that he could easily rent or sell it now that it has been transformed.

Mr. Haskins confronts evil, in the form of Butler, and although tempted to commit murder, resists the primal urge and humbles himself as a sacrifice to save his family.  He does not kill Butler, rather he agrees to pay the higher price for the farm. 

As far as mythic status, the author was determined to portray the real hardships that farmers in the Mid-West faced.  

The Haskins are symbols for the struggle of the American farmer against corruption and greed.  The author desired to show how ordinary people are the real heroes because of their commitment to hard work and a moral lifestyle.  These qualities, in particular, are what allowed them to survive and thrive in the most difficult of circumstances.

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