What is the summary of "Leiningen Versus the Ants?"What are the details of the story?

1 Answer

ladyvols1's profile pic

ladyvols1 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

Leiningen owns a plantation in Brazil. He is an arrogant man and refuses to flee an army of ants marching toward his farm.  They eat anything in their path. He refuses to give up years of hard work  to "an act of God." He gets his workers, tells them about the ants. Though the natives are scared, the remain.  "The ants were indeed mighty, but not so mighty as the boss."  Despite setbacks and being offered dismissal with full pay, none of the men leave Leiningen. They fight the ants all day. Leiningen uses a system of levees, moats and "decoy" fields to fight the ants.  He draws some of the ants off to a valueless fallow field, while keeping a large portion of the others off of the central compound with a system of defensive canals. The ants are initially unable to cross over, but soon manage to build bridges on the bodies of ants who mindlessly sacrifice themselves.  As the bridges of ant corpses begins to reach the near side of the canals, Leiningen opens a series of sluice gates, to increase the flow of water, and wash away the prior ant bridges. He also uses petroleum to burn the ants.  In the end, he floods his plantation, destroying the ants and reducing his plantation to waterlogged rubble and ruined crops. The ants are defeated, but not without great injuries to Leiningen.