Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 385
In Ranch of Dreams: The Heartwarming Story of America’s Most Unusual Sanctuary (1997), Cleveland Amory describes his many adventures for the Fund for Animals, which attempts to rescue endangered and abused animals. Many of these animals have been transferred to Amory’s Black Beauty Ranch in East Texas. Amory has acquired a host of mistreated animals, including circus elephants, burros from the Grand Canyon, and even common farm animals like pigs.
In Breaking Clean (2002), Judy Blunt recounts her experiences growing up as an independent tomboy on a Montana cattle ranch in the 1950s and 1960s. However, the gender roles for adult women were very narrow in this rural culture and did not allow her to be anything other than a wife and mother. For twelve years, Blunt suppressed her other desires, before breaking free from her past and leaving the ranch to pursue a new life.
In Heart Songs and Other Stories (1988), Proulx’s first collection of short stories, the author depicts the traditions and rituals of small-town life in her native New England.
In her Pulitzer Prize–winning novel, The Shipping News (1993), Proulx depicts life in the harsh northern climate of Newfoundland, a maritime province of Canada. In the story, R. G. Quoyle, a journalist, returns to this land to start his life over after a failed marriage. In the process, Quoyle experiences a spiritual and psychological renewal.
When Upton Sinclair’s novel The Jungle was first published in 1906, it shocked readers with its graphic depictions of American capitalism, particularly life in Chicago’s meat industry. In the story, Jurgis Rudkus, a Lithuanian immigrant, arrives in Chicago prepared to achieve the American Dream. Instead, he and his family are burdened by hardship and work under inhumane conditions in meatpacking plants, where they witness corruption such as the sale of spoiled or adulterated meat.
In a collection of essays entitled Where Rivers Change Direction (1999), Mark Spragg recounts his life growing up on a ranch in rural Wyoming, a tough existence that forced him to become a man at age eleven. The author worked his family’s land and escorted curious tourists—one of his few interactions with modern life—on camping trips into the Wyoming wilderness. As he grows up, Spragg realizes that he has a profound fear of death, which drives him to distraction.
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