Dust and heat
Abstract (Summary)On Christmas Eve, 1919, Prescott Freeman returns to his home in Kingston, GA. Having fought in the First World War, Prescott brings with him memories of the horrors he witnessed in the Meuse-Argonne offensive. In a series of flashbacks, Prescott, on a quest for redemption, falls in love with a beautiful young Russian, Natasha, while he is serving President Woodrow Wilson during the Paris Peace Conference. He leaves the conference in 1919 to take her back to Russia, where they are caught up in the civil war in Siberia. While at home in Kingston, he confronts the materialism that his father, Thaddeus, represents. Thaddeus is obsessed not only with the accumulation of wealth, but with an increase in power. The latter obsession manifests itself in terms of class conflict. He and a sharecropper, Morgan Ledbetter, both leaders of their clan, allow their families to disintegrate as a result of their pursuit of wealth. Prescott visits an old friend, a newspaperman named Marcus Stokesbury, who has written a memoir, an account of J. J. McPherson. The memoir becomes a novel within a novel. J. J. also confronts materialism and the struggle for power in the gold and silver fields of Virginia City, Nevada. He, too, embarks on a quest for redemption. The two storylines merge so that it becomes apparent how the materialism of the Captains of Industry during the Gilded Age spreads throughout American society by the 1920s. The era, however, provides only a backdrop. The focus is on individuals like Prescott and J. J., who are willing to exert their independence and endure the dust and heat.
School:The University of Georgia
School Location:USA - Georgia
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Date of Publication: