The Octopus: A Story Of California by Frank NorrisThe Octopus: A Story Of California by Frank Norris

The Octopus: A Story Of California

byFrank NorrisIntroduction byKevin Starr

Paperback | August 1, 1994


Like the tentacles of an octopus, the tracks of the railroad reached out across California, as if to grasp everything of value in the state Based on an actual, bloody dispute between wheat farmers and the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1880, The Octopus is a stunning novel of the waning days of the frontier West. To the tough-minded and self-reliant farmers, the monopolistic, land-grabbing railroad represented everything they despised: consolidation, organization, conformity. But Norris idealizes no one in this epic depiction of the volatile situation, for the farmers themselves ruthlessly exploited the land, and in their hunger for larger holdings they resorted to the same tactics used by the railroad: subversion, coercion and outright violence. In his introduction, Kevin Starr discusses Norris's debt to Zola for the novel's extraordinary sweep, scale and abundance of characters and details.
Frank Norris (1870–1902) was an American journalist and novelist. Among his novels are McTeague, The Octopus: A Story of California, and The Pit. His fiction is classified under naturalism and has been compared to the works of Émile Zola, Stephen Crane, and Edith Wharton.Kevin Starr (1940 - 2017) was an American historian and Californi...
Title:The Octopus: A Story Of CaliforniaFormat:PaperbackDimensions:688 pages, 7.78 × 5.09 × 1.5 inPublished:August 1, 1994Publisher:Penguin Publishing Group

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0140187707

ISBN - 13:9780140187700

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From Our Editors

The railroad tracks stretched out across California like an octopus’ tentacles, trying to grab everything valuable in the state. A remarkable novel of the frontier West’s declining days, Frank Norris’ The Octopus was inspired by a true-life battle between wheat farmers and the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1880. The monopolistic, land-grabbing railroad symbolized everything that independent, strong-willed farmers hated: conformity, organization and consolidation. Rather than taking sides however, Norris paints an unbiased picture of the situation. Farmers too exploited the land after all and in their desire for larger holdings, used many of the railroad’s own tactics: rebellion, oppression and violence.