`OCTOPUS' REACHES THROUGH A CENTURY.Byline: Bernadette Murphy Special to the Daily News
The saga of the corporate giant - the impersonal, faceless business that sends you to voice-mail purgatory purgatory (pûrg`ətôr'ē) [Lat.,=place of purging], in the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, the state after death in which the soul destined for heaven is purified. when you want a simple question answered, or the small, seemingly local company that is in fact owned by a massive multinational concern - would seem to be a phenomenon of this time, particular to this decade as to none previous.
With Frank Norris' epic California novel ``The Octopus,'' however, it becomes clear that history is indeed repeating itself; we see that the archetypal ar·che·type
1. An original model or type after which other similar things are patterned; a prototype: "'Frankenstein' . . . 'Dracula' . . . 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' . . . David-vs.-Goliath story was being acted out at the turn of the last century between wheat farmers and the railroad. This tale, in which the individual is pitted against the corporation, raises issues similar to those being faced today. The novel and what it says about this era of corporate mergers will be examined this evening on ``StoryLines California'' public radio program.
In the story of ``The Octopus,'' the overpowering o·ver·pow·er·ing
So strong as to be overwhelming: an overpowering need for solitude.
o greed of the Pacific and Southwestern Railroad Southwestern Railroad could refer to:
According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. program co-host Lynell George, when the vehicle of devastation is a faceless corporation, as it is in this novel, ``there's no one person who can be reached for assistance.'' Before the corporation assumed total control, the farmers were able to deal person-to-person, but ``when this huge monolithic machine swoops Swoops are a chocolate candy manufactured by The Hershey Company. They are potato-chip shaped, and come in many candybar flavors. These flavors are as follows. Hershey's Milk Chocolate, Almond Joy, Reese's Peanut Butter, York Peppermint Pattie, White Chocolate Reeses, and Toffee in and pretty much takes over, there is no one person the farmers can go to in order to stop it.'' George explained that the actual people responsible for the destruction don't see themselves as villains because they can put the blame on the bank, or in this case, the railroad.
``We'll see some of these issues again in next week's book, `The Grapes of Wrath,' when outside entities are blamed in order to avoid personal responsibility,'' she said.
The story is told in ``vignettes of various people,'' George said. ``The farmers themselves, who head up the resistance; a poet who is living on one of the farms; and a mystic who is also a farmer and sheepherder. Vanamee, the mystic character, is `the moral center of the book, a strange and weird spiritual guide' '' that author Norris uses to weave in the morality he's trying to express.
``The novel was written to make a point, as opposed to just tell a story,'' said David L. Ulin, StoryLines co-host. ``Norris was writing with a specific social agenda in mind.'' In this way, Ulin says ``The Octopus'' is a social novel, along the lines of Theodore Dreiser's ``Sister Carrie Sister Carrie (1900) is a novel by Theodore Dreiser about a young country girl who moves to the big city where she starts realizing her own American Dream by first becoming a mistress to powerful men and later as a famous actress. ,'' a turn-of-the-century work that examined the limited opportunities for women in late 19th-century America.
This evening's discussion will focus on how the novel speaks to current-day issues, as well as what it says about our state's history. George and Ulin will be joined by Dr. Kevin Starr Kevin Starr (born 3 September 1940 in San Francisco) is an American historian, best-known for his multi-volume series on the history of California, collectively called "America and the California Dream". , the California State Librarian, and Paul Hammond Paul Hammond is a retire U.S.-English soccer goalkeeper.
On January 13, 1971, Hammond signed as an apprentice with English First Division club Crystal Palace. He remained on the Palace youth team until first team keeper, John Jackson was injured in 1972. from the Museum of Railroad History in Sacramento to consider these points. Listeners are encouraged to call in at (800) 473-4006 with comments and questions.