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His Own People   By: (1869-1946)

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In "His Own People" by Booth Tarkington, readers are transported to the late 19th century and introduced to the complex world of small-town America. The story follows the life of Sheridan Kerry, a successful lawyer who, despite his achievements, constantly feels a sense of alienation from the society he was born into.

Tarkington's vivid descriptions bring the town of Kingsbridge to life, immersing readers in the sights and sounds of an era long gone. The small-town setting serves as a microcosm of society's rigid social norms, and as the story unfolds, it becomes clear that these norms are the very source of Sheridan's discontentment.

The protagonist's journey in search of personal fulfillment and connection is at the heart of the narrative, drawing readers into his struggles and introspection. As Sheridan navigates social expectations and familial obligations, Tarkington delves deep into the human psyche, exploring themes of identity, ambition, and the clash between individuality and conformity.

Tarkington's prose is elegant and thought-provoking, effortlessly capturing the inner turmoil and complexities of his characters. His keen observations of human nature and societal dynamics lend authenticity and depth to the narrative, making it both relatable and timeless.

The supporting cast of characters adds richness to the story, each representing different aspects of small-town life and imparting valuable insights on the human condition. From Sheridan's steadfast childhood friend Hiram, to the enigmatic and unconventional Rosalie, these characters serve as nuanced foils to Sheridan's own struggles, adding layers of complexity to the overarching themes.

While the plot unfolds at a leisurely pace, it is the introspective nature of the novel that truly captivates. Tarkington's exploration of Sheridan's moral dilemmas, his internal battles, and the choices he faces in a restrictive society make for a deeply introspective reading experience.

"His Own People" is undoubtedly a classic piece of American literature, capturing the essence of an era where societal expectations and personal desires clash in a profound and moving way. Tarkington's ability to explore the inner depths of his characters, combined with his skillful rendering of small-town life, make this novel a riveting and thought-provoking read.

First Page:


by Booth Tarkington

I. A Change of Lodging

The glass domed "palm room" of the Grand Continental Hotel Magnifique in Rome is of vasty heights and distances, filled with a mellow green light which filters down languidly through the upper foliage of tall palms, so that the two hundred people who may be refreshing or displaying themselves there at the tea hour have something the look of under water creatures playing upon the sea bed. They appear, however, to be unaware of their condition; even the ladies, most like anemones of that gay assembly, do not seem to know it; and when the Hungarian band (crustacean like in costume, and therefore well within the picture) has sheathed its flying tentacles and withdrawn by dim processes, the tea drinkers all float out through the doors, instead of bubbling up and away through the filmy roof. In truth, some such exit as that was imagined for them by a young man who remained in the aquarium after they had all gone, late one afternoon of last winter. They had been marvelous enough, and to him could have seemed little more so had they made such a departure. He could almost have gone that way himself, so charged was he with the uplift of his belief that, in spite of the brilliant strangeness of the hour just past, he had been no fish out of water... Continue reading book >>

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