The Gilded Age Summary
Mark Twain, Charles Dudley Warner
The Satirical novel was a work of collaboration between Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner. In their work they satirized a society whose serious problems, they felt, had been veiled/disguised by a thin coating of gold and also satirizes greed and political corruption in post–Civil War in America which is now
referred to as the Gilded Age. King Jonh, Shakesspear: "To gild refined gold, to paint the lily... is wasteful and ridiculous excess.
The novel is about a Tennesse family who are about to sell their land in order to become wealthy. Squire Hawkins the father get a letter from Colonel Beriah Sellers asking Hawkins to come to Missouri with his wife, Nancy, and their two children, Emily and Washington. They start to travel west and on their way they stop at a house finding a child suffering close to his death. They adopt him. Later on they find another orphan, a girl. Despite their big family and econimical state they adopt her too, Laura.
The rest of the novel focuses on their adopted daughter Laura. After she moves to Washington in order to become a lobbyist she meets a senator who helps her get in contact with congress. She tries to convince them to make federal government purchase the land but fails. She later kills her married lover but walks free. But sadly after not being able to pursue a career in lecture circuit, broke down and later on died. The eldest son Washington Hawkin later comes to sell the land after not being able to pay 1800 dollar tax.
The settings in the novel moves from Tennessee and Missouri to New York and Washington D.C. The Hawkins family are symbols of the folly countless numbers of ordinary citizens who firmly believed that some magical scheme would leadn them to riches.
The theme of the novel is that the lust for getting rich through land, the common mans role in the "gilded age" when greed and coruption took over politcs. And a lot of hope, At a time of ecomoical crisis the only way for gonverment to avoid labor movements, as workers band together to try to force their collective will regarding work hours, conditions and salary is to make them believe that they can reach the riches