Frank Yerby’s The Garfield Honor was published in 1961. Well-written potboiler serving as allegory of the 1870s Texas frontier expansion crushing the souls of both those literally expelled but also those doing the expelling. The language is strong. My hunch, although I’m no literary scholar, is that Yerby did this on purpose: the attitudes of the white settlers were not “brave freedom loving individualism” but rather “those other people are just a shade higher than dogs, and so should be treated as such.” Yerby inserts the complex (soap opera, for sure) interpersonal relationships into this background of moral bankruptcy. Darwin Turner expressed my perspective on Yerby well: “Ideas– bitter ironies, caustic debunkings, painful gropings for meaning– writhe behind the soap-opera facade of his fiction.”
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