The novel opens with a two-and-a-half page description of the highway from the capital city to Mason City. This description is important because it does more than simply tell us about a highway; it tells us a good deal about a particular part of the state, the part of the state in which Willie Stark grew up. The dominating impression is of the heat, the heat that shimmers up from the roadway and obscures whatever is further down the road. It is a heat that dazzles people and makes them forget what they are doing. (This shimmering mirage-like quality of the roadway in the heat is also characteristic of the way that Jack Burden views life and experience.) A second quality of this highway is that it is new; it is a road on which cars can whiz along at high speed, unlike the bumpy, rutted dirt road that Jack later describes when he tells of his first trip to Mason City fourteen years earlier. Along the highway, during this trip in 1936, are the cotton fields worked by blacks, and these fields
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This note was uploaded on 11/23/2011 for the course ENG 101 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at Texas State.