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A Thousand Acres | Chapter Summaries

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Timeline of Events

  • 1957

    When Ginny is 14, Rose is 12, and Caroline is 6, their mother dies.

    Book 1, Chapter 4
  • c. 1958–61

    First Ginny and then Rose are sexually abused by their father, Larry.

    Book 3, Chapter 24
  • 1967 to 1978

    Ginny suffers five miscarriages, the most recent at Thanksgiving 1977.

    Book 1, Chapter 2
  • February 1979

    Rose is diagnosed with breast cancer on Valentine's Day.

    Book 1, Chapter 2
  • Late May 1979

    Larry says he will give the farm to his daughters; he is infuriated when Caroline expresses doubt.

    Book 1, Chapter 4
  • Late June 1979

    Larry wrecks his truck while driving drunk and is taken to the emergency room.

    Book 3, Chapter 19
  • Late June 1979

    Ginny has sex with Jess for the first time.

    Book 3, Chapter 21
  • Late June 1979

    Larry threatens to throw Ginny and Rose off the farm; he then goes out into a thunderstorm.

    Book 3, Chapter 23
  • Late June 1979

    Although Ginny cannot remember it, Rose reveals that their father sexually abused both of them.

    Book 3, Chapter 24
  • Early July 1979

    At a church supper, Harold blasts Ginny and Rose for mistreating their father; he fights with Jess.

    Book 3, Chapter 28
  • Early July 1979

    Harold is permanently blinded by a spray of ammonia in a tractor accident.

    Book 4, Chapter 30
  • July 17, 1979

    Ginny is notified her father and sister Caroline are suing to take the farm back.

    Book 4, Chapter 30
  • August 1, 1979

    Pete gets drunk and drives his truck into the quarry after threatening Harold with a gun; he dies.

    Book 5, Chapter 36
  • Early August 1979

    Rose reveals she's having an affair with Jess, and that Pete rigged the tractor to kill Larry.

    Book 5, Chapter 38
  • Mid- to late August 1979

    Ginny decides to kill Rose, making a batch of poisoned sausage to do it.

    Book 5, Chapter 39
  • October 19, 1979

    Larry is incoherent in court, and the judge throws out the lawsuit. Ginny and Rose keep the farm.

    Book 5, Chapter 40
  • October 19, 1979

    Despite the legal victory, Ginny and Ty argue and she leaves him for good.

    Book 5, Chapter 41
  • October 24, 1979

    Five days after the hearing, Larry dies of a heart attack. Rose tells Ginny about it months later.

    Book 6, Chapter 42
  • October 1982

    When she is dying from cancer in the hospital, Rose calls Ginny home from Minnesota.

    Book 6, Chapter 45
  • March 1983

    Ginny and Caroline have one final confrontation about Larry at the auction of their farm.

    Book 6, Chapter 45

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Book 1, Chapters 1–4 Looking back to when she was eight years old in 1951, Ginny Cook Smith lays out a detailed map of the 640 acres of "te... Read More
Book 1, Chapters 5–7 As she always does, Ginny goes over to her father's house to cook him breakfast. She is surprised to see him returning... Read More
Book 2, Chapters 8–10 Ginny recalls the history of their former neighbor Cal Ericson, who farmed on a small scale and thus was doomed to fai... Read More
Book 2, Chapters 11–13 After their moment in the vegetable garden, Ginny hopes to see more of Jess. She watches for him on his daily runs. In... Read More
Book 2, Chapters 14–17 Friday night when they are all at Rose's house Caroline calls. She says Larry had come to her law office two days ago ... Read More
Book 3, Chapters 18–20 Ginny starts the third section of the book with another excursion into the history of Zebulon County, going back as fa... Read More
Book 3, Chapters 21–23 Ginny starts asserting authority with her father, laying down rules to try and control his increasingly erratic behavi... Read More
Book 3, Chapters 24–26 As the storm continues, Ginny feels awkward because Ty didn't say anything to support her when her father was calling ... Read More
Book 3, Chapters 27–28 As the days pass, Ginny calms down. She considers finding a psychiatrist for her father, and even calls one, but the o... Read More
Book 4, Chapters 29–31 After the disastrous church supper, Jess decides to move out of his father's house and stay at Larry's now-empty place... Read More
Book 4, Chapters 32–34 Feeling feverish after talking to Caroline, Ginny drives to a quarry to swim. But the closer she drives to town, the m... Read More
Book 5, Chapters 35–37 Ginny's relationship to her body was forever changed when her father abused her. Sex with Ty makes her "touchy," and s... Read More
Book 5, Chapters 38–41 An inebriated Rose calls Ginny in the middle of the night and asks her to come over. Rose isn't grieving for Pete, but... Read More
Book 6, Chapters 42–43 Ginny is working as a waitress at a restaurant off the interstate in Minnesota when she learns, months after it happen... Read More
Book 6, Chapters 44–45 Despite her continuing anger with her sister, when a dying Rose calls from the hospital, Ginny immediately rushes to h... Read More
Epilogue The Cook's thousand acres wasn't the only farm to be auctioned off that year in Zebulon County. Ginny finds out afterwar... Read More
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