Barren Ground (novel)
Barren Ground is a 1925 novel by Ellen Glasgow giving an account of thirty years in the life of a rural Virginia woman, Dorinda Oakley who is an intelligent, independent and vibrant young lady who is trying find herself and her purpose in life by moving to New York after a love disillusion.
Dorinda Oakley, daughter of a land‐poor farmer in Virginia, at 20 goes to work in Nathan Pedlar's store. She falls in love with Jason Greylock, weak‐willed son of the village doctor, and forgets her purpose of helping her father to rebuild the farm, but soon before their planned wedding Jason is forced to marry a former fiancée. Bitterly disillusioned and pregnant, Dorinda seeks work in New York City, where she is injured and miscarries in a street accident. She is attended by Dr. Faraday, who later employs her as a nurse for his children. A young doctor proposes to her, but she refuses him, determined to “find something else in life.”
After her father's death, Dorinda returns to the family farm, which is impoverished and overgrown with broomsedge. Having studied scientific agriculture in New York, she introduces progressive methods, gradually returning the “barren ground” to fertility and creating a prosperous dairy farm. Her mother becomes an invalid, after her brother Rufus is questioned for murder, so that Dorinda must carry on with only the aid of a few farm laborers. After her mother's death she marries Nathan Pedlar, to provide a home for his children, and after he dies she shelters Jason, now penniless and ill from excessive drinking. He soon dies.
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