When I moved to Colorado, I was quick to inform my new classmates that their smaller, less significant state was once a part of my more superior home, Texas. Of course, in a matter of minutes, I found myself biting my tongue as middle school girls and boys jeered at my haughty attitude. “If you like it so much, then why did you leave?” they asked, and then informed me that Colorado would be a whole lot happier if all these Texas transplants would just go on home.
Well after living in Colorado for the past ten years, I am finally following their advice. As of August, Ryan and I will be citizens of Texas, and I will be living in the state capital; the Texas flag will be waving proudly above me while I’ll be standing there, scared to death. Because after being away from that expansive state for so many years, you begin to lose touch with the Texas mentality. In fact, you begin to despise it.
And so, I have been slowly introducing myself back to Texas by reading various Texas novels and movies. Giant by Edna Ferber is an entertaining and informative read; a book that made me smile and delight in the thought of spending an evening curled up in my cool Colorado apartment.
Written in the 1950’s, Giant captures the upper echelon of Texas in the first part of the 20th century. The protagonist, Leslie, comes from a well-to-do East Coast family; she marries a powerful cattleman named “Bick” Benedict and moves from the comfort of her family’s home to the harsh yet beautiful Texas landscape. As a naïve young woman, she is both shocked and swept under by the reality of Texas life. She harshly criticizes the inhumane treatment of Mexican workers and she scoffs at the high opinion her new neighbors have of themselves and their state. But in time, she finds that the wide-open ranges and the fierce loyalty of fellow Texans have won her heart. She still struggles against the many traditions and beliefs she finds reprehensible, but she loves her husband and her new land more than she thought possible.
The novel kept me captivated from the opening chapter, and although Giant is not overly complex, Ms. Ferber manages to give Texas a thorough and sweeping analysis. She includes bits of Texas history that refreshed my elementary education, and I feel a bit more prepared for my move down South.