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Word Count: 433
At the turn of the century American readers were interested only in stories with happy endings where goodness was praised and evil was punished They did not particularly care if that was a false interpretation of the way life really was When men such as Frank Norris the author of The Octopus wrote angrily of the injustices and poverty to be found in America readers turned away The Octopus made them change their minds The course of the novel and the reality of its characters held the readers attention It is so powerful a book that people had to care about the wheat growers almost against their wishes The impact did not end in the early twentieth century but continues its legacy into the new millennium The most important moral dilemma that Norris is trying to express is that the Trusts the monopolies of his time were in outright control of the publics lives and the public either did not see this or did not care Even worse the Trusts like the P and SW railroad used this control to make themselves richer and the people poorer This is clearly unethical Two characters in the story Cedarquist and Presley were both aware of this problem and spoke out about it saying Are there no other trusts between the oceans than this of the Pacific and Southwestern Railroad Not our death struggle typical Is it not one of many is it not symbolical of the great and terrible conflict that is going on everywhere in the United States Ah you people the public blind bound tricked betrayed can you not see it Norris may also be showing another moral problem with a country run by monopolies That is that corrupt politics are often the only way to get a head and make ends meet in a country like this and that good honest people such as the farmers are forced to stoop to this level
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