Frank Norris: The Octopus

(1059 words)
  • Jude Davies (University of Winchester)

The Octopus deals primarily with the social conflicts arising out of the industrialisation of the USA. It places these relations between human beings within a larger context of the relationship of humans with nature in its totality, understood by Frank Norris as supernatural “force”; a turn of the nineteenth century precursor of what we might think of today as ecology. Thus Norris conceptualised The Octopus as the first part of a three-volume “Epic of the Wheat”. The Octopus focused on the production of wheat in California, while a second part, The Pit (1903) went on to describe the financial processes of speculation centred on the wheat exchange, or pit, in Chicago. A final volume (never completed, …

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Davies, Jude. "The Octopus". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 October 2001
[, accessed 26 September 2016.]