Each of those living on earth is the result of countless additions: four thousand years ago in Crete love could begin, which ended yesterday in Texas. Every life is a moment, open to eternity, Wolfe says. And here is one of them… Eugene Gant is a descendant of the Englishman Gilbert Gant, who arrived in Baltimore from Bristol and became related to the German family, and the Pentlands, in which the Scottish blood prevailed. From his father, Oliver Gant, a stone carver, Eugene inherited an explosive temperament, the artistry of nature and the actress’s festivity of speech, and from his mother, Eliza Pengland, the ability to methodical work and perseverance.
Eliza’s childhood passed in the years after the Civil War in poverty and deprivation, these years were so terrible
Eliza herself has been gradually acquiring property from the age of twenty, refusing herself for everything and saving money. On one of the previously purchased sites Eliza persuaded her husband to build a workshop. Eugene remembered how, at the entrance to his father’s working room, stood marble tombstones, among which stood a heavy, sweet-smiling angel.
For eleven years, Eliza gave birth to nine children, six of whom survived. The last, Eugene, she produced in the autumn of 1900, when the house was full of stuffy halls from the ripening apples and pears scattered everywhere. This smell will haunt Eugene all his life.
Eugene remembered himself almost from birth: he remembered the pain that his infantile intellect was wrapped in a net and he did not know the names of the objects around
Between father and mother was a constant, ruthless war. Different temperaments, different life patterns provoked constant skirmishes. In 1904, when the World Exhibition opened in St. Louis, Eliza insisted to go there, rent a house and rent out rooms from Altamont. Gant hardly agreed to this business of his wife: his pride suffered – neighbors could think that he was unable to support his family. But Eliza felt that this trip should become for her the beginning of something more. Children, except the elders, went with her. For little Eugene, life in the “fair” city seemed like a bright, surreal nightmare, especially as the stay there was overshadowed by the death of the twelve-year-old Grover – the most sad and tender of the Gant’s children.
But life went on. The family was in full bloom and full of life together. Gant poured out his abuse on the house, his tenderness and the abundance of provisions. Children enthusiastically listened to his eloquent philippines directed against his wife: the eloquence of his father, thanks to daily practice, acquired the harmony and expressiveness of classical rhetoric,
At the age of six, Eugene took the first step toward freeing himself from the seclusion of domestic life: he insisted on attending school. After spending it, Eliza cried for a long time, intuitively feeling not the usual nature of this child and realizing that the son will always be immeasurably lonely. Only a silent Ben had a deep instinct to his younger brother, and from his small salary he cut out a piece for gifts and entertainment for Eugene.
Eugene learned easily, but his relationships with his classmates did not develop in the best way: the children felt in him a stranger. The boy’s bright imagination distinguished him from others, and although Eugene envied the insensitivity of classmates, who helped them easily endure school punishments and other deformities of being, but was himself arranged differently. Teenager Eugene eagerly absorbs books, becomes a regular at the library, mentally loses the subjects of books, becoming dreams in the hero of the works. Fantasy takes him to the sky, “erasing all the dirty smears of life.” Now he has two dreams: to be a beloved woman and to be famous.
Eugene’s parents – convinced supporters of the economic independence of children, especially sons – all of them were sent as early as possible to work. Eugene first sold greens from the parent garden, and then the newspaper, helping Luke. He hated this job: in order to foist a passer-by, it was necessary to turn into an importunate little impudent man.
From the age of eight, Eugene found the second shelter: his mother bought a big house (Dixieland) and moved there with her youngest son, expecting to rent out the rooms to the tenants. Eugene was always ashamed of “Dixieland”, realizing that the alleged poverty that hung over them, the threat to the poorhouse is a real fiction, the myth-making of greedy skobidomstva. The guests seemed to have forced the Gantes out of their own house. Elisa carefully did not notice any unpleasant circumstances, if it brought money, and so “Dixieland” gained fame from women of easy virtue, who somehow casually settled there.
Eugene’s parents are offered to give their son as a gifted pupil to a private school. There he meets Margaret Leonard, a literature teacher, who became his spiritual mother. He spent four years like a fairy-tale country, absorbing – now systematically – books and honing his thoughts and syllables in conversations with Margaret. What he reads and imagines exacerbates his feeling for the South – “essence and the product of dark romanticism.” In Eugene, the powerful talent of the observer and analyst, the qualities necessary for the future writer, is quickly gaining strength. He sharply feels the duality of phenomena, the inherent struggle of opposites in them. Own family “is seen to him as a microcosm of existence: beauty and ugliness, good and evil, strength and weakness – everything is present in it. Eugene alone feels in his heart: only love,
Eugene is not yet sixteen when he enters the university of his native state, thus provoking envious feelings among the other brothers (except Ben) and the sisters. At the university, Eugene, due to his too young age, zealous studies and odd behavior, quickly becomes the object of universal ridicule. Gradually, however, he assimilates the simple style of the student hostel, and as regards visiting the neighborhoods where maidens of easy virtue live, many even overtake.
The First World War passes for Eugene almost imperceptibly, remaining somewhere aside. According to rumors, Brother Ben was eager to volunteer for the war, but did not pass a medical examination.
Soon this news gets a sad sequel – Eugene is called home: Ben has pneumonia. Eugene finds his elder brother in one of the rooms of Dixieland, where he lies, panting from impotent rage at a life that has given him so little. This time, Eugene, like never before, opens up the lonely beauty of this talented, unrealized man. Through the death of his brother, Eugene comprehends the truth unknown to him until then: all the refined and beautiful in human life is always “touched by divine corruption.”
Soon Eugene finishes his studies, but his soul rushes further, he does not have enough university wisdom of the provincial university. The young man dreams of Harvard. Reluctant parents agree to send him there for one year, but the brothers and sisters demand that in this case Eugene renounced his share of the inheritance, Eugene, without hesitation, signs the necessary documents.
Leaving his hometown, Eugene feels that he will not return here. Unless for the funeral of his father – the old Gant retired and grows old every day. Eugene wanders around the city, bidding farewell to the past. Suddenly, he sees the ghost of his deceased brother beside him.
“I forgot the names,” Eugene complains, “I forgot my face, I just remember the little things.” Oh, Ben, where’s the world? ” And gets the answer: “Your world is you”.