Ferber, Edna: So Big
(researched by Luke DuPont)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description
1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)
Edna Ferber. So Big. New York:Doubleday, Page and Company. 1924. Copyright: Doubleday Page and Company. 1923-4 Cromwell Publishing Company. No parallel first editions.
2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?
First American edition is published in trade cloth binding.
3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available
4 Pagination
187 leaves, [10],1-350,[4].
5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?
Includes publishers advertisements for other books by Edna Ferber adjacent from the title page No Notes No Dedication No Introduction
6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?
NA
7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available
8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)
Readability is superb due to large margins and the plenty of space between lines. The first letter of every chapter is bold and 11mm. tall, and the first two words of every chapter are are entirely uppercase. 90R. Book size: 188mm.by 128mm.; Size of text: 136mm. by 98mm The text type is Caslon Old Face.
9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available
10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)
The book is made of wove paper. The book is in excellent condition.
11 Description of binding(s)
The binding is trade cloth, the cover is embossed calico, with a dark blue hue, and has a yellow stamped rectangle on the front cover that contains the title, and authorís name. In each corner of the rectangle there are additional small decorative yellow stamped squares. The end papers are the same color as the rest of the pages. Transcription of the front cover: SO BIG | BY | EDNA FERBER Transcription of the spine; SO BIG | BY | EDNA FERBER | DOUBLE DAY | PAGE & CO.
12 Transcription of title page
Title Page transcription: SO BIG | BY | EDNA FERBER | GARDEN CITY NEW YORK| DOUBLE DAY | PAGE & CO.| 1924. Title page verso transcription: COPYRIGHT, 1924 BY | DOUBLEDAY, PAGE, & COMPANY | ALL RIGHTS RESERVED | COPYRIGHT 1923,1924, By the Crowell PUBLISHING COMPANY | PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES | AT | THE COUNTRY LIFE PRESS, GARDEN CITY, N.Y.| first edition
13 JPEG image of title page, if available
14 Manuscript Holdings
The State Historical Society of Wisconsin holds the principle collection of Edna Ferberís papers.
15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)
The first edition that I chose came from the Taylor Collection, which is part of the University of Virginiaís Special Collections holdings, this particular copy has a sheet glued to the back cover which has a silhouetted drawing of Lillian Gary Taylor knitting and her husband, Robert Coleman Taylor, smoking a pipe and reading. They are facing each other sitting in a chair and a recliner respectively, below each chair are their corresponding signatures. There is the handwritten price on the top of the back cover at $2.50 as well as the ì1st editionî. On the last backend paper there is stamped CIRCULATING LIBRARY | OF THE | DOUBLEDAY, PAGE BOOK SHOP | Arcade Building, -St. Louis Mo. |BOOKS OF ALL PUBLISHERS. Just below this to left is stamped ìFEB 26 1924î There is no colophon
Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History
1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A
It appears that the original publishers did not issue So Big in more than one edition.
2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available
3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available
4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?
According to the National Union Catalog 1956, as of 1925 there were 26 printings by Doubleday, Page and Co.
5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A
Editions from other publishers include: So Big, World, Cleveland Ohio, 1924. So Big, Doubleday. So Big, Book League of America, New York, 1924. So Big, The Country Life Press, New York, 1924. So Big, Grosset and Dunlap, New York, 1924. So Big, Doubleday Doran and Co. Garden City, New York. So Big, The Literary Guild, New York, 1938. The L.W. Singer Co. Syracuse, New York, 1942. This publisher included excerpts of So Big in Nathanial Hawthorneí s House of the Seven Gables So Big, Perennial Classics, Harper Collins, New York, 2000.
6 Last date in print?
Perennial Classics, Harper Collins, New York, Aug. 2000. Selling for $13.00 a copy.
7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)
Hackettís 80 years of Best Sellers stated that it did not sell over 750,000 in hard cover, hard cover and paper back combined did not equal 2,000,000.
8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)
In the first forty weeks Publisherís Weekly claimed that the book sold 160,000 copies. According to Keith Justice in the Bestsellers Index, it spent 16 weeks in the bestsellers list when the list of The New York Times and Publisherís Weekly were combined. According to Matt Frank found it to be one of the Annual Bestsellers for 1924 in his book Golden Multitudes.
9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)
Because her| novels have the| stuff of life in them,| because her short| stories are the best| being written in| English today and| because she is a| serious author who| can be humorous and| a satirist who is a| humanist, Edna Fer-| berís new novel must| be included first on| your spring list of| best books. So Big | by | Edna Ferber |You canít runaway far enough,î| the old wife said to the young bride| Selina, ìExcept you stop liv-| ing you canít runaway from life,î| Even there in the quiet High Prairie,| that incredible Dutch track farming| district, set like a jewel against| the dusky background of Chicago,| life came to Selina. |Her portion of the adventure was| rich and full and you will feel| that Selina is one of the really great| characters in fiction when you read| her story as told by Edna Ferber. | Doubleday, Page and Co.
10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available
A210191021016001111.jpg
11 Other promotion
During the heat wave in August of 1924, NewYork publishers distributed 10,000 fans with the books title on them. In addition they also distributed pencils with Ferberís silhouette on them. Billboards were used to advertise the serialization in newspapers. Six-foot tall reproductions of the book were placed in bookstore windows along side the actual book.
12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A
Three movies were made of the book, one in 1925 starring Collen Moore, another in 1932 starring Barbara Stanwyck, and another in 1953 starring Jane Wyman, as well as a book on tape.
13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A
None
14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A
Newspapers in big cities serialized the story.
15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A
None
Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author
1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)
In March of 1922 Edna traveled with her mother to Europe, her mother was just recently over a bout of pneumonia which may have contributed to the strong role of Selina as a maternal figiure in So Big. Edna had been in Europe for seven months in 1914, but the Europe that she saw on the 1922 trip was completely different. "Europe, an entire continent was doomed. It was plain. One could read it in the faces of the people. This I shouted at the top of my voice when I returned to my country"(Ferber, 275). Her shouting came in the form of a novel that turned its focus to the United States. "Well what if Europe is sick! Its none of our affair"(Ferber, 275). This feeling of a doomed continent stood in sharp contrast to the America that Edna Ferber returned to in August of 1922. "It was always a glorious feeling ?that of coming down the Bay into New York Harbor. But this time I had spent six months on the crippled continent of Europe. Back in the United States I stared with unbelieving eyes, like an immigrant, at the fruit and vegetable stalls; at the grocers lavish windows," (Ferber,275). This sharp contrast between the fecundity of the United States and the doom that hung on to Europe, was explored by Edna focusing on farming in America in her novel SoBig. Ferber notes that the youth in America were exceptionally happy and wealthy. "No generation of American boys and girls ever had so much money and received so little in return for it,"(Ferber, 276). This sense of increased importance on materialism America is captured in So Big. Edna Ferber later worried that too few people understood her theme of the "triumph of materialism over the spirit in America"(Gilbert, 312). It was as though leaving America for Europe and then returning had given her the perspective that she needed to render her tale. "And then the story that had lain so long dormant in my mind floated, released, to the surface. And I sat down to write the story of a material young man, son of his earth grubbing idealistic mother,"(Ferber,276). Her inspiration for the novel came directly from her desire to escape the tragic course that mankind was taking, and she believed that this form of escapism is why her book did so well. She started writing So Big at the beginning of the winter in 1922 in New York City. She wrote much of the novel in a furnished apartment overlooking Central Park. She took solace in being able to take a break and look out on Central Park. She would like to have stayed there but the owners of the apartment returned home in the spring so that she had to pack up and move. The next day she was typing again in Chicago, this put her closer to the setting of her story, although the environment was still very far from a farm. In Chicago she lived with her mother across from Jackson Park, in the Windmere Hotel. While she was writing in Chicago there was a heat wave in which the thermometer would read ninety to ninety-six for days on end. She had her routine and her writing garments; she wrote in a silk jersey step-in due to the heat which made any other clothing too unbearable, she wrote from nine to four daily. When she had completed her novel she thought that she had failed horribly, she used a typist that she had hired to give some indication of the publics receptiveness to her work, every day the typist came and went without saying a word about the content of the story, no feedback at all, likes or dislikes. Miss Ferber took this as an ill omen. She wrote her publisher Russell Doubleday to say that the book was completed, but she thought that it would be wise not to publish it, she felt that the public would not read it and the critics would hate it. Her publisher immediately wrote back that perhaps someone else should read who was not so intimate with the book. He wrote her later saying that he had read the novel and he had cried, that the same was true for his entire staff. She was still reluctant to admit the books success until she went back to Europe in June. "The first day out and every day thereafter the decks port to starboard, showed an unbroken line of orange color which was the blazing dust jacket of So Big,"(Ferber 281). It was then that Edna realized she had written a potential bestseller. Edna Ferber believed that she had an ability to mentally project herself into a time and space other than the one she occupied. This is how she claims to have been able to write So Big although she knew nothing about farming. This ability also allowed her to write Show Boat without having ever been on the Mississippi, nor spent time in the south. She spent ten days in Oklahoma before writing Cimarron. This is fairly impressive in comparison to the time that some writers spend researching. She goes on to say that only once was she criticized for a lack of verisimilitude, which Edna dismissed as jealousy (Ferber, 277). She certainly had a talent for capturing the details of life in area where she had not lived. Additional information may be found within this database under her bestseller Showboat at http//www.engl.Virginia.edu/courses/bestsellers/search.cgi?title=Show+Boat Bibliography Ferber, Edna A Peculiar Treasure. New York: Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc.,1939. Gilbert, Julie Goldsmith. Ferber. Doubleday and Company, Inc., New York,1978
Assignment 4: Reception History
1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
I found that most of the reviewers responded favorably. There were a few people who liked certain parts of the book better than other parts, such as the first half. Overall the reviewers were impressed by Miss Ferbers ability to create powerful and inspirational characters. Louis Maunsell Field (New York Times) felt "The portrait of Selina DeJong would itself suffice to make Miss Ferber's So Big a notable book. The plot is slight very slight, in fact the novel is a chronicle rather than a story, but a chronicle rich in variety and contrast". Mrs. Field goes on to say that the crux of the book is found in the values of the characters. Mrs. Field felt that Miss Ferber contrasts the rural people with their urban counterparts in Chicago who are "trying to be something that they are not". In this method she clams that Edna was able to contrast the values of these different people. Mrs. Field uses the comparison of "fashion versus fine and mellow graciousness of spirit". This review that came out shortly after the book reflected the many other reviews in that positive reception that Salina receives. "It is a strong book this of Edna Ferber's, clean and strong dramatic at times and interesting, always clear sighted, sympathetic, a novel to read and remember" Mrs. Field also uses the clear sighted adjective to describe Salina as a character. Gerald Gould of The Saturday Review of Literature wrote that the beauty in So Big has a touch of sentimentality that is "unfortunate". He goes on to say that the "story is at time energetic and thrilling". Mr. Gould feels that Edna sets the pursuit of beauty (represented by Salina) in contrast to the easy achievement (represented by Dirks attendance to Mid Western University, and his subsequent accomplishments). This contrast between Selina and her son Dirk is consistently identified among the reviewers. Edna Ferber feared that many of her readers misunderstood her attempt to illustrate the loss of spirituality to materialism, but at least Mrs. Field, was able to recognize the sharp contrast between these two characters and their values. One of the more negative reviews I found was by Fred T. Marsh in the New York Times Feb. 24 1925, he felt that after the first half of the novel which was "fine and moving" the novel fell to pieces. This review is interesting because the first half of the novel centers primarily on Selina, Dirk's role increases in the second half, which leads one to wonder if Mr. Marsh was projecting his frustration with Dirk on to his review of the novel. More than one reviewer felt that this novel was one of many to come on the topic of farming, they felt that farming was a fertile subject for novelists. Amy Loveman of the Saturday Review of Literature believed that Edna Ferber had done a good job in not over romanticizing the farming lifestyle. "Miss Ferber depicts farming as not glamour of poetic imagination, but in it hard realities with labor, weariness and monotony prominent" Aaron Smith of The Saturday Review of Literature felt that the books sales were due to its qualifications as "self improvement entertainment and self encouragement". Overall the reviews were positive. I was unable to find one person who despised the novel. The most common complaint was the lack of plot which Edna admits in her autobiography, A Peculiar Treasure Bibliography Field, Louis Maunsell. The New York Times, Feb. 24, 1924. pp.9 Gould, Gerald. The Saturday Review of Literature. New Fiction: So Big. April 12, 1924. pp.392 Loveman, Amy. The Saturday Review of Literature. May 4, 1924. pp.34. Marsh, Fred T. The New York Times. Feb. 24 1925. pp.6 Smith, Aaron. The Saturday Review of Literature. August 5 1924. pp.112.
2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
I found that most of the reviewers responded favorably. There were a few people who liked certain parts of the book better than other parts, such as the first half. Overall the reviewers were impressed by Miss Ferbers ability to create powerful and inspirational characters. Louis Maunsell Field (New York Times) felt "The portrait of Selina DeJong would itself suffice to make Miss Ferber's So Big a notable book. The plot is slight very slight, in fact the novel is a chronicle rather than a story, but a chronicle rich in variety and contrast". Mrs. Field goes on to say that the crux of the book is found in the values of the characters. Mrs. Field felt that Miss Ferber contrasts the rural people with their urban counterparts in Chicago who are "trying to be something that they are not". In this method she clams that Edna was able to contrast the values of these different people. Mrs. Field uses the comparison of "fashion versus fine and mellow graciousness of spirit". This review that came out shortly after the book reflected the many other reviews in that positive reception that Salina receives. "It is a strong book this of Edna Ferber's, clean and strong dramatic at times and interesting, always clear sighted, sympathetic, a novel to read and remember" Mrs. Field also uses the clear sighted adjective to describe Salina as a character. Gerald Gould of The Saturday Review of Literature wrote that the beauty in So Big has a touch of sentimentality that is "unfortunate". He goes on to say that the "story is at time energetic and thrilling". Mr. Gould feels that Edna sets the pursuit of beauty (represented by Salina) in contrast to the easy achievement (represented by Dirks attendance to Mid Western University, and his subsequent accomplishments). This contrast between Selina and her son Dirk is consistently identified among the reviewers. Edna Ferber feared that many of her readers misunderstood her attempt to illustrate the loss of spirituality to materialism, but at least Mrs. Field, was able to recognize the sharp contrast between these two characters and their values. One of the more negative reviews I found was by Fred T. Marsh in the New York Times Feb. 24 1925, he felt that after the first half of the novel which was "fine and moving" the novel fell to pieces. This review is interesting because the first half of the novel centers primarily on Selina, Dirk's role increases in the second half, which leads one to wonder if Mr. Marsh was projecting his frustration with Dirk on to his review of the novel. More than one reviewer felt that this novel was one of many to come on the topic of farming, they felt that farming was a fertile subject for novelists. Amy Loveman of the Saturday Review of Literature believed that Edna Ferber had done a good job in not over romanticizing the farming lifestyle. "Miss Ferber depicts farming as not glamour of poetic imagination, but in it hard realities with labor, weariness and monotony prominent" Aaron Smith of The Saturday Review of Literature felt that the books sales were due to its qualifications as "self improvement entertainment and self encouragement". Overall the reviews were positive. I was unable to find one person who despised the novel. The most common complaint was the lack of plot which Edna admits in her autobiography, A Peculiar Treasure Bibliography Field, Louis Maunsell. The New York Times, Feb. 24, 1924. pp.9 Gould, Gerald. The Saturday Review of Literature. New Fiction: So Big. April 12, 1924. pp.392 Loveman, Amy. The Saturday Review of Literature. May 4, 1924. pp.34. Marsh, Fred T. The New York Times. Feb. 24 1925. pp.6 Smith, Aaron. The Saturday Review of Literature. August 5 1924. pp.112.
Assignment 5: Critical Analysis
1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)
Edna Ferber's So Big was a very popular novel at the time it was published; in fact it was the best-selling fiction novel of 1924. The popularity of this novel was not contributable to her reputation at this point in her career, as she was still a new face on the bestseller circuit. Her success was pre-bookclub, which may have been the making of a lot of bestsellers. The popularity of this novel stemmed from the genuine appreciation of its subject matter by its reader's , by looking at the cultural context in which the book was framed the reason for its popularity becomes evident. The Nobel Prize, the subsequent movies and her continued popularity certainly did not hurt the sales of So Big either. At the time that the book was written the world was still reeling from World War I. People were beginning to feel disillusioned, " What did you think it was going to do purify,"(167, So Big). This comment, made by Selina to her son, captures the general feeling of loss at the winning of the war. Europe was either grieving or in shambles. "Europe, an entire continent, was doomed,"(275, A Peculiar Treasure). The Unites States had not joined the war until late, and so avoided many of the casualties that the rest of Europe absorbed. It was apparent to Edna that Europe was in trouble and as a result she turned from this depressing subject matter to the optimism of home. The United States was just beginning to realize its potential. Edna not only turned inward but to the center of the America, Illinois. The distinctly American feature of truck farming in the breadbasket was isolated from Europe. Her subject was composed of toil that was centered on farming, which allowed her to ignore the outside world. A critic in the Midwest felt that So Big was an "all too earthy novel,"(287,Gilbert). What this critic may have found to be unappealing may have been part of what contributed to the novels success. The pubic was tired of the stories coming from beyond its borders. American politics of the era reflects the public's dissatisfaction with the rest of the world, reflected in the government's foreign policy of Isolationism. It is no wonder that Edna found a fertile subject in the ground of America. The farm product was cultivated in this distinct American setting, and had to be consumed quickly, thereby limiting any roll of Europe through exportation. This book appealed to the masses by shutting out what they wanted to forget, and focusing on what they wanted to see. Many people were also blue-collar workers. This book was written before the shift from blue collar to white collar had taken hold. The occupation of laborer was still seen as noble and worthwhile. The romanticizing of this work was appealing to people as well, because there were enough people involved in this type of work, but there was also enough of an urban population that felt the need to reminisce about the simpler times. Selina offers the objective perspective of a person who is coming from Chicago to this region for the first time, when she first is riding out with Klaas Pool, Selina makes the mistake of saying how beautiful the landscape is, and how beautiful the cabbages are. Although there is no doubt to the reader that the scene is beautiful, Selina's mentioning it to the man who toils in the fields is naïve. Through out the book Selina's outside perspective offers greater insight into the reality of the life. "Yet Selina sensed something of the meaning behind these toiling, patient figures, all unconscious of meaning, bent double in the fields for miles throughout High Prairie," (71, So Big). This would ring true to the urban reader, and flatter the rural reader. When Selina tries to convey this idea of the nobility of their toil Pervus, in true unobservant Pervus fashion, says, "Farm work grand! Farm work is slave work,"(71, So Big). Selina knows that it is thankless work that pays little for the labor, but she also sees the bigger picture, and understands the importance of the work that Pervus is doing, as the urban audience can also appreciate the work from a distance. Aaron Smith's observation that So Big was such a success due to its "self improvement entertainment and self encouragement appeal," may seem far-fetched, but when one examines the other bestsellers at this time it becomes apparent that Smith has a point. This era was exploring the possibilities of the media, and the ability for it to improve the lives of those it touched. Self Mastery through Auto-Suggestion, by Emile Coue, and Diet and Health, by Lulu Hunt Poters were both nonfiction bestsellers in 1923. These may seem to be completely unrelated to So Big but upon a closer look they all deal with the idea of self-improvement. This can be seen in the passage where Selina is asking her husband to make some necessary improvements on the bottomland, which is inundated with water. Selina's knowledge from a book also leads her to suggest that they add fertilizer or at least compost to their fields. Pervus scoffs at these suggestion and asks where she got these ideas,"'Out of a book,' Selina said, almost snappishly. 'I sent to Chicago for it,"(72, So Big). She goes on to say that the man who wrote the book knows more about farming than anyone else in High Prairie. In the end the book is right and by following the book Selina is able to improve her farm. This has several connotations, first Selina was able to improve the farm through the book, but most importantly hard work, next if Selina could use her book to improve her situation maybe So Big can be used to improve the reader's situation. The first connotation is what makes this book so popular, the idea that if we work hard enough and smart enough we can overcome the odds. This is essentially the American dream. Selina starts as a schoolteacher in her High Prairie and is unaccustomed to the lifestyle. It takes her a while to become acclimated to the paucity of luxury and the relative abundance of work. Shortly after she does become adjusts she marries Pervus DeJong, which requires a higher level of work ethic. The morning after they are married Selina awakes to this reality, "Pervus DeJong laughed and came toward her. 'Get up, little lazy bones. It's after four. All yesterday's work I've got to do, and all today's. Breakfast, little Lina, breakfast. You are a farmers wife now,'"(69,So Big). This is a prime example of the work ethic that is seen throughout this novel. Not only does Selina adapt and improve herself, but she goes above and beyond the expectations of her husband. She becomes such a good worker that she not only does all of her jobs but she also begins to help Pervus in the fields. When the vegetables are going to waste in the ground because there are not enough hands to pick them Pervus protests to Selina's help, "Let them rot,' he said. ' Better the stuff rots in the ground. Dejong women folks they never worked in the fields. Not even in Holland. Not my mother or my grandmother. It isn't for women,'"( 81, So Big). To this the hardened Selina says, " Nonsense, Pervus. Working the fields is no harder than washing or ironing or scrubbing or standing over a hot stove in August. Women's work, housework is the hardest work in the world. That why men won't do it,'"(82, So Big). This step shocks and outrages Pervus, he wanted her to improve her work ethic but not to compete with him in his realm. When Selina has her run of the farm she does make the necessary improvements that she gets from the book and as a result becomes very successful. So Big demonstrates self-improvement through hard work, and the possibility of gleaning useful knowledge from books. The self-improvement aspect of So Big is more prevalent in the second connotation. The second connotation suggests that part of the audience; the Dirks, are mistaking money for success. When Selina asks her son, "'What do you mean by 'successful', Sobig?' 'Rich lots of money.' 'Oh, no, Dirk! That's not success. Roelf- the thing Roelf does is success,'"(133, So Big). It is apparent that Dirk has lost something by not pursuing the beautiful in his life; unlike Roelf Pool who pursued his passion and as a result he becomes a highly acclaimed artist. In the end when Dirk meets a girl he really loves, Dallas O'Mara, he is unable to win her over because he chose to follow money instead of going the hard way, following his passion. When Dirk asks her why his feelings aren't reciprocal she says that he took the easy way, "But if you had kept on - if you had loved it enough to keep on - fighting, and struggling, and sticking it out- why that fight would show in your face today,"(204, So Big). This is the intended message of the book, which seems at least at the beginning of the 21st century to be obvious. Edna was worried that many in the time era that it was written had missed the meaning. "About nine people knew what I was driving at,"(313, Gilbert). The book was intended to warn the reader about the dangers of chasing money. "I wrote a story whose purpose was to show the triumph of materialism over the spirit in America"(312, Gilbert). Although this is actually said in regards to Cimarron Edna says she had the same intention in So Big. Using Dirk, Edna points out that America is at risk of selling out its dreams in the pursuit of capital. This may have been intended as a warning to her readers, and her audience may have recognized this and understood they had a choice. In this manner So Big offers self-improvement to its readers. These two connotations are not at odds when one considers that spiritual stability and hard work seem to go hand in hand, in a chicken or the egg relationship. This connection between these two ideas resolves their differences. Dirk was unable to work hard because he lacked the sense of beauty that comes with spiritual integrity, and in turn by not being able to work hard he did not have the gumption to follow his dream of being an architect. Roelf, who struggles early, follows his dreams and his sense of beauty, and in the end is happy and wildly successful. The Nobel Prize undoubtedly helped the sales of So Big in the public realm by bringing it recognition and literary prowess. Edna Ferber's subsequent success helped keep the book selling and in print. What really allowed this book the popularity it experienced was its harmony with the public's desires. Sources: Ferber, Edna A Peculiar Treasure. New York: Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc.,1939. Edna Ferber. So Big. New York:Doubleday, Page and Company. 1924. Gilbert, Julie Goldsmith. Ferber. Doubleday and Company, Inc., New York,1978 Smith, Aaron. The Saturday Review of Literature. August 5 1924. pp.112.
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