Giant uses a sweeping, involving narrative to describe the character of Texas from the 1930's through the 1950's. During this period, Texas developed from a farm and ranch economy to an economy strongly identified with the greal oil boom. The story is told through the characters of Texas millionair rancher Bick Benedict, a lordly land owner, who marries a spirited and intelligent Virgina girl, Leslie. Leslie questions the Texas life style throughout her life on the ranch, but, in the end, finally credits Bick with having developed some sensitivity and wisdom concerning the racial and economic problems they encountered in twenty five years in Texas.
This is an engrossing book with clearly drawn forceful characters.
Edna Ferber, like James Michener, seemed to glory in writing historical
melodramas. In “Giant” she single-handedly takes on Texas. Her bigger than life
characters (of whom she believes Texas is made) are unforgetable: Bick Benedict, the cattle
baron, and his beautiful wife Leslie from Virginia gentry; Jett Rink, the irrascible
youngster who finally strikes oil and becomes obsessed with revenge; Bick's sister Luz and
other assorted relatives; to all the other lesser characters--unique that they are! It is
Ferber's view on how Texas became Texas. She steers us through the whole complexity of
West Texas life--especially the Riata, the never-ending Benedict ranch. She also takes time
to address many social issues, especially the treatment of migrant workers and the social
discrimination of the time.
This report prepared by Bill Hobbs