Garland's 1895 novel tells the story of a beautiful young farm girl who finds her world too confining, and how she manages to break out into the larger intellectual life of the city. The story begins with Rose Dutcher's childhood and the death of her mother. Her doting father provides for her every wish. As she grows older she begins to show a much greater intelligence than those around her, and her father allows her to go off to the university in Madison.
Her career at the university only makes her realize how alien life on the farm is. She talks her father into letting her go to live in Chicago to continue studying and begin a career as a writer.
In Chicago she not only discovers the brilliant life she desires, she also becomes the darling of society and begins to attract suitors, both young and old.
The man who impresses her most is Warren Mason a newspaperman, critic, and aspiring novelist. Although he is older than Rose, she finds in him her ideal of manhood. He helps her to find for herself an original voice as a poet, and eventually proposes marriage.
This report prepared by Jack Goodstein