Friday, December 24, 2010

The Cinder Buggy - Part 6 - the seeds of the iron industry (chapter IV)

Click here for Parts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 of my review of The Cinder Buggy.

Chapter IV described the characters of Aaron Breakspeare and Enoch Gib as they grew up. They were competitive, but with opposite personalities. Their childhood was defined by a series of competitions/confrontations:

They were never friends. They were rivals, unable to conceal or control their rivalry, the essence of which was antagonism. But they were inseperable. They could not let each other alone.
(p. 18)

Garrett's most interesting quote from this chapter described Enoch Gib's method of enduring the confrontations with Aaron:
Instinctively he knew that the way to save oneself in a trial of endurance is to keep one's mind not on one's own discomfort but on the agony of one's adversary.
(p. 18)

By the end of the fourth chapter, the two had reached age 21, and had resolved to go into business together. The iron industry had not yet begun, although each of them owned substantial iron ore land holdings. They envisioned the existing town being replaced by a new industrial city:
In its place will be a city that shall walk out of those mountains, - a city of furnaces, full of roaring and the clangor of metal, flaming and smoking to heaven. Your father and my grandfather imagined it. They could not themselves bring it to pass. It was not for their time. They left it for us to do. We have a destiny here. Let's take it together. Let's form a partnership and found an iron industry.
(p. 26 - quoting Aaron)

Garrett did not identify the year, but it had to be in the early part of the 19th century - almost 100 years before Garrett's description of the modern (1920's) New Damascus and the mystery surrounding the disappearance of the iron industry.

I find it refreshing to read a story where characters discuss industry (including the "flaming and smoking") without lamenting over the environment or "global warming." It is refreshing also to read of characters discussing the formation of industry without babbling about how many "jobs" they will "create" like some modern pandering politician or a "journalist" who thinks about economics (if at all) backwards.

At this point, the main characters are in place and the story is ready to unfold. Without having read further, I expect a conflict between the two new partners similar to what Garrett described of their childhood (only on a larger scale).

Click here for part 7



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