Asa Holmes; or, At the Cross-Roads by Anthony Trollope
is a novel written by Anthony Trollope and published in 1884. The story is set in the fictional American town of Beartown, Massachusetts, and follows the fortunes of Asa Holmes, a self-made businessman who has risen from humble origins to become one of the town’s wealthiest citizens.
The novel explores the themes of social class, ambition, and the search for identity in a rapidly changing society. Asa Holmes is a man of great ambition, who has worked hard to rise above his humble origins and make a name for himself in Beartown. He is a shrewd businessman, with a keen eye for opportunity and a ruthless determination to succeed.
Despite his wealth and success, however, Asa Holmes is still an outsider in Beartown society. He is acutely aware of his own lack of education and refinement, and is constantly striving to improve himself and become more accepted by the town’s upper classes. His relationships with his fellow citizens are marked by tension and insecurity, as he tries to balance his ambition with his desire for social acceptance.
The novel is also notable for its portrayal of the changing face of American society in the late 19th century. As the country moved away from its agrarian roots and towards a more industrialized economy, social class distinctions began to blur, and opportunities for upward mobility became more common. Trollope’s novel reflects these changes, as characters like Asa Holmes strive to carve out a place for themselves in a rapidly changing world.
At the heart of the novel is the character of Asa Holmes himself, a complex and multifaceted figure who embodies many of the contradictions of American society in the late 19th century. He is at once a self-made man and a member of the working class, a shrewd businessman and an insecure outsider, a paragon of ambition and a flawed human being.
Trollope’s portrayal of Asa Holmes is nuanced and sympathetic, and the novel is notable for its detailed and evocative descriptions of life in a small New England town. The book is a vivid portrait of a bygone era, and offers a window into the social and economic realities of a changing America.
In conclusion, “Asa Holmes; or, At the Cross-Roads” is a fascinating and thought-provoking novel that offers a unique perspective on American society in the late 19th century. Trollope’s vivid portrayal of life in a small New England town is both nostalgic and insightful, and his depiction of the ambitious and complex character of Asa Holmes offers a rich and nuanced exploration of the American dream. Whether read as a historical document or as a timeless work of literature, “Asa Holmes” remains a compelling and engaging novel that offers a unique window into a bygone era of American history.