The anthology novel Spoon River written by Edgar Lee Masters’ consist of a series of poems supposedly about individuals who are now deceased, and have chosen to have their stories told by Masters’ and their experiences in their small town. Even though many themes in the poems do not crossover each other, some of them do. For example the banking crisis story in Spoon River, and it is talked about many times by the townspeople with different things to say based on that specific event.
Most of things that happened during that incident are not found just in one specific poem, but are scattered efficiently throughout many different stories; and each story is telling their own unique view based on what they think might have occured during the time of the banking crisis. Another way in which Masters’ tells his stories helps the book Spoon River is by allowing the reader to get multiple views on the same issue; therefore leaving it up to reader to decide if that character’s point of view is accurate or not accurate.
Lastly, Masters uses the story of the banking crisis in Spoon River to effectively combine an relationship between a series of totally different stories. Edgar Lee Masters’ decision to tell the stories of Spoon Rivers’ bank failure over several different poems helps his anthology by using his characters individual opinions to show both a part of events that occured while also providing a way to provide insight into his characters personality. By providing his readers with multiple views on an issue shared by a number of people in Spoon River, and by providing a shared plot to connect his anthology of otherwise completely unrelated poems.
The poetry in Spoon River shows the story of the banking crisis and shows the specific character, and the nature of those telling their life stories. As the reader starts to see what really happened that caused the banks failure the voices of the characters directly or not helps the reader get a better understanding of the personality and their morals of the people who may have had something to do with the bank closing. The individual blamed by almost the entire town was also the president of the bank Thomas Rhodes. He shows his true colors when he talks down upon and insults those who have talked negative about him and his standard. As quoted from Spoon River by Edgar Lee Masters’ responds to their criticism by calling them “liberals,” and people “with all your boasted wisdom how hard it is at last to keep the soul from splitting into cellular atoms” (191).
Thomas Rhodes later confirms the negative views towards him, giving the reader an chance to take a better look into the mindset of the man who they think caused the bank closure. At the same time allowing Masters; to give his readers a opportunity to think about Rhodes’s possible involvement in the Spoon River banking failure Another poem that talks about Rhodes’s true personality is the poem is a man who worked in Rhodes’ store for many years and his name is “Eugene Carman.” Carman is another character in the anthology that has a negative view on Rhodes’, and he refers to himself as “Rhodes’ slave by saying “So I cursed and cursed: You damned old thing! You cowardly dog! You rotten pauper! You Rhodes’ slave and many other things throughout his poem.
Also in his poem he talks about other things that Rhodes’ told him to do like attend the church that Rhodes’ was over (“Eugene Carman” 214). He also gives us a deeper view into the mindset of Thomas Rhodes, and the reader learns from that view that Rhodes’ might have been utterly selfish and demanding, at least to certain employees. This view that we get from Eugene Carman later implies that Rhodes’ might have been the individual responsible for the failure of the bank, and his mentality shown in his poem and Carman’s is likely not one of honesty and caring, but of negative motivation and demands (“Eugene Carman” 214). Although this poem does not directly state Rhodes’ involvement in the failure of the bank, it heavily implies that he definitely has the personality to. He is only out for his own well-being giving Masters’ an opportunity to leave his readers’ think on Rhodes’ involvement with the bank failure in Spoon River.
The particular way Masters’ chose to disperse the details of the bank failure over a number of poems gives him an opportunity to explore multiple characters’ points of view on both the incident, and those who may have been involved. The majority of what the reader discovers is found throughout the poems of those who may have had an involvement with the bank failure and those who had nothing to do with the bank’s bankruptcy. One character in especially gives her unique view when she tells her part of the poem and her name is Mrs. George Reece. You see her husband worked at the bank, and she tells how her “husband was sent to prison” when the real person who should have been sent to prison was in fact the “president of the bank Thomas Rhodes…” (“Mrs. George Reece” 176). In her poem she directly blames Thomas Rhodes for the banking failure in Spoon River. Even though she may feel confident with her accusation against Rhodes, the reader has to consider the the point of view that Masters’ has given this character. While at the same time the accusation could be true, it was Reece’s husband who was in prison for the failure of the bank in Spoon River’ giving her motive to falsely place blame on another individual to possibly help her husbands case. Masters may have been encouraging his readers to consider each character’s point of view when they look through at each individual poem, as not all what is said by his character’s may be a 100 % true. Similar to Mrs. George Reece’s negative view of Rhodes’, the character Ida Chicken reveals more incriminating details about Rhodes’ character through her moderately neutral point of view. Ida was,according her poem “The Federal Judge in the very next room To the room I took the oath, decided that the constitution exempted Rhodes for paying taxes for the water works of Spoon River” (“Ida Chicken” 192). Even though this is very small detail, this statement from Ida shows the power and profit that Rhodes’ possesses. Not only does Rhodes’ make enough to own a profitable business, but he also has the influence to not have to pay taxes something almost all business owners are required to do.That is not right for Rhodes to be exempt from paying taxes, I think since he has a lot of money he should have to pay more than the other people not make the other people pay for his because he doesn’t have too.
This specific quote from Ida Chicken in SpooN River shows that Rhodes’ is the type that is selfish and greedy and always out looking for ways to receive special privileges like not having to pay taxes, Also it is indicating that he probably so greedy and selfish that he doesn’t care about anyone else’s money except for his own that mabe why he set up the bank to close so he could just pocket money from the bank and no one would ever find out due to the bank failure.
The plot of the failure of the banks in Spoon River is one of the most important detail of the anthology, as it helps connect the completely random poems to the theme of the anthology. One thing that critically helped Masters Out is how he dispersed the story of the banking failure throughout multiple stories, so the reader would not get finished with it really quickly; and so the reader can see the characters different point of view throughout the anthology. We still don’t have a concrete suspect on who caused the bank failure till Masters’ decides to help us out and we find in another poem called Ralph Rhodes which is the president’s son of the bank and his name is none other than Thomas Rhodes. So in the poem Ralph Rhodes we find out that he was the cause of the bank failure in Spoon River, when he says “I wrecked my father’s bank with my loans” (“Ralph Rhodes” 218). So we finally find out who caused all that damage in Spoon River and made the people there turn on each other. The people of Spoon River were partially right is was a Rhodes’ that wrecked the bank, but it was not who everyone was blaming which is Thomas Rhodes. Masters unique strategy of writing the Spoon River Anthology is what kept the the reader interested in it. I myself do not like poems, but I enjoyed this anthology; my favorite part in it was easily the the conspiracy on who caused the banking failure.