What Is Earned May Be Taken



Radovich, Bradley Matthew

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Allison Rhodes, an author in the downhill side of her publishing career, summons her ex-husband Lindley, a skilled but unsuccessful writer, to help her excavate and write her family history as a biographical work. The present action of this episodic narrative consists of Lindley and Allison researching, interviewing and discussing the project. The present action is interspersed heavily with narrative family history and interviews with friends and acquaintances of family members that shed light on the Rhodes family. The underlying tensions that help drive these two characters include Allison’s child that she gave up for adoption, unbeknownst to the father, Lindley. She hid the pregnancy by divorcing him quickly and inexplicably and disappearing from public view for two years. He is unaware of even the possibility of fathering a child as his doctor had proclaimed him impotent. Allison has not yet met her daughter, who would be in her early twenties. Of course, the daughter has never left her mind, and is looming larger as she nears old age. Indeed, Lindley finds her memory very compromised as the research proceeds, and this is caused by preoccupation with the child. Her giving up of the child was a direct result of her feminist positions in the literary community in the late twentieth century, and what she perceived as her responsibilities. In her sixties now, she has been obsoleted by other causes. She is also questioning some of her steadfast beliefs. As she and Lindley research, Lindley discovers the true reason she’s asked him to help, and there is a reckoning over the long-lost child. The arc of Allison’s life is shaped by her intellect, but also by the country’s arc. She is born in 1955, and comes of age in the Vietnam era, and participates heavily in the national awakening toward women’s rights, under the paranoiac consciousness of Cold war America. Her twin brother is less thoughtful of his self-determination, he lives more on animal instinct and is unquestioning of the “right” way for male citizens to live and do for country. Increased freedoms are opposed to increased pressure to maintain democracy, straining interpersonal connections that rely on trust, like romantic relationships. Project Outline I. The outline of the project is along the following lines, accepting that the narrative is a threads past and present narratives. Past and present threads alternate. Present Action A. Allison summons Lindley to the Rhodes family farm in Kansas, which she now owns, and asks him to help her write a biographical narrative of her and her family’s life. She is a successful author in her sixties and is the sole surviving member of the Rhodes family. She’s twin sister of Fritz. B. Lindley is her ex-husband and still has not completely moved on from her abrupt dumping of him. He has never accepted the reasons he’s been told, and still has viii unresolved feelings, though he accepts they are different people at this point. He is ultimately a writer and accepts the project, hoping to uncover a resolution and because he is lonely and aging. C. Along with Allison’s life, they research and present in narrative the lives of her parents and Fritz. Grandparents also appear, early in the narrative. D. Lindley and Allison take turns interviewing relevant parties that have observed Family members at key times. The family chronology begins to take shape. E. Meanwhile as Lindley researches Allison’s public life, he finds a chunk of time unaccounted for, that Allison excuses with what Lindley knows to be a lie. He starts pulling on this thread alone, suspecting it may have something to do with their marriage. When she discovers he is acting on this, there is conflict and a reckoning between them. F. The past actions are often discussed between Allison and Lindley to illuminate the predominate themes of • War’s effect on families, especially those not preceded with initials “WW” • Changing expectations on Womanhood vs those on Manhood, particularly with regards to military service • How those differences are echoed in the Family • Effect of Setting on a Person’s desires • Pressures on loving relationships • Instinct versus Intellect II. Past Action ix A. Each of the three other family members, Rose, Larry and Fritz will be profiled. B. Larry’s arc extends from his short-lived baseball career into the Korean War and as non-descript insurance executive. C. Rose met Larry in Korea as a WAC aide. She goes against her family to become a professional and in marrying Larry. She contracts a poorly diagnosed respiratory ailment similar to tuberculosis that causes stress on the growing family. D. Fritz tries to emulate his father, so he plays baseball and then is drafted into Vietnam. He excels as a soldier and becomes a Drill Instructor, until his body ages him into a Marine Corps pensioner. He has difficulty with freedom from duty. He loses his wife and must reconcile the past disappointment he was to his father. III. Geography The locations explored start at a family farm in Hays, Kansas, and proceed to a fictional suburb of Chicago before the children leave home. Allison spends time at Penn and then moves to New York City and adopts an urban lifestyle, then to another suburb. Fritz resides on the West coast near San Diego and Camp Pendleton. The novel returns Allison to the family farm to conclude.


This thesis has been embargoed for 10 years and will not be available until April 2029 at the earliest.


American families, American farmlife, Aftermath of war, Historical fiction