In 1887, Hamlin Garland, then a 27-year-old aspiring writer, traveled by train from Boston back to his family’s farm in Ordway, South Dakota. Having spent most of his life in the Midwest, and shuttling around the Dakotas, Iowa, and Wisconsin, Garland was familiar with agrarian life, but with his return, he had evolved: “The ugliness, the endless drudgery,” he later wrote, “and the loneliness of the farmer’s lot smote me with stern insistence.”
If you’ve not read Garland before, I’d recommend checking out some of the stories in Main-Travelled Roads. Many thanks to The Millions for publishing the piece. As the NY Times said, it’s truly the “indispensable” lit site.