90 pages 3 hours read

Amor Towles

The Lincoln Highway

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2021

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Part 1Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 1: “Ten”

Part 1, Chapter 1 Summary: “Emmett”

On June 12, 1954, Emmett Watson is driven back to his family farm in Morgen, Nebraska from the juvenile correctional facility in Salina, Kansas, where he has just finished serving out an 18-month sentence for manslaughter. At the wheel is Warden Williams, who has a positive impression of the 18-year-old. Williams acknowledges the difference between Emmett and the other inmates, “[…] whatever series of events has brought them under our sphere of influence is just the beginning of a long journey of a life through trouble (4),” and that he knows Emmett feels remorse.

Waiting at home is Emmett’s neighbor Mr. Ransom, who has cared for Emmett’s brother Billy since the death of their father Charlie. Tom, from the bank, is present to oversee Emmett’s signature relinquishing his property. Emmett’s father had taken out several loans he could not repay, and their farm is being repossessed. Charlie Watson left Boston for Nebraska in 1933 to establish himself as a farmer, eschewing his family privilege in order to seek out an existence achieved entirely through his own efforts. Charlie never found success in farming, habitually making impractical decisions and seemingly always at odds with the weather and climate no matter how he tried to shift his approach.

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