In celebration of Indiana’s Bicentennial, Infinite Gestation discusses The Magnificent Ambersons, the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Booth Tarkington.

Georgie Minafer (third generation Amberson), with his desire to become a yachtsman,  personifies the height of smug aristocracy by his refusal to embark upon a career or make a life for himself. The arrogant assumption that he might live upon his family’s wealth and status indefinitely is sorely mistaken, for it is the end of a gilded age for the Amberson family. Once the epitome of wealth and the toast of the Midland City (a thinly veiled Indianapolis), the realized potential of the automobile and industrialization of the city causes massive growth that edges out much the old guard in favor of families of “new money”.  The Ambersons are among those left behind, though Major (the patriarch) manages to conceal the state of such affairs until after his death, forcing his heirs to start from scratch and make their way in a city that no longer remembers the Amberson name.

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