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A Struggle for Life [from Harper's Monthly]

Nordhoff, Charles. "A Struggle for Life [from Harper's Monthly]." New-York Saturday Press. 18 Dec. 1860: 1, 4.
short fiction

Reverend Paul Clifton, raised out east in a comfortable urban setting, is lauded through seminary for his intelligence and drive. He is persuaded by a "natural longing to go out into the world" to travel west and find a congregation in need of his service. The conference of Methodist ministers in Indiana assigns him a ministry in the town of Shottover, one notorious for "starving out" young, inexperienced clergymen. The condition of his new church is poor but Paul is quickly and unexpectedly accepted by his congregation. He meets the Leighton family and marries their daughter, Miranda. Paul returns to the Indiana Conference the following year and shocks everyone by requesting a longer term in Shottover.

The narrator frequently alludes to biblical themes and characters when describing Paul’s reverence, ambition, and anxiety. He describes Midwestern Methodists as simple and logical and often compares them to the more pampered NYC Methodists.