Study Guide

Angle of Repose Ambition

By Wallace Stegner

Ambition

Oliver Ward is one ambitious dude. He's got no other choice: you've got to be on your grind if you want to survive in the Wild West of Angle of Repose. While Oliver works harder than anyone in the world, he proves himself far less adept at the business side of his endeavors, which never stop tripping him up. Don't think that's going to slow him down, though. Even when failure is staring him in the face, Oliver keeps doing what he does best: putting the pedal to the metal.

Questions About Ambition

  1. Why do so many of Oliver's business ventures fail? Explain.
  2. Is Susan ambitious? Explain your answer.
  3. How do Oliver's and Frank's work ethics differ? How are they similar?
  4. In what ways is ambition related to the idea of the "West"?

Chew on This

Although Oliver is as ambitious as they come, his businesses continually fail because he lacks the killer instinct that sets great businesspeople apart.

Although Frank works very hard, he lacks the patience that eventually helps Oliver make a success out of himself.

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