There are many similarities between King Lear and A Thousand Acres, including both plot details and character development. For example, some of the names of the main characters in the novel are reminiscent of their Shakespearean counterparts. Larry is Lear, Ginny is Goneril, Rose is Regan, and Caroline is Cordelia. The role of the Cooks' neighbors, Harold Clark and his sons Loren and Jess, also rework the importance of Gloucester, Edgar and Edmund in King Lear.
The novel maintains major themes present in Lear, namely: gender roles, appearances vs. reality, generational conflict, hierarchical structures (the Great chain of being), madness, and the powerful force of nature.