DescriptionLITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE - LAURA INGALLS WILDER
In Laura's early childhood, her father settled on land not yet open for homesteading in what was then Indian Territory near what is now Independence, Kansas—an experience that formed the basis of Ingalls' novel Little House on the Prairie.
The detailed descriptions of pioneer daily life, perils and methods of creating creature comforts are interesting in a documentary sort of way. It's almost instructive in it's passages on the building of a log cabin and rocking chair. We see the process of taming the wild land to make a working farm, and the struggle to build a functional home for a growing family, out there in the middle of nothing but prairie.
One surprising element of the book is the way it addresses the issue of Native Americans. At the beginning of the book, Pa decides to settle several miles into Indian Territory with assurances from the U.S. government that it will soon be opened to settlers. This creates tension with the Osage Indians living in the area. The feeling of manifest destiny and fear of Native Americans is realistic for white pioneers at the time. However, the portrayals of Native Americans tend toward stereotypes of noble savage and wildman. The tension over land and culture is felt periodically throughout the book and brings about the eventual climax.
Governmental decisions and big-scale events are simplified through the child's point of view - this is not "hard history," but rather history made intimate, a "this is how we lived it."
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