There's also been criticism of the ignorance present in the books of the illegality of the Ingalls' occupation of land they did not have the right to occupy.
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An important moment concerning Wilder's depiction of Native Americans occurred in , when an eight year old girl read Little House on the Prairie in her elementary school class. The novel contains the line, "The only good Indian is a dead Indian"; and this apparently caused the girl distress.
This comment is made by a minor character whose views do not reflect those of the author. However, her mother, Waziyatawin Angela Cavender Wilson, a member of the Wahpetunwan Dakota nation, challenged the school on its use of the book in the classroom. Laura Ingalls Wilder's work is autobiographical fiction. Wilder embellished or bent the truth on more than one occasion to keep her story interesting. Rose was an "outspoken antigovernment polemicist and is called one of the grandmothers of the libertarian movement.
That is essential in the rhetoric surrounding the Little House books because of the relation between homesteading and the labor theory of property. The labor theory of property is the idea that if someone improves the land with their own labor that they then have rights to that land. Anti-governmental political views, such as those held by Rose Wilder Lane, have been attributed to the Little House books.
In her article, "'Little House on the Prairie' and the Truth About the American West", Patricia Nelson Limerick connects Wilder's apparent and Lane's outright distaste for the government as a way to blame the government for their father's failure at homesteading.
Four series of books expand the Little House series to include five generations of Laura Ingalls Wilder's family. The "Martha Years" and "Charlotte Years" series, by Melissa Wiley , are fictionalized tales of Laura's great-grandmother in Scotland in the late 18th century and grandmother in early 19th century Massachusetts. It was written by her surrogate grandson Roger MacBride.
The story of the first book in the series, Little House in the Big Woods , revolves around the life of the Ingalls family in their small home near Pepin, Wisconsin. In the book, Laura herself turns five years old, when the real-life author had only been three during the events of the book. According to a letter from her daughter, Rose, to biographer William Anderson, the publisher had Laura change her age in the book because it seemed unrealistic for a three-year-old to have specific memories such as she wrote about.
Little House in the Big Woods describes the homesteading skills Laura observed and began to practice during her fifth year. The cousins come for Christmas that year, and Laura receives a doll, which she names Charlotte. They return home with buckets of syrup, enough to last the year.
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Laura remembered that sugaring off, and the dance that followed, for the rest of her life. The book also describes other farm work duties and events, such as the birth of a calf, and the availability of milk , butter and cheese , gardening, field work, hunting, gathering, and more. Everyday housework is also described in detail. When Pa went into the woods to hunt, he usually came home with a deer then smoked the meat for the coming winter. One day he noticed a bee tree and returned from hunting early to get the wash tub and milk pail to collect the honey.
When Pa returned in the winter evenings, Laura and Mary always begged him to play his fiddle , as he was too tired from farm work to play during the summertime. Farmer Boy , published in , is the second-published of the Little House books and it is commonly numbered two in the series, but its story is unrelated to that of the inaugural novel, Little House in the Big Woods.
It features the boyhood of Laura's future husband Almanzo Wilder from before his ninth birthday until after his tenth. The book describes his schooling, holidays, farm work, and most of all, food.
Little House on the Prairie , published in , is the third book in the Little House series but only the second that features the Ingalls family; it continues directly the story of the inaugural novel, Little House in the Big Woods. The book tells about the months the Ingalls family spent on the prairie of Kansas, around the town of Independence, Kansas. At the beginning of this story, Pa Ingalls decides to sell the house in the Big Woods of Wisconsin , and move the family, via covered wagon to the Indian Territory near Independence, Kansas, as there were widely circulating stories that the land technically still under Osage ownership would be opened to settlement by homesteaders imminently.
When the family reaches Indian Territory, they meet Mr. Edwards , who is extremely polite to Ma, but tells Laura and Mary that he is "a wildcat from Tennessee. Edwards is an excellent neighbor, and helps the Ingalls in every way he can, beginning with helping Pa erect their house. Pa builds a roof and a floor for their house and digs a well, and the family is finally settled. At their new home, unlike their time in the Big Woods, the family meets difficulty and danger.
The Ingalls family becomes terribly ill from a disease called at that time " fever 'n' ague " fever with severe chills and shaking which was later identified as malaria. Laura comments on the varied ways they believe to have acquired it, with "Ma" believing it came from eating bad watermelon. Scott, another neighbor, takes care of the family while they are sick. Around this time, Mr. Edwards brings Laura and Mary their Christmas presents from Independence, and in the spring, the Ingalls plant the beginnings of a small farm. Ma's fears about American Indians and Laura's observations at the time of them are contrasted with Pa's liberal view of them, and all these views are shown side by side with the older Laura's objective portrayal of the Osage tribe that lived on that land.
At the end of this book, the family is told that the land must be vacated by settlers as it is not legally open to settlement yet, and in Pa elects to leave the land and move before the Army forcibly requires him to abandon the land. Pa trades his horses Pet and Patty to the property owner a man named Hanson for the land and crops, but later gets two new horses as Christmas presents for the family, which Laura and her sister Mary name "Sam" and "David". Pa soon builds a new, above-ground, wooden house for the family. During this story, Laura and Mary go to school for the first time in town where they meet their teacher, Miss Eva Beadle.
They also meet Nellie Oleson , who makes fun of Laura and Mary for being "country girls. Laura and Mary invite all the girls including Nellie to a party at their house to reciprocate.
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The family soon goes through hard times when a plague of Rocky Mountain Locust decimates their crops. The book ends with Pa returning safely to the house after being unaccounted for during a severe four-day blizzard. The story begins when the family is about to leave Plum Creek, shortly after the family has recovered from the scarlet fever which caused Mary to become blind. The family welcomes a visit from Aunt Docia, whom they had not seen for several years.
Ma and Pa agree, since it will allow Pa to look for a homestead while he works.
The family has endured many hardships on Plum Creek and Pa especially is anxious for a new start. After selling his land and farm to neighbors, Pa goes ahead with the wagon and team. Mary is still too weak to travel so the rest of the family follows later by train. The day Pa leaves, however, their beloved bulldog Jack is found dead, which saddens Laura greatly. In actuality, the dog upon whom Jack was based was no longer with the family at this point, but the author inserted his death here to serve as a transition between her childhood and her adolescence.
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Laura also begins to play a more mature role in the family due to Mary's blindness — Pa instructs Laura to "be Mary's eyes" and to assist her in daily life as she learns to cope with her disability. Mary is strong and willing to learn. The family travels to Dakota Territory by train — this is the children's first train trip and they are excited by the novelty of this new mode of transportation that allows them to travel in one hour the distance it would take a horse and wagon an entire day to cover.
With the family reunited and situated at the railroad camp, Laura meets her cousin Lena, and the two become good friends. As winter approaches, and the railroad workers take down the cabins and head back East, the family wonders where they might stay for the winter. As luck would have it, the county surveyor needs a house-sitter while he is East for the winter, and Pa signs up. It is a winter of luxury for the Ingalls family as they are given all the provisions they need in the large, comfortable house.
They spend a cozy winter with their new friends, Mr. Boast, and both families look forward to starting their new claims in the spring. But the "Spring Rush" comes early. The large mobilization of pioneers to the Dakotas in early March prompts Pa to leave immediately on the few days' trip to the claims office. The girls are left alone and spend their days and nights boarding and feeding all the pioneers passing through. They charge 25 cents for dinner and boarding, starting a savings account toward sending Mary to the School for the Blind in Vinton, Iowa. Pa successfully files his claim, with the aid of old friend Mr.
As the spring flowers bloom and the prairie comes alive with new settlers, the Ingalls family moves to their new piece of land and begins building what will become their permanent home. The Long Winter , published in and sixth in the series, covers the shortest timespan of the novels, only an eight-month period. The winter of — was a notably severe winter in history, sometimes known as "The Snow Winter".
Pa tells Laura that he knows the winter is going to be hard because muskrats always build a house with thick walls before a hard winter, and this year, they have built the thickest walls he has ever seen. In mid-October, the Ingalls wake with an unusually early blizzard howling around their poorly insulated claim shanty. Soon afterward, Pa receives another warning from an unexpected source: a dignified old Native American man comes to the general store in town to warn the white settlers that there will be seven months of blizzards. Impressed, Pa decides to move the family into town for the winter.
Laura attends school with her younger sister, Carrie until the weather becomes too severe to permit them to walk to and from the school building. Blizzard after blizzard sweeps through the town over the next few months. Food and fuel become scarce and expensive, as the town depends on the trains to bring supplies but the frequent blizzards prevent the trains from getting through. Eventually, the railroad company suspends all efforts to dig out the train, stranding the town.
For weeks, the Ingalls subsist on potatoes and coarse brown bread, using twisted hay for fuel. As even this meager food runs out, Laura's future husband Almanzo Wilder and his friend Cap Garland risk their lives to bring wheat to the starving townspeople — enough to last the rest of the winter. Laura's age in this book is also accurate. In , she would have been 13, as she states in the first chapter. However, Almanzo Wilder's age is misrepresented in this book. Much is made of the fact that he is 19 pretending to be 21 in order to illegally obtain a homestead claim from the US government.
But in , his true age would have been Scholar Ann Romines has suggested that Laura made Almanzo younger because it was felt that more modern audiences would be scandalized by the great difference in their ages in light of their young marriage. As predicted, the blizzards continue for seven months. Finally, the trains begin running again, bringing the Ingalls a Christmas barrel full of good things — including a turkey. In the last chapter, they sit down to enjoy their Christmas dinner in May. The story begins as Laura accepts her first job performing sewing work in order to earn money for Mary to go to a college for the blind in Iowa.
Laura's hard work comes to an end by summer when she is let go, and the family begins planning to raise cash crops to pay for Mary's college. After the crops are destroyed by blackbirds, Pa sells a calf to earn the balance of the money needed. In order to stave off the loneliness stemming from Mary's departure, Laura, Carrie, and Grace do the fall cleaning.