wSep 17, 2008

Reflections on Little House, from Little Apartment in the Moderately-Large City

The library was supposed to have two books on hold for me....BUT IT HAD FOUR. WHAT A GOOD DAY.

Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie series has been my favorite book series since before I could read it myself. My mom used to read it to me every night before bed, and I read the entire series myself once a year, from kindergarten all the way through high school.

I'm rereading them now for the first time since sophomore year of high school, I think, and it's interesting to revisit these stories that I practically know by heart. I'm anxious to see if there is literary criticism on Laura Ingalls Wilder, but I think I'll wait until I finish my reread to look for it.

What I wanted to note, though, is that I have increasingly become more sappy. A couple of years ago, while rewatching Disney movies with my sister's children, I realized that I cry all the time, while when I was a child, I never cried. The same is apparently true for these books. I cried when Mr. Edwards came and visited the girls with Santa Claus's Christmas presents in Little House on the Prairie, and now I'm crying when Pa comes home from working 300 miles away, in On the Banks of Plum Creek. OMF, and now all their Christmas presents from Reverend Alden made me cry, too!

Also, what a contrast Farmer Boy is to Laura's own story! Almanzo's parents were totally loaded when he was a boy! It makes the poverty of Laura's family stand out even more.

Okay, I feel like Almanzo's interest in Laura has overtones of pedophilia. When Laura and Carrie get lost in the slough coming back from town, they find Almanzo and his brother cutting hay. She says Almanzo doesn't take his eyes off her, and smiles "as though he had known her a long time." LAURA IS ONLY 13 AT THIS POINT. My recent re-looking at pictures of Almanzo Wilder confirm the fact that he was totally a stud, but it seems like a really young age for her to make someone interested in her.

The writing quality definitely improves as time goes on, beginning with By the Shores of Silver Lake. Her descriptions of nature, of people, and of processes are much more readable.

Why do I like By the Shores of Silver Lake the most? She skipped a lot, between this book and On the Banks of Plum Creek. Laura never mentions the brother her parents had, who died when he was only a year old. She doesn't even spend much time talking about how sad it is that Mary went blind, until the very end of the book, when Reverend Alden meets them again, and Ma tells him that it's very hard to accept God's will, sometimes. This is also the first book in which Laura resigns herself to becoming a teacher, even though she doesn't want to. I guess I like it now mostly because Laura really describes her love for country life, and also because overall, it's a really happy book. Nothing particularly awful happens in it, and I think that the winter spent in the Surveyors' House might be one of the happiest times her family ever had, beacuse they were so well provided for.

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scribbled mystickeeper at 1:22 PM

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