Ann Romines's Constructing the Little House: Gender, Culture, and Laura PDF

By Ann Romines

ISBN-10: 1558491228

ISBN-13: 9781558491229

Writing from a feminist standpoint, the writer examines what's it concerning the "Little residence sequence" that debts for its enduring advertisement good fortune. It examines either the content material of the novels, the method in their construction, and what it demonstrates in regards to the present tendencies of yank tradition.

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Additional info for Constructing the Little House: Gender, Culture, and Laura Ingalls Wilder

Sample text

We can sell [the Big Woods farm] now for as much as we’re ever likely to get, enough to give us a start in a new country’” (2–3). Although historically predictable, this is an astounding decision for the Charles Ingalls of Big Woods, who was a devoted son, brother, and uncle, as well as a husband and father. After leaving the extended, exogamous Ingalls family behind, he will never again share work with brothers on adjacent farms or join in communal sugaring-off with his parents; in fact, he will apparently never see his parents again.

This book returned to Laura; it freed her—and me—from the suffocating smallness of the Little House in the Big Woods and gave her space to run and imagine on the Kansas prairie. And it held out the tantalizing possibility that Westerns and Indians were games, and genres, in which (white) girls too could play. In this third book, published in 1935, Wilder and Lane resumed the story of the Ingalls family, with Laura as protagonist. To do so, it was necessary to disrupt the secure, static now of Big Woods.

The move dislodges the hegemonies of both Laura’s parents: Pa’s heritage of patriarchal prerogative and Ma’s legacy of domestic order and prowess. It initiates a pattern, which will persist throughout the Little House books, of moving, establishing, building, settling, and then uprooting to move again and then to resume the settling process. Neither parent entirely controls this pattern; as Laura grows older, she sees that sometimes the family travels because of Pa’s love for moving, exploration, and new beginnings; sometimes they stay put because of Ma’s insistence on an established community where she and her daughters can have the benefits of schools, church, and a stable middleclass culture.

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Constructing the Little House: Gender, Culture, and Laura Ingalls Wilder by Ann Romines


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