Thursday, October 21, 2010

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

This was the second book in the Little House series and almost just as lovely as the first.

I say 'almost' because there was one thing that really, really bothered me in it. The portrayal of American Indians as scary savages. I was not able to get past it AT ALL and each and every reference made me cringe. The father's attitude wasn't too bad, but the mother and the neighbors were horrible! I did like it when one of the small girls asked about the Indians, saying something like 'but if this is Indian Territory then won't the Indians be mad if we make them move somewhere else?'. Yes, they will.

I hope that this gets better in the next books and that they all realise that we're all people, etc. Otherwise how does one explain such an attitude to a child? I like the series and planned on keeping it for when my son is old enough to read it, but I guess I need to give an explanation for the Indian bashing. Sigh.

(As an aside, has anyone read Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown? I read about half of it and had to stop because it was too sad... I'd like to get through the whole thing at some point though.)

The Little House series has loads of good stuff too though - what I like most are the descriptions of their daily life, like of the father building the house. You can actually see him building it, log by log. Most of us don't really make things from scratch ourseelves anymore, so it's nice to read about how you can make things and use things and not produce any waste. That part's great for kids!


Larissa said...

What horrified me was in the first book how she describe the killing of animals and how they treated them to make sure they had meat all winter long. And then how the bladders served to make balloons...
I guess it was different times but still, that was hard on me.
That being said, all the descriptions of their lives were really interesting and should be lessons for us today.
I haven't read the others yet but intend to one day. If you're faster than me please share your feeelings! ;-)

Alex (The Sleepless Reader) said...

Always a challenge to explain books set in a less politically-correct time to kids... Did you see the series? I forget if the racism was as evident there.

joanna said...

Larissa - yes, their lives certainly were different, weren't they? That's the aspect I love, the detail of everyday life. Stuff like the bladder balloons fascinates me! :-)

Alex - No, I haven't, but I want to!

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

I haven't read this or the Dee Brown book you talk about. Though I did drive by Wilder's homestead in S. Dakota last summer and boy is it bleak country out there--absolutely nothing!! One day I'll get to these--glad you're enjoying!

joanna said...

Trish - wow, it'd be great to do a trip like that!

*ೃ༄ Jillian said...

I've just read/reviewed this book and 100% agree with you on the Native Americans: it really turned me off.

Love the series though!

I love meeting folks who are reading these books. :-)