Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

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Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder, is inspired by the author’s childhood experiences living in the American Mid-West region. The author centers her book on truth, peaceful living, orphans, and humility. Little House on the Prairie is part of the “Little House” Books, a series that was published by Harper & Brothers between 1932 and 1943, and in 1971.

Introduction

Little House on the Prairie is a classic novel that would never go away despite coming out many years ago. It’s a beautiful literary work that has profound teaching for everyone. This book has inspired a lot of people, movies, television series, and has showcased many actors and actresses such as Melissa sue Anderson, Alison Arngrim, Michael Landon, Melissa Gilbert, Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush, Karen Grassle

The story captures the imagination of adults, children, and adolescents with great moral lessons. Laura Ingalls was able to cover the childhood years of her future husband through this book.

Overview

The novel begins as the Ingalls family moves out of their small house in the deep woods of Wisconsin to begin a new life in Kansas. Pa made the decision to move into the Indian Territory because the woods of Wisconsin have become so populated that it is hard to raise a farm – the logging and hunting industries drive roaming animals away. Ma initially protests the move, arguing that it is premature and should wait until spring warms the Midwest. Pa responds that it will be too difficult to cross the Mississippi River and the Great Plains once they thaw out.

As the Ingalls travel westward to Kansas, they rarely delay more than a night, camping in a multitude of locations. They face difficult environmental obstacles, including thunderstorms and flash floods. In one particularly perilous attempt to cross a river swelling with the latest rain, they almost die. Their horses, Patty and Pet, survive; however, their dog, Jack, goes missing. The Ingalls conclude that Jack has drowned, causing Wilder to despair. That evening, they set up camp on a prairie hill, and Laura observes a wolf in the distance, appearing to stalk the family. Pa prepares his rifle but soon discovers that the figure is Jack, who forded the river on his own and caught up using the family’s scent.

The family presses on through the vast prairies of the Midwest. Eventually, somewhere near the Verdigris River, Pa abruptly stops, declaring that they are standing on the spot where he will build their new cabin. Painstakingly, he builds it out of lumber from the nearby woods, aided by Ma. Ma sprains her foot but recovers quickly. A neighbor, Mr. Edwards, becomes friends with Pa and reveals that he is building his own cabin. Mr. Edwards lends a hand building the Ingalls’ home. The night it is finished, Ma cooks supper for the family and invites Mr. Edwards. Pa plays the fiddle and everyone dances to his music.

Life goes smoothly for the family for a while, until one day Pa gallops home atop Patty, warning that he just saw a pack of dozens of wolves. He tries to hide the fear in his voice so Wilder and her siblings don’t become upset. Pa focuses, instead, on the news that he found a new set of neighbors a few miles from home, and learned that a number of indigenous people live nearby. The young Wilder romanticizes the Indians, imagining people like those she has heard of in stories. Ma is somewhat xenophobic against the nearby Osage tribe even though they are living in their territory. She rationalizes their decision to remain with the rumor that the U.S. government will soon annex the territory, suggesting that more white settlers will soon be flocking to settle permanently in the area.

The Osage people begin to show up nearer and nearer to the Ingalls’ home. Their loud activities and shouting of war cry at an unknown enemy scare the family into thinking they may eventually be targeted. Pa helps avert disaster by making friends with an Osage chief and landing on good terms with the tribe. At a different point in time, the family also survives a severe bout of malaria, for which they are unable to ascertain an origin.

Their triumphs notwithstanding, Little House on the Prairie ends with misfortune as the Ingalls family learns their presence on the Indian Territory has been deemed illegal. Anticipating the arrival of United States soldiers to forcibly remove them, they pack up their belongings and leave their home behind. Nevertheless, Wilder looks back on her experience as a time that was constructive for her family’s relationships and kindled in them a spirit of survival. This phase of her life taught her that setbacks are universal and that one can value life despite them.

Telling the truth

Little House on the Prairie teaches children the importance of always telling the truth hoping they grow with that into adulthood. Be honest in our daily lives these days can be tough. Because there are many challenging situations and circumstances we face, but we have the choice to either tell lies or to tell the truth. The Little House on the Prairie teaches children to say the truth no matter what. Telling lies may just offer a temporal solution to a particular situation. The advantages of telling the truth far outweigh telling lies.

In the book, Mary and Laura have opportunities to tell lies, but they choose to say the truth always, and so people trust them. However, some characters in the book always tell lies and are dishonest, such as Walnut Grove. Nobody can trust him because of his dishonest nature. Honesty is a challenge for adults and children, but you can only be trusted if you are honest.  It is very important for children to be sincere among their classmates, family members, neighbors, and any other place they find themselves. This is because the consequences of insincerity and lies could be disastrous.

Ingalls Wider’s Little house on the Prairie teaches that when you are honest, you can develop a deeper connection with people, you would earn respect and trust, and you would be more confident. Mary and Laura get all these benefits from the people around them because they were taught not to tell lies.

Living peacefully with people

Living peacefully with people in the town on the Prairie is the most prominent theme in the Novel.  It teaches children to be kind, respectful, and live in harmony with other students, with their neighbors, Church, work, or where ever they encounter other humans. We live in a highly turbulent world, and if children can learn how to live in harmony with one another, the world would be a better place.

Little House on the Prairie has lots of lessons for children on peaceful coexistence. For example, it teaches that when you live peacefully with others, you would also have inner peace. You would have a peaceful life when you eliminate ego, pride, and selfish desires from your life. There are numerous experiences every day that threaten our peace, but we have the choice to say no to violence and selfishness. The importance of living peacefully with others around us, and even when we meet damaging people, cannot be overestimated, and this is a major theme in the book — no matter where Children find themselves, they should learn how to live in harmony with one another.

Living peacefully with others is perfectly exemplified in the Ingalls family. They ensure a peaceful daily interaction in the town of Walnut Grove. They give viewers a practical and often humorous approach to living peacefully even when they meet troublesome people. In the book, Harriet Oleson and Nellie Oleson are extremely challenging and difficult to deal with. Still, Laura and Caroline exercise kindness and self-control, which enables them to overcome the challenging situation. Everyone seems to be running in circles all around us, looking for whom to hurt. However, we have a choice to follow meaningless steps or to make a wiser choice and live peacefully with others far and near.

Living in humility

Little House on the Prairie defines humility as a low and modest view of the relevance of yourself. This means if you have humility, the pleasures and wishes of others would most often overshadow yours. However, to learn humility, you must learn its importance and know when and where to apply it. It teaches children that being humble is one of the most important factors in achieving your goals in life. And you should not be proud when you achieve your goals, rather; you should share your successes with the people around you.

Humility is one of the greatest virtues humans should possess, and it should be sought after every day of our lives. After Little House on the Prairie, children are expected to have a better understanding of why humility is important and how to develop humility in their lives. It does not matter if you are wealthy, strong, or courageous. Without humility, it would be almost impossible for you to achieve your goals in life. In the book, Charles Ingalls is a strong, courageous, and hardworking man, but he has a spirit of unusual humility.

In most cultures, humility is seen as a weakness, but certain characters like Charles in the book proves it wrong. He constantly cleans up the horses; gracefully works to feed his family, cleans up the barns, and has respect for the old and young alike. No job is too mean for him, and so long as a job opportunity arose, he would gladly accept just to sustain the needs of his family. He values others more than himself and let them win in competing situations.  The lifestyle of Charles is a great lesson for children that can help them always keep their pride in check. The book teaches us that humility makes us more likable, humility opens the door for truth, and humility shows gratitude.

Caring for orphans

Orphans go through very challenging situations. Donating to charity can be a rewarding experience for you and also benefit the orphan. Children need to learn how to give from a very young age. Millions of people give to charity, but it is still not enough. If everyone can give to one orphan, then the orphanage home would be better. Little House on the Prairie teaches us that donating to charity can make you feel better. Having the knowledge that you are empowering the less privileged can, in turn, bring joy and satisfaction to you. The adage said, “It is always more pleasurable to be a giver than receiving” is always very comforting and reassuring. In the Little House on the Prairie adoption of orphans is a major theme among the Ingalls family. Because of love and compassion, they adopt 3 children and provide their needs with respect. Other characters that adopt orphans are the Walnut Grove, Edwards, and Oleson’s, who adopt 4 children between them.

Little House on the Praire further teaches that we should feel privileged to improve and impact the lives of others and also have a sense of obligation towards it. Acting on these feelings of being responsible to the orphans can greatly reinforce our values and self-esteem.

Conclusion

Laura Ingalls is best remembered for her work at the Little House on the Prairie. The book has drawn multiple adaptations for both screen and stage displays, and every year thousands of copies are sold worldwide in different languages. It has won numerous awards has sold more than 60 million copies in over a hundred countries and remains a classic more than 80 years after its introduction.

The book has won the American Library Association award and also five-time runners-up for the annual Newberry Medal. In 1954 Laura Ingalls has inaugurated a lifetime achievement award for illustrators and children writers. Other notable books Laura Ingalls wrote are on The Way Home, The Last Four Years, The Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls, and lots more.

Even though her earlier books were rejected, she did not get discouraged; instead, she worked hard to become one of the greatest American Literature writers of all time.

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