Giants in the Earth Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. What is the Hansa family doing as the novel opens? Why?

The Hansa family is in the middle of a trek from Filmore County, Minnesota, to Dakota Territory. They are going to stake a claim of land in the territory and start a new life. Per Hansa will be a farmer and is hoping that his family will thrive and be successful with land of their own.

2. Describe the Hansa family.

The Hansa family consists of six members, soon to be seven as the mother, Beret, is pregnant. Besides the mother, Beret, there is Per, the father; Olemand or Ola, the eldest son at age 9; Hans Kristian or Store-Hans, the middle child; and Anna Marie, called And-Ongen, the youngest member of the Hansa family. Per Hansa seems to be the adventurer and leader of his family. He has brought his family on this journey to unknown land to determine a better future and stake some claim to land of his own. His wife, Beret, is more unsure. She is going along out of loyalty to her family and husband, but seems afraid. The two boys seem to look up to their father and aspire to be like him; at the same time, they try to assuage the fears of their mother. The youngest child, Anna Marie, may be too young to have much of a personality at this point as she is not described in very much detail yet.

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