Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder Themes

Caroline Fraser
This Study Guide consists of approximately 67 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Prairie Fires.
This section contains 1,369 words
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The Myth of the Self-sufficicent Farmer

While Laura Ingalls Wilder's books, including Little House on the Prairie, created the myth of a cozy existence in which settlers could live out the American Dream, the reality was quite different. Fraser continues to return to this theme throughout her book, highlighting the economic and environmental difficulties homesteaders faced.

As Fraser notes, homesteading changed the environment, wreaking havoc. The land became more arid as a result of settlement, giving rise to drought and raging fires. In addition, settlers claimed land that they should not have. The Dakota Territory was remarkably unfit for settlement because of its aridity, but boosters sold it to farmers who then faced disaster. Homesteaders were also beset by natural disasters such as blizzards and locusts and faced diseases such as the measles that resulted in Mary's blindness.

The economics of making a living as an independent farmer were...

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This section contains 1,369 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder Study Guide
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