The Emigrants Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 42 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Emigrants.
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The Emigrants Summary & Study Guide Description

The Emigrants Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on The Emigrants by Vilhelm Moberg.

Karl Oskar inherits his land in 1844, which is the same year when King Oskar I ascends the throne of Sweden and Norway. With the property Karl also inherits a debt worth three quarters of its value. He must work for as long as he lives to repay it.

Karl Oskar meets Kristina when she is seventeen. He has to wait three years before they can get married. To be approved by his wife's parents he also has to have a farmstead.

Karl Oskar's brother Robert is known for his disobedience. When he is fifteen, he is sent to work as a farmhand for Aron of Nybacken. He resents working for others so much that he considers killing himself on the way. He simulates his own death, but is caught by Aron himself as he tries to reach Karlshamn by the sea. He punished and taken back to Nybacken.

Robert lives in Nybacken in one room with Arvid, who is nicknamed the Bull of Nybacken after being accused of impregnating Aron's heifer. Arvid thinks his life is ruined because of this rumor. Both are not allowed to see their families. Robert's duties involve attending animals and serving everybody else. He has two books. They are the History of Nature and the Bible. In spare moments, he reads to Arvid about America and the world. Arvid becomes curious about America and decides to join Robert when he learns about his intentions to migrate.

Karl Oskar's debts increase in the wake of droughts and wet weather. He finally has to borrow money from Kristina's uncle, Danjel. When he visits him he finds he hosts other people while refusing to charge him interest on the money he lends. Danjel starts practicing Åke Svenson's faith after experiencing a vision of him and Jesus Christ. He abandons drinking, swearing, and marital sex.

Punished and beaten by Aron Robert decides to leave his employer. He comes home and shows his family the red marks he has from flogging. Although Karl Oskar allows him to stay at home, Sheriff Lönnegren searches for him in order to deliver him back to his employer. Robert becomes a fugitive.

Dean Brusander decides to stop Danjel from practicing his faith to prevent the disruption of the unity among the community where only the pure Lutheran religion can be practiced. Along with Sheriff Lönnegren they visit Danjel and order him to stop practicing. As Danjel continues preaching, he is fined and jailed.

Karl and Robert agree to travel to America together. Soon, Danjel also joins them. In April, Karl with Kristina and their children embark on their journey to America. They drive to Akerby where they meet Danjel with his family, Ulrika, her daughter, and Jonas Petter who left his wife. They board the ship Charlotta on 14 April 1850 in Karlshamn along with 78 other passengers.

Most passengers experience seasickness and scurvy. Kristina, while pregnant also gets both. One night she starts bleeding heavily. She barely escapes death if not for Karl's intervention, who asks Captain Lorentz for help. In the morning Kristina is alive, but Inga Lena, Danjel's wife, passes away. She is the eighth person who dies on the Charlotta during the trip.

They reach New York just before the Midsummer. Robert and Elin have been learning English and are ready to seek employment. Karl Oskar also prepares himself for his new life, discarding all items that separate him from the New World.

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