Constructing the Little House: Gender, Culture, and Laura Ingalls Wilder

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Univ of Massachusetts Press, 1997 - Literary Criticism - 287 pages
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With more than thirty-five million copies in print, the Little House series, written in the 1930s and 1940s by Laura Ingalls Wilder and her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, has been a spectacular commercial success. What is it about this eight-volume serial novel for children that accounts for its enduring power? And what does the popularity of these books tell us about the currents of American culture?

Ann Romines interweaves personal observation with scholarly analysis to address these questions. Writing from a feminist perspective and drawing on resources of gender studies, cultural studies, and new historicist reading, she examines both the content of the novels and the process of their creation. She explores the relationship between mother and daughter working as collaborative authors and calls into question our assumptions about plot, juvenile fiction, and constructions of gender on the nineteenth-century frontier and in the Depression years when the Little House books were written.

This is a book that will appeal both to scholars and to general readers who might welcome an engaging and accessible companion volume to the Little House novels.


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Page 27 - Wash on Monday, Iron on Tuesday, Mend on Wednesday, Churn on Thursday, Clean on Friday, Bake on Saturday, Rest on Sunday.
Page 23 - ... should be inside the house. It takes more than the inside of the house to make a pleasant home, and women are capable of making the whole home, outside and in, if necessary. She can do so to perfection on a five-acre farm by hiring some of the outside work done. However, our ideal home should be made by a man and a woman together.

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About the author (1997)

Ann Romines is professor of English and director of the department's graduate studies program at George Washington University.

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