Friday, May 23, 2008

Pioneers

The Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz sought courage and went to great lengths to find it. It seems to me that both Laura Ingalls Wilder and her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, must have been born with a large amount of courage. Even though these women were not expected to do much outside of traditional work, both chose to write, and were independent, adventurous, and above all else perhaps, courageous. They wrote because it was important to them, and they also performed their more traditional roles as well as wives and mothers. In West from Home, along with vivid descriptions of the World's Fair, San Francisco, and other sights, Laura gives her husband, Manly, precise directions about managing this and that on the farm. The farm stays in her thoughts and letters throughout her trip to San Francisco and the World's Fair. Laura does not forget her responsibility to Manly and the farm. Laura and Rose, a mother-daughter team, were "super women" of the early 1900's! Reading their letters is a joy, and foretells the achievements of the future--Laura writing the Little House books, and Rose editing them. These courageous women captured the essence of life in frontier America in nine classic volumes. They were true pioneers.

(P.S. I keep these "English lessons" short so they won't get too boring! I'm interested in your thoughts, and would like to turn this into conversations rather than essays. Can't relate to Little House on the Prairie type stories? This is our history! Perhaps I yearn for simpler times. . . .)

4 comments:

  1. I would like to read this collection, the family must have been very close and loving!

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  2. These letters are worth reading. I love the descriptions of San Francisco and Berkeley.

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  3. I look forward to reading the letters. The LIW book series is a remarkable historical record. Times were indeed hard for them, but they were so much more connected to the land and immediate survival whereas we are more steps removed in modern society, especially in higher population density areas. They were more in touch with the power of nature and related changing fortunes and challenges they couldn't control. As we do, they had their mix of people of good will; experienced the difficulties of establishing cooperative communities and dealing with people who were a "vexation to the spirit." I think earthquakes, volcano eruptions, tornadoes hurricanes, 9-11, etc. only temporarily bring to our minds the vigilance and respect we must have for the planet we live on. We get complacent all too easily and all too quickly. The pioneers of the plains were courageous in their ability to sustain themselves in a harsh environment and come to peace with it and themselves. Sometimes, it meant moving to a new location, sometimes it meant simply waiting several seasons to replant. It is even more intriguing to note that all the stories of LIW were in her memory for all those years; only to be rediscovered after a refreshing trip to California. A beautiful landscape, and being around creative minds and people of good will does wonders for the human spirit.

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  4. Great review! I haven't read these letters since I was younger. I should really read them again when I finish the series.

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