Little House on

In Maura D’Amore’s article, “Laura Had a Feeling” (in Avidly), we see a reading of how Little House on the Prairie presents a protagonist whose experience of girlhood is not simply an experience of being protected by her parents, but an experience of fear over the dangers that face their family on the prairie. In her essay on “girlhood” in Keywords for Children’s Literature, Jacqueline Reid-Walsh, discusses how early twentieth-century girls’ books “present more action and adventure for female readers” (94). But this idea of “action and adventure” seems different from the danger D’Amore writes about. In this article, we see that the frontier space of the prairie is not simply exciting, but dangerous – even potentially harmful. This makes us read something negative, rather than positive, in this new place where “only Indians live.” When we take into account the fact that the Ingalls and the other white settlers on the prairie have displaced a community of Osage people, we can imagine how other kinds of girlhood are in even more danger here. D’Amore writes that Wilder’s novel “is asking her country what it means to be a citizen.” This article makes me wonder how another girl in this space – like some girls who are traveling with the mother and “papoose” Laura is so interested in – might also sense “the danger inherent in what her family was doing.”


1 thought on “Little House on”

  1. This discussion makes me wonder how the American Girl series might treat white settlers and displaced Native American people elsewhere in its series. The fact that Kaya’s stories are set when and where they are means that this conversation about native and white girls in frontier spaces is absent from these books.

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