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Little House series: book vs reality


YPestis
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I did wonder how they managed okay financially after that.

That's the kind of which annoys me about Rose and Laura being libetarians. They used the government a lot yet act like no one else should and that tax is theft. America would have been in seriously bad shape withought the New Deal.

Pa seems more and more like a dick now I think about him as an adult.

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Doesn't surprise me that fundies claim to read LIW and yet totally miss the latent feminism & general independence of women in the books. After all, a big family goal for 2-3 of the books is to earn enough money to support Mary while she attends a school for the blind.

Then again, think how badly, even hilariously, fundies misread Jane Austen. It's as if they only consider these books as sources for the costume parties re-enactments they put on for themselves and ignore or don't understand the context.

well Mary went to school because the idea of the times was that no one would marry a blind woman so she needed to learn a trade so she could support herself. The school seemed to also teach life skills.

as for Fundies only having a surface understanding of the text well we all know. criticial thinking and reading skills aren't valued in the fundie set. SODRT education is used to mold sheelple, not thinkers.

Honestly I don't know what the obession is with cosplay, it seems like every time i turn around doug's got his whole crew in some new costume.

I believe that fundies have it wrong about that era. Yeah there were times where things were calm and a husband and wife could fall into typical gender roles but those times were probably far and in between. Women back then were not in the house being happy homemakers while the their husbands were out taken care of the fields. They were out there working side by side with husbands to plant those craps or do whatever they needed to do so the family could eat. It was all hands on deck to keep a family afloat.

I think that fundies love that era because it supports their fantasies about complementarian gender division. Back in the 1800's it made sense for men to work the crops and women to care for the home because the men tended to have more physical strength needed for farm work and women needed to keep their babies near them. Fundies love to romantcize women's work and the art of homemaking while convienetly forgetting how freaking easy these tasks can be compared to how they were in the 1800's. Back then many household tasks like churnning butter and washing clothes were all day affairs. It's weird how fundies sort of gloss over how freaking hard those women had to work just to take care of their families.

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Thanks! That was bugging me and I almost headed to the library.

Was that the book where Laura also took the job? I think she also said that she had to "pay back her parents for raising her" in that book. :cry:

GC, I don't remember if she took any jobs in Silver Lake, so on that I have nothing. However, where she really begins taking a lot of jobs is in Little Town on the Prairie, first as a seamstress and then as a schoolteacher.

Which reminds me, someone upthread mentioned that LIW and her sisters, as well as Almanzo Wilder and all his sibs, went to school. As a matter of fact, Ma Ingalls had been a schoolteacher herself before she married. So the woman was more than qualified to teach her own children, but send them to school anyway, even when they were so poor they lived in a dugout. She sent the girls to school barefoot to conserve their shoes for the winter. There was no school of the dining room or even kitchen table for them. Fundies never cease to floor me. It's not like this information was on the down low.

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Which reminds me, someone upthread mentioned that LIW and her sisters, as well as Almanzo Wilder and all his sibs, went to school. As a matter of fact, Ma Ingalls had been a schoolteacher herself before she married. So the woman was more than qualified to teach her own children, but send them to school anyway, even when they were so poor they lived in a dugout. She sent the girls to school barefoot to conserve their shoes for the winter. There was no school of the dining room or even kitchen table for them. Fundies never cease to floor me. It's not like this information was on the down low.

There were times in their lives when they did home school - when they were living too far from civilization or when they were snowed in. So yes, they were partly home schooled, just not as much as the fundies like to think.

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Actually that's not quite true. Yes Laura and her sisters went to school most of the time, but I think I remember in one of the books, The Long Winter? It got too cold or snowy for them to go to school, so Ma taught them. I think this might have happened in Plum Creek too, but I can't quite recall. But I seem to remember that Laura's education contained at least a chunk of SOTDRT, and would've had to, almost, given how rural they were/how much they moved around. (And yes, I'm aware that the Ingalls family might not have been as rural as the books portrayed. However, from the biographies I've read I'm fairly sure they were still farther out than most.)

So, NEllie Owens' and GEnevieve's desencdants didn't like the way Nellie was portrayed? This is news to me, please tell.

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Actually that's not quite true. Yes Laura and her sisters went to school most of the time, but I think I remember in one of the books, The Long Winter? It got too cold or snowy for them to go to school, so Ma taught them. I think this might have happened in Plum Creek too, but I can't quite recall. But I seem to remember that Laura's education contained at least a chunk of SOTDRT, and would've had to, almost, given how rural they were/how much they moved around. (And yes, I'm aware that the Ingalls family might not have been as rural as the books portrayed. However, from the biographies I've read I'm fairly sure they were still farther out than most.)

So, NEllie Owens' and GEnevieve's desencdants didn't like the way Nellie was portrayed? This is news to me, please tell.

"Too cold to go to school" is a lot different than "Everybody used to home school, period."

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"Too cold to go to school" is a lot different than "Everybody used to home school, period."

They were home schooled until they moved close enough to civilization to attend a school. IIRC, Laura could already read when she got to school.

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They were home schooled until they moved close enough to civilization to attend a school. IIRC, Laura could already read when she got to school.

I meant, fundies would probably gloss over this distinction.

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I meant, fundies would probably gloss over this distinction.

Yes, absolutely. And besides, there's something quaint and perfectly fundie sweet about a one room schoolhouse, so even when Laura et al did go to school it wasn't the big, bad, ebil gubment school like today. :roll:

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Those one room schoolhouses were still ebil guvment schools.

They did not go to school during the long winter, but that was because the entire town of DeSmet in what was at the time the Dakota Territory almost starved or froze to death. They were running out of fuel, so they made the decision to close all services in the town to conserve what little fuel they had so they would not freeze.

They were taught by their mother when their was no school available, but that's a lot different from the philosophy of SODRT.

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Caroline Ingalls in real life actually did put her foot down and told her husband after another round of moves that she would not move anywhere where he could not guarantee the children could go to school. She may have put up with a lot by our standards, but even a woman in the 1870s-80s who could not vote had LIMITS.

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It'll be our little secret. ;)

It's nice when you never have to worry about the people locked out of the secret picking up a history book. :roll:

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Another government "handout" the Ingalls had no problem accepting was their homestead(s). Sure, they had to work it to keep it, but it was still free land, and Pa refers to winning his bet with Uncle Sam.

Regarding books written about LIW after her death, there's a few by some idiot who claims to know all about her spiritual life. And, surprise, surprise - he is a fundie! I can't remember the dude's name, but if you run it on Amazon you'll see what I mean. I think it's Dan something.

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Yes, absolutely. And besides, there's something quaint and perfectly fundie sweet about a one room schoolhouse, so even when Laura et al did go to school it wasn't the big, bad, ebil gubment school like today. :roll:

The fundies like the one-room schoolhouse because:

A. It was run by the local school board with little interference from the state, territorial, or federal government. (Laura did need to earn a certificate in order to teach, however.)

B. The kids were taught out of books like the McGuffey Readers, which include moral lessons and references to God. Bible reading and prayer were also a standard part of the school day. Basically, white Protestant parents back then didn't have to worry that the values taught in school were different from what they were learning at home and in church.

C. Children generally attended school less than they do now and spent more time at home. But the fundies seem to miss the part in the Little House books where the big boys only attended during the winter term because they had to work on the family homestead. This means the girls would have ended up better educated than their male counterparts.

D. If the kids were bad, the teacher could use corporal punishment. Fundies like to hear about kids getting whippings.

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I want to read these books again after this thread! It wasn't till I read them as an adult that I realized how bad life really was for them. And, yeah, as a child, Pa always seemed like the fun parent, but as an adult I realized what a jerk he was and how Ma must have been so stressed all the time.

I want to read them again, too!

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One interesting fact about LIW: Her parents were married in 1860, but Mary, the oldest child, wasn't born until 1865. What was going on in those 5 years? I recall a line in one of the books where Ma praises Pa for being such a good provider. Even as a child, I thought that was a gross exaggeration.

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Another government "handout" the Ingalls had no problem accepting was their homestead(s). Sure, they had to work it to keep it, but it was still free land, and Pa refers to winning his bet with Uncle Sam.

Regarding books written about LIW after her death, there's a few by some idiot who claims to know all about her spiritual life. And, surprise, surprise - he is a fundie! I can't remember the dude's name, but if you run it on Amazon you'll see what I mean. I think it's Dan something.

Just looked it up, it's Dan L. White. He's also apparently written 'Devotionals with Laura: Laura's Favorite Bible Selections.' I wonder how she'd feel about that. :?

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Just looked it up, it's Dan L. White. He's also apparently written 'Devotionals with Laura: Laura's Favorite Bible Selections.' I wonder how she'd feel about that. :?

That is just depressing. Some people have no shame.

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The good old days, they weren't so good. When I was a kid, my father NEVER talked about growing up on the farm, nor would he talk about going to Korea. Now that he's elderly, he talks about being on the farm and how they didn't have electricity until he was in high school and it was just one line strung on poles from the road for a couple of lights in the house. Work on the farm was brutal--so hard that joining the Army and going off to Korea was easy by comparison. A lot of what LIW writes about in her book was true for my dad, because so much of the work they did on the farm was done by hand without the aid of machines.

My mom, by comparison, was a town and city girl, as her parents were Okies who made the trip to California and wrote back to everyone that they should get out there it was better than starving. A lot of the relatives did make the trek.

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I believe that fundies have it wrong about that era. Yeah there were times where things were calm and a husband and wife could fall into typical gender roles but those times were probably far and in between. Women back then were not in the house being happy homemakers while the their husbands were out taken care of the fields. They were out there working side by side with husbands to plant those craps or do whatever they needed to do so the family could eat. It was all hands on deck to keep a family afloat.

I think that the fundies think that everyone was upper middle class then or "gentleman farmers", or at least lived like Almonzo's family. IIRC in Farmer Boy, Almonzo's mother and sisters only went in the fields when they had an early frost and they were going to lose the potato crop (or was that "Caddie Woodlawn"? Seriously, I read all of those books as a kid, it's hard to remember who had what dire emergency).

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I wonder how much of the libertarianism was in reaction to that whole nearly-starving-to-death winter, since the government (in the fictionalized account) didn't seem to be that invested in keeping people alive, so why would she trust them to help ever again? I mean, everyone had to come out of that with at least some PTSD. I don't know anything about what went on in terms of official government aid and relief during that winter, so it's just speculation on my part.

They are finally publishing her journals next year and I am very excited to get a less-sanitized version of her life. I suspect her unedited prose will contain occasional moments of the 19th century pioneer version of snark.

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I wonder how much of the libertarianism was in reaction to that whole nearly-starving-to-death winter, since the government (in the fictionalized account) didn't seem to be that invested in keeping people alive, so why would she trust them to help ever again? I mean, everyone had to come out of that with at least some PTSD. I don't know anything about what went on in terms of official government aid and relief during that winter, so it's just speculation on my part.

They are finally publishing her journals next year and I am very excited to get a less-sanitized version of her life. I suspect her unedited prose will contain occasional moments of the 19th century pioneer version of snark.

I always think about how they said Carrie didn't get over the Long Winter very well and was always small and spindly. She married in later life, as did Grace, but neither of them had children of their own. I wonder if their bodies had to deal with the starvation at a very critical stage in their development.

Also, conversely, apparently both Ma and Mary became quite obese and diabetic as they got older. I can just imagine their metabolisms were permanently screwed up.

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Pa was such a fuck-up!

Your family lives at a subsistence level, so absolutely spending $100 on an organ your daughter will be able to play at a mediocre level a few times a year for the five or six years it took Mary to graduate from the school makes total financial sense.

Also, I have been sucked into a youtube little house television show vortex and I cannot escape from all the feathered hair and Pa's ceaseless meddling. This show is so incredibly fucked up, I had no idea. I could snark for hours about how saccharine and traumatizing Michael Landon's (and his 40 pounds of hair) favorite plot devices were. So many orphans! So many people going blind! Death by fire! Rape by mime! (WTF??) Pa is alternately psychotherapist, physiotherapist, substitute preacher and all-around town scold. It's delightful and I can't stop watching.

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