For my presentation I will look at the hardships faced by the Ingalls family, within chapter 25.
This chapter presents a significant political hardship faced by the Ingalls family, the chapter focus’ primarily on the news that the Ingalls are living 3 miles over the line into Indian territory meaning that they would have to relocate away from the area.
The chapter opens with the description of the garden the Ingalls family have created together over their time living on the prairie, there is also a strong emphasis on the future within this description, this can be shown through the repetition of ‘pretty soon’ and the children’s excitement at being able to have vegetables in the future.
Overall this focus on the future creates a foreshadowing effect as we suspect that this will not actually occur ‘pretty soon’. We start to grow suspicious as the majority of the opening to chapter 25 is drawn out, as every new paragraph begins with subjects such as ‘one day’, ‘one evening.’ The title of the chapter also draws our suspicion as it is entitled ‘Soldiers’ which leads us to believe something daunting is going to occur.
Finally, it is revealed by Mr. Scott the news that they are 3 miles over the line into Indian Territory and that soldiers will be coming to remove them. Instead of staying in the house that they created, Pa decides it’s best to move on before the soldiers arrive as to not be ‘taken away like an outlaw.’ The chapter ends with Pa giving Pet and Patty to Mr. Scott, the family saying their goodbyes to Mr Scott and Mr Edwards and enjoying their final meal on the prairie with the food they had been saving. Thus they pack their belongings and move away from the prairie.
There is bittersweet ending to the chapter as ‘everyone was quiet, even jack’ creates a sad and melancholy tone as we can feel the characters heartbreak about having to leave the home they had built and spend so much time with. As this is a children’s books it would be difficult to just end the chapter on such a pessimistic ending as this, therefore Ingalls Wilder chooses to end on in a uplifting and exciting way with Pa stating, “what’s a year amount to? We have all the time there is.”
This particular hardship faced by the Ingalls represents the society of this time by drawing a strong focus on the rivalry between the Indian tribes and the settlers. Throughout the novel we can see that the Ingalls family are unlike many typical settlers of this time as they do not show strong prejudices towards the Indian tribes, Pa even stating: “Indians would be peaceable as anybody else if they were left alone.” Also the fact that the Ingalls do not try to claim the land as their own and ask the soldiers to remove the Indian tribes instead show that they do not hold strong hatred towards them.
Although the Ingalls family faces a lot of difficult hardships during their time living on the prairie, such as the wolves which circle the house wanting to presumably attack the family, as well as the natural hardships such as the chimney fire, the prairie fire and the illness which the whole family suffers from. The illness, which is nowadays known as malaria, is another significant hardship faced by the family as they are too weak to care for themselves and require the help of a passing doctor.
Something which all these hardships have in common is that they are all overcome in some way or another, for example the wolves leave to follow a deer pact, the chimney and prairie fires are tamed before they can do too much damage, and the malaria is cure by a doctor who passes by at the right time. I believe the reason for this being that in a children’s book, such as ‘Little House on the Prairie’, it wouldn’t be suitable to show the family suffering in such ways as this would make the target audience uncomfortable whilst reading. This is also the reason as to why so many of the real stories where left out of Ingalls Wilder’s books, for example, their younger brother who died only a few months old.
In conclusion, I believe that this particular hardship in chapter 25 is most significant, as it not only informs us just how corrupt this society was but it also helps to shape the future for the Ingalls family as they continue to migrate throughout the states, and sets up new stories for the family to be shown in future novels.