Giants In The Earth by Ole Edvart Rølvaag

Giants In The Earth by Ole Edvart Rølvaag

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Giants In The Earth by Ole Edvart Rølvaag

I think this book is a very interesting story. I have never read a western before much less one about foreigners. To begin with, I thought Per Hansa was a man of action and a natural pioneer. Throughout the story he showed optimism and great courage in the face of hardship. To me he seems very intelligent, strong, and a natural leader in his community and throughout the story he seemed to succeed at almost everything he did. When it comes to his wife, Beret, it's a different story; unlike her husband she cannot endure life on the prairie. She longs to return to the comforts of her home in Norway. Nevertheless, I feel she does not blame him for persuading her to immigrate. It seems to me that throughout the story she constantly fears the unknown, lurking threats of the wilderness. I thought it was very interesting that Per and Beret are not at first identified by name. They were simply referred to as "the man" and "the woman." I'm not sure why, but my opinion is this may have been done to try to relate what it was like for all immigrants coming to America at this time. I can't imagine being lost in the wilderness from the rest of the group like the Hansa's were. I don't understand how he walked for miles in the wilderness to find the trail of the other wagons without getting lost, much less finding his way back. I could really tell how much Beret disliked it when they met up with the rest of their friends. Her reaction was much different than her husband's. Per compares the prairies to the fertile land of Egypt, while Beret is unimpressed by the land. In fact, she is appalled by how immense and desolate the place looks. When Per meets the Indians, I see again that he is the only one in the story that can be calm and not panic. I thought it very interesting, that by him showing an act of kindness by treating the Indian's injured hand he received a pony for payment. I also notice that as the story continues to unfold, Per's wife is becoming more and more unstable. Beret makes other people around her feel uncomfortable because of her moodiness. It is starting to become clear to me that she is suffering from something more than just homesickness.

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I thought the story really started to get interesting when the Irish came back to their land and could not find their landmarks. This is the point of the story at which I realized that Per was not the saint I portrayed him to be. I also thought it very interesting that the only one in the group that thought what he did was wrong was his wife. I also thought it was neat how Per referred to the Irish as trolls. I see that he himself is prejudiced toward other immigrants, but kind to his own nationality. This is evident when he felt sorry for another Norwegian family and gave them some of his potatoes for free on his way to town to sell his goods. In the same aspect I can tell that Beret is getting worse when she beat her kids for the first time ever. She had her bags packed ready to go back to her country, but when Per got back from his journey to town he was still able to put her in a better mood. When winter came, I could really see how far gone Beret was. She was extremely depressed and there was nothing Per could do to make the situation any better. I don't think it helped matters any when Per white ashed the inside of the of the sod house. Beret seemed to grow more and more desolate. Her neighbors rarely visited her because she made them fell so uncomfortable. It seemed to me that being cooped up in the white house all winter was beginning to drive her insane. She didn't eat or sleep anymore and cried all the time. She didn't seem to care watch her appearance looked like. The only time she would fix her self up at all is when Per would bring it to her attention of how unkempt she was becoming. I felt bad for Per at this point of the story because he just kept thinking that everything would be alright when she had the baby. I was half expecting her to kill her self at this point when she kept thinking that god was punishing her for all of her sins. I knew she was having a mental breakdown when she started to think about death all the time. It really surprised me when she started to improve after the birth of her baby. I didn't think anything would bring her out of that depression. She was a little better but far from alright. At least she stopped talking about death all the time. Then again as fortune would have it, Per got lost in a snow storm, but amazingly (ha ha) he found shelter. This point of the story interested me because it was shortly after this that the group of settlers decided it would be a good idea to change their names to be more American. I don't think I would ever change my name so I would not sound like an American. Beret seemed to agree with me. I thought the next few chapters were really boring. I was not interested at all about the planting of the crops. All I noticed through the whole thing was that Beret was still just as depressed as ever and that Per was the luckiest man in the world.(lol) . .His crops not only survived being planted early but became the best crops in the settlement. . He also managed to escape a plague of locust by a gun shot.
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