Honors American History/Geography 9
28 May 2014
Giants in the Earth
1) Per Hansa is a man best fit to be a pioneer. He is hard-working, honest, thoughtful, caring, and many other things that help him to get ahead in life on the prairie. Just by the way that he goes about everything with such joy, one can see that his body has been programmed to live on the Great Plains. He takes pleasure in doing his chores and daily work on the farm because he knows that it will cause him to prosper further on in life. He treats his kids and wife with respect and only uses harshness and strictness after exhausting all other options. He is thoughtful in the sense that, while his companions are thinking about only what is happening right then in their lives, he is always thinking about the big picture and trying to prepare for what will come next. This allows him to be one step ahead of his neighbors in everything that he does. An example of this is how he buys furs from the Indians and sends them back to Minnesota to sell for a high profit, while his neighbors sit around and wait for the planting season to start. All of this helps him to become a very prosperous farmer.
2) Beret Hansa is the character who changes the most throughout the book. At the beginning of the novel, she seems to be just as joyous as Per Hansa, her husband, to be moving out West to the Great Unknown. After they get there, however, she becomes very troubled. She begins to hate everything about the prairie and see evil in everything, including her own child. She starts to see her dead mother in hallucinations that she has and in these hallucinations, tells her mother of all the evil around her. Her relationship with Per Hansa becomes cold, and with her kids she begins to punish them more severely. She becomes blind to all things good and can only see the evil of plague and death. Suddenly, as quickly as she had become dark, she snapped back into normality and began to see everything in a new light. She was able to appreciate the things that had been given to her and the prairie started to grow on her. In the beginning and end, she is the perfect pioneers wife; but towards the middle, she would be any pioneers arch-nemesis.
3) The main force behind the settlers to move out West is the same force that drives people nowadays to do make any decision, economic gain. Just think, 160 acres of land for free and all you had to do was build a homestead and begin to farm on it within five years. There is no better way to make money. The people coming out to the West were not wealthy business men, they were mostly uneducated farmers, and to an uneducated farmer, making money farming is a much better alternative for not making money not farming. Many people would also venture out into the Great Unknown in hopes of finding a place that they could call home, since many were immigrants to America. The final reason that people would head out for the Great...