Hattie Big Sky, written by Kirby Larson, describes the life of a sixteen-year-old girl named Hattie during the early 1900’s. The story gives the reader a closer look into Hattie’s orphan life and orphan life during that time period in general. Also, the story conveys that with determination anyone can create the future they most desire for themselves. Although the story’s beginning was rather depressing, Hattie’s positive and courageous attitude created an uplifting, prideful, and inspiring mood.
Hattie spent much of her younger years living with different relatives because both of her parents had died when she was five. As Hattie was “tossed” from one relative’s home to another throughout her childhood, she never had a sense of belonging. To make matters worse, her relatives treated her like a hassle—as though her very existence was an annoyance. Needless to say, Hattie’s relatives were neither supportive nor encouraging of her. By age 16, Hattie’s feeling of self-worth was at an all time low. The story did not describe her appearance in depth, but it did say she was very modest and dressed humbly.
When the story began, Hattie was living with her Uncle Holt and her Aunt Ivy in Arlington Iowa. Even though Hattie would finish her schooling that year, her Aunt Ivy was insistent that she be sent to a boarding school. Aunt Ivy felt that having to take care of Hattie was a burden and wanted to be rid of her as soon as possible.
Before Aunt Ivy had a chance to send Hattie to the boarding school, Hattie received a letter stating that her Uncle Chester had passed away. It also said that she was to inherit his 320-acre property in Montana if she would fulfill the remaining homestead requirements in order to keep it. The homestead requirements consisted of setting 480 rods of fence, cultivating on eighth of the property, and finally, paying a fee of 38 dollars for the free land. The letter said that the family who lived next door to Hattie’s Uncle Chester would allow her to live with them while she fulfilled said duties. Hattie responded to this by sending a letter to Uncle Chester’s former neighbors saying that she would come. A couple of days later, Hattie boarded the train to Montana. This was the beginning of a new, brighter, and happier future for Hattie.
As planned, Hattie stayed with Uncle Chester’s former neighbors while she fulfilled her duties. During these months, Hattie became very close to the family she stayed with. They made her feel a sense of belonging and that she did in fact matter. The family taught Hattie how to cook, wash, bake, and quilt. Hattie was extremely appreciative of their kindness and consideration—as she was robbed of a stable family life during her childhood.
Although Hattie had a happy relationship with the family she was staying with, she still faced obstacles. Some of the people living in the small Montana community were very negative towards her because they doubted that she would be able to fulfill her duties....