O.E. Rölvaag’s thesis in the novel Giants in the Earthis well hidden throughout the text of the novel, but his purpose is very clear. The purpose of the book is to give the reader a full experience of how life was like for an immigrant to start all over again in an unknown, unexplored habitat. It also furnishes the reader with the knowledge of the hardship and consequences that the alien settlers dealt with on the prairie.
The topics that Rölvaag writes about in the novel are those of manual labor for survival and the mental state of each character after living in the total desolation of the wilderness. All throughout the book, each of the characters does their own share of work. From Per Hansa’s building of a barn-house combo, white washing the sod walls with lime, and growing and selling potatoes to Ole’s chopping wood up on the copping block; everyone did their part in order to survive or at least to live somewhat comfortably. The second topic deals with the mental state of the pioneer when living in total desolation. For the male pioneers, living on the prairie was almost a dream. This was the place one could hunt and build. This was the place one could live off of his own hands. For example, Per Hans is basically happy with the prairie from the beginning to the end of the book. He knows that someday it will become a large town or city that he helped start or that in the future it will be the same clear and peaceful prairie forever. He finds happiness in these thoughts and he continues to keep himself busy by working as hard as he possibly can to keep the property in the best possible shape it can be. The story was not quite the same for most female pioneers of that time. Most of the female pioneers, shown by the character of Beret, feared the open plains, feared the desolation that stretched out infront of them. While the men were out working, the women stayed in the small huts or houses, all alone or...
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