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Constructing the Little House: Gender, Culture, and Laura Ingalls Wilder Paperback


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Constructing the Little House: Gender, Culture, and Laura Ingalls Wilder + Little House, Long Shadow: Laura Ingalls Wilder's Impact on American Culture + Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose Wilder Lane: Authorship, Place, Time, and Culture
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 287 pages
  • Publisher: Univ of Massachusetts Pr (December 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558491228
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558491229
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,365,109 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

The author tried too hard to find conflict where there wasn't any.
Melissa Garland
Ms Romines continually applies unspoken motives to the characters' actions that are not implied in Mrs. Wilder's narative.
Denise J. Shearer
Ms. Romines lets her arguments lead her to the supporting evidence and not the other was around.
"dk572@med.nyu.edu"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Kendra on September 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
What most of the reviewers here seem to have missed is that Romines's book is an academic analysis; don't read it if you're not interested in a textual analysis of the books. All that being said, as someone who loved the Little House books as a child and reread them as an adult, I was shocked to rediscover the gender and ethnic issues raised in the books. Romines book provided just the sort of scholarly analysis that I was looking for. I do feel that Romines made a few too many assumptions in her analyses (for example, the issue raised by other reviewers about the *subconscious* incestuous relationship between Laura and her father) -- but this may be because I don't really have a background in literary theory. Nonetheless, I was fascinated by the analysis of gender, race and ethnicity, consumption, age, etc., issues that are obvious when reading the books. In addition, Romines does a good job of making the book readable; she discusses her own love of the books from childhood to adulthood.
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55 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Denise J. Shearer on July 5, 1998
Format: Hardcover
The entire focus of this book is to try and interpret the Little House books through a late 20th century prism, with a great deal of feminism thrown in. The author seems to want us to believe that the characters in the stories, especially the girls/women, secretly yearn to 'break free' from the confines of the 19th century society in which they grew up and lived, and live like us instead - even though they would have no idea as to what living in the late 20th century would be like! Ms Romines continually applies unspoken motives to the characters' actions that are not implied in Mrs. Wilder's narative. For example, in LHITBW, on the trip to town, Ms Romines would have her readers believe that Pa's motives in urging Ma to by some cloth for a new apron, and teasing her that he will pick out the pattern if she doesn't, is somehow his way of exercising his 'male' control over his wife, rather than what clearly comes through to the reader of LHITBW as his desire to make Ma happy by bying her something she doesn't expect - a surprise gift! There is nothing in Wilders narative to imply that his motives are anything less. The other part of this book that bothers me is the implication that there were inceitious feelings between Laura and Pa. I cannot see why the author feels the need to imply anything sexual in the warm relationship father and daughter(indeed, daughters) shared. Again, nothing in the Little House books even hints at such sexual feelings. I was very disapointed with the book, and could not see the point of the direction the author chose to take - and to take with little or no supporting evidence for her claims. This is definately not a book for teenage lovers of Mrs. Wilder's stories to read, much less children. I gained no new insights into Mrs. Wilder's life or writings. I shall donate my copy to my public library.
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Melissa Garland on September 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
After reading good and not so good reviews of this book, I attempted to read this book with an open mind. Hard thing to do, especially if you are a Laura-fanatic.
I can see where the author was coming from on such topics as minority issues and the subject of Ma and Laura's relationship. However, I think some of the gender/feminism issues were WAY over the top, and had to stop reading the book for a while after reading the ludirous accusations of an incestual relationship between Pa and Laura. Also, with all the conflicts the author tried to find, I"m surprised she didn't tackle the good ol' fashioned sibling rivalry that is a major player between Laura and Mary in the first 3 books, and rears its head from time to time in the last four.
The author tried too hard to find conflict where there wasn't any. There is a complex web we weave in day to day interactions that have anything and everything to do with gender, race, and class distinction but you know what? Sometimes a Rose is just a Rose.
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45 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Smith VINE VOICE on June 15, 1998
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a Little House fan for the past 30 years, I could not wait to get my hands on this book. Ann Romines writes about the complex, difficult relationship (both privately and professionally) between the aging, small town Laura and her famous, cosmopolitan daughter Rose as they co-wrote the Little House series. It shows some reasons why Laura put her life to paper and how her reminiscing was driven by the market and publishers' demands for more interesting, plot driven stories. Laura and Almanzo also lived their lives on the edge of poverty, and the money she earned from her writing as a newspaper columnist and book author made a big difference in their standard of living. It lays to rest the juvenile expectations that her series was written, as biographer Zochert says, as nothing more than a sweet way to remember her family, penning the tales on lined paper with a pencil in her farmhouse in Missouri. The major problem with the book, and the deal breaker as far as I was concerned, is that Ms. Romines leans heavily on the current academic "women's studies" line of woman as victim of patriarchy and outdated Freudian concepts of feminine and masculine. When Ms. Romines discusses such topics as the Oedipal undercurrents of Farmer Boy, or the "intensely romantic", "potentially incestuous" relationship even the very young Laura shares with her Pa, one wonders what sort of imagination Romines has. Ma is presented as little more than a woman beaten into submission by male dominance and her repressed feelings of resentment. Pa is presented as a pervert, haystacks become phallic symbols... it goes on and on like this. I would not recommend this book to anyone and advise you not to waste your cash on it!
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