Saturday, July 21, 2018

Reflection on Caroline Frasier at Chautauqua Institution by Theresa Rabbia

Caroline Frasier gave a very in-depth lecture on Laura Engels Wilder, the author of the children series Little House on the Prairie. As I attended this lecture, I learned a ton about these beloved children’s books and how the author and her family lived quite differently than what was written in the books. Frasier shows us that Engels Wilder is a real person with a complicated life that one may not grasp from just reading the books. She lived through extremely hard times such as the Dust Bowl, The Great Depression, and WWI. Yet, her books have a positive and almost happy demeanor to them. By doing this, there is much criticism for her because it gives people the impression that she is denying her own American Identity and our wrongdoings as American people. Every book of hers ends happy, even if it did not pan out that way in her real life. Engels Wilder leaves many crucial points out of her story which almost sanitizes the history. While these are meant for children, it does make sense that she would leave many of the graphic parts out. Caroline Frasier tells us that we need to put these authors into the context of their own eras and lives and question what is and isn’t true; then, we can work on learning about and improving our identity as Americans.

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