Little House book concerns ?

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  • ourLittleFlock

    Hello All….I was hoping some of you good people might be able to help me work through some concerns I’m having with the Little House on the Prairie Series.  I’d like to first let you all know that I am quite sleep-deprived, between new baby and late nights trying to get ready for school. =)  So, please know I am not trying to step on any toes of this beloved series, just trying to process through some information I’ve come across and hear other thoughts to help bring some clarity to my thinking.  

    If you go to the Keeper’s of the Faith website and click on Articles and then Book Reviews, you’ll see a review at the bottom of the page for this series.  One of the elements that you will see being brought up is about feminism.  I did a google search to see if I could find any other discussions about some of the things that KOF brought up and landed on a feminist website, who the main writer attributed her path to feminism to Laura Ingalls and these books.  To read the KOF article, makes me stop and question.  To read an article from a feminist’s own mouth of this influence, is another story.  

    Keeper’s of the Faith also has an interesting article about Louisa May Alcott that has caused me to pause, but I won’t expand this topic beyond Little House for now.  Maybe I should start another topic on great literature and its effects and influence on young minds.  

    I would so appreciate hearing from those of you who are willing to read the KOF article and comment.  

    Please respond with four letter words or less as my head is spinning right now 😉  (just kidding)

    Thank you so much!



    I don’t know all of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s views or her philosophy on women’s roles. But I must admit that my first response when reading that you said some view these books as feministic was to laugh…..It has been a number of years since I read the whole series, but this past year I have read the first two with my kids and certainly I can’t imagine anyone reading about Caroline Ingalls following her husband into unknown Indian territory and get an idea she was too much of a feminist!

    Not trying to say anything about Laura herself, as I have mentioned I’m no expert on her but I wouldn’t feel inclined to waste too much energy on this issue, I think the benefits of the series far outweigh anything negative that I have seen in them.

    (others may disagree with me…..)


    I’ve read what these people, who are surely well-intentioned, think about Little House, Alcott, Anne of Green Gables, and I think that while they are surely well-intentioned, they are coming out in practice as ninnies.  I think they are totally, completely nuts and so far off base here they can’t even see the diamond.  I am not now and do not consider myself to be a feminist, but to be honest I feel that these folks would like to blast women back to the dark ages.  I want to be a godly woman, and I’ve been blessed with marriage, children and home, and they are my everything.  But I have lots of friends that have NOT been so blessed, and I’m glad they can be educated, work, and contribute to the world in positive ways.  And I think anyone who has a problem with that is cracked.  I use the Holy Spirit when reading a book for my guide.  If He objects, then I object.  And I’ve read the Little House series maybe forty times through–maybe more!  Really!  since I was four years old, and I’ve never, ever felt the objection of the Holy Spirit.  We all have to make our own decisions for our families but anyone that could object to these excellent, warm, family-centered books just because Rose Wilder Lane had issues is crazy.  These folks cast aspersions on good people and try to judge whether others are “Christian” or  not, and I have zero patience with them.  Honey, there are probably people who became feminists because they read the BIBLE.  Shall we decide on the basis of that that no one should read it????  OF COURSE NOT.  That would be a travesty.  So would missing these books. 

    Sara B.

    I would agree whole heartedly with Bookworm.  They are anything BUT feministic!  It’s all about family, and a girl growing up to become – a wife and mother!  I don’t know where they get the feminism out of these books, I truly don’t.


    DITTO what Bookworm said. I love Little House, Anne, Narnia, LM Alcott and more and my walk with the Lord has not been hindered in any way, but strenthened. I, too, love being a wife and mother and was not moved toward feminism because of any of these books.

    I’ve read the articles at KOF in the past regarding classic literature and I could not disagree more with their assertions. Personally, I choose not to order their products, even those that I may like, based upon how they do cast aspersions and judge the salvation of others. That is a personal conviction and I don’t expect others to adhere to it, but it is my conviction nonetheless.

    I would encourage you to read the books yourself and allow the Spirit to guide you, asking for wisdom and discernment. Do not let the opinion of one group, keep you from finding some real treasures. If, as you read, you sense that the Lord would not have you read this series (or any other book), put it aside. The Lord has gifted his children with discernment and promises wisdom to those who ask. 


    You all are so wonderful – that’s why I came here! Smile  Thank you all for your insights.

    Sometimes I think this information age is going to kill me.   Just when I think I’m getting my plan figured out, I find something that speaks contrary to my ‘perfect’ plan.  Cry

    Maybe I just need a good nap – lol.  

    I don’t tend to comment usually, but I’ve been blessed by your contributions in these forums bookworm & missceegee.






    If you don’t mind me mentioning Alcott’s Little Women (only because I just cried over it this weekend…again), I always feel so moved to serve my family more after reading about the March sisters. Jo, who begins a tomboy in the book, proves to be the greatest of women in the end as she loves marriage, family and children. I cry every time. And with The Pilgrim’s Progress as one theme in the book, I must say that I just about rank Little Women up there with Elizabeth Prentiss’ Stepping Heavenward.


    Rachel White

    I’ve read that KOF article too and double ditto with what was said above…

    BTW, I think Rose Wilder’s life story is quite interesting, warts and all. She herself was quite brilliant (even homeschooled by LIW at one point because the school wasn’t meeting her academic needs) lived through a very turbulent period in our world’s history and was at the forefront of the action; she went from a Bolshevic loving Communist sympathizer (partly thanks to her Aunt Eliza Jane who actually was a liberal feminist)  to one of the mothers of Libertarianism. But did you know that she was against women getting the vote? Doesn’t sound very feminist to me.Undecided

    But I digress…

    The work ethic, respect for authority, self-sufficiency, faith, fortitude, selflessness, and commitment to family that both Caroline’s mother had (can you imagine the feminists nowadays telling Caroline to leave her wander lust, unstable husband?) and Laura had later (she supported the family, too as Almanzo became crippled with diptheria and never fully recovered, so she had to find ways to contribute, but it was from within the home and they did it together) are values that we, our whole country actually, need to be better than what we are now. It was all very home-centered; a far cry from the modern feminist movement.

    Those books put the desire in myself when I was little, as well as my dd, to where more dresses and to make things from scratch.

    Enjoy reading! You’ll be hooked.



    That site has some wonderful materials and they seem like they are people with good hearts.  But their book reviews are way off base, IMHO.  They ban C.S Lewis, too!!!!  Gina

    A hundred percent agree with Bookworm, sometimes well intentioned folks can lose the plot, these reviews are so far off the mark, they just make me laugh. The literature is wonderful, wholesome and the books are absolutely perfect for our children to be exposed to. I think the feminist movement has damaged women in so many ways, but these books are in my mind not at all harmful – so enjoy them and don’t worry. Linda


    Oh, I wish I had more time to reply… while we’re not “banning” those books at our house, I have to say that I did really appreciate the KofF critiques, because now I don’t just consider those books “wholesome” good literature.  I think they have a point when they suggest that the person in the story we are made to WANT to be, is the one who shuns traditional roles for women and even the “naughty” one – so to speak.  Now, i still think they are fun, worthwhile stories, but I will be pointing out to my daughters how God calls us to live, versus how these characters actually did live (worthwhile to do with ANY literature).  In the meantime, may I suggest you read some missionary stories or Christian biographies – if you want to have your daughters striving to be like someone they read about – it’s always better to have them striving to be like a real life Christian “hero” than a fictional character.  The last point that I would like to make is that if you have a daughter that already leans toward the unconventional or even “naughty” way of doing things, you may want to reconsider exposing her to these books in great quantity.  Hope that divergent view is helpful as opposed to confusing to you!


    Rebekah (mother of four daughters… AKA – Mrs. March Wink)


    Just read the articles.  Good grief.  I want my right to vote, and I didn’t promise to ‘obey” my husband in our vows either, so I guess according to the KOF, I’m a feminist.  Embarassed

    I have to say that my greatest joy in life is my family and caring for my home.  I LOVE my calling as a wife and mother.  I will say that my husband and I are a team, and he is the head of our home, and I don’t have to use the word obey to respect and honor him as such. My daughters are learning (with some faithful teaching from home) to be independent, capable, strong faithful daughters of Christ who can think, pray and learn for themselves what God wants.  I want them to read Laura’s story and know that it is all right to have these natural feelings and see someone who learned for herself the wonders of being a faithful wife and mother…

    Rose Wilder Lane is not Laura.  Why is Laura being held accountable for Rose’s decisions?  It doesn’t mention in the article that the death of Rose’s son played a large part in the divorce.  It doesn’t mention lots of things that might put this stuff in perspective.  I am not condoning Rose’s decisions, but they were her decsions, not Laura’s or ours. 

    The whole point is that some of these claims are stretching for something that they know nothing about.  They don’t know Laura or her heart…only God does. 

    Laura covers all her stories in reality – she has a temper, and she struggles to overcome it, she stuggles with wanting to be allowed to “BE” something besides a teacher (the only option she was allowed for earning money) – she thought she wanted something different then she grew up with – how many of us are just like that???  It is a lovely, engaging story that is handled with honesty and humor, and she finds that what she really wants is what she has.   Her stories cover a broad range of history from a first hand perspective – a true living book. 

    (BTW, Susan B, Anthony and the Right to Vote were a big part of American history when Laura was growing up.  She reacted to it like our children will react to the whole 9/11, terrorist, illegal aliens, Recession stuff, outragous national debt, etc…no matter what, they are going to form opinions.  That’s why we are doing the feast of ideas – so they can learn to choose the good from the not so good)

    CM liked to be outside with nature and studying it up close.  She never married.  She supported herself as a teacher.  She taught us to teach little girls how to think, learn and grow.  She has all the children outdoors exercising!!   Going along with that train of thought, CM was a feminist, and we should throw away all the wonderful things she taught us. Surprised   See how ridiculous it sounds?  Give me a break!

    Enjoy and learn from Laura, Anne, and Jo.  They can teach us as much as CM can in their own way.  And, as with any literature, discuss what is happening and talk about different and better ways to handle things. 

    BTW, the TV series is nothing like the books – the names of the characters are the same, and not much else.  I loved the books and didn’t paticularly like how the show changed everyone.  My husband wanted to buy the girls the TV series on DVD and I wouldn’t let him  – and I have read these books over and over, and own them all. 

    Good luck with your decsions.  Smile


    Rebekah, I appreciate what you are saying, but I think that if you have a daughter who is struggling with her God-given role, then it is EXACTLY Laura, Anne, Jo, and Betsy that you OUGHT to have her reading!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  (Can I put in any more exclamation points? LOL)  I was one of those little girls.  I read those books.  Do you know what these “fictional characters” taught me?  Laura Ingalls–that one does not have to be pretty and blonde and passive to be a good woman, an excellent devoted wife and a loving mother.  What did Anne teach me?  That a smart girl can choose to marry and raise a lovely family and be happier than she ever imagined.  Do you know what Jo taught me?  That the thing in the whole world of most value, even if you are a famous author, is loving children and teaching them.  Caddie?  That even someone who is tomboyish as a child can be a fantastic mom.  Betsy?  That smart writers can be happily married and can long for motherhood above all else.  Because do you know what all these fictional characters CHOSE OF THEIR OWN FREE WILLS to do?  Marry and have children.  And LOVE it.  Every single one of them.  These are NOT rebellious characters we should protect our slightly different daughters from.  They are the very role models to show them the way.  They helped show me the way, with God’s grace also of course.  But you see, I grew up believing that it was the pretty, sweet, blonde girls without a brain in their heads who were the “good” girls.  I was NOT that girl, so therefore I’d better plan on some other career, huh, because obviously something was “wrong” with me.  But when I kept READING the books, the funniest thing happened–those scab-kneed girls chose to marry and have babies and they loved it.  The first dawning of the idea that it wasn’t a requirement to be a Mary Ingalls clone to be a “good” woman.  Those characters are the HOPE of the girls who don’t “fit the mold.”  They are the proof that although God makes girls who like bugs, snakes, climbing trees and skipping stones, those very girls can still grow up, marry, scrapbook, make their own bread, have a houseful of boys (and girls, and snakes, and . . . )  and have a wonderful life.  Not a single one of these fictional characters “shunned traditional roles for women”  They chose them ANYWAY, DESPITE obstacles and being the “wrong type”.  They were not naughty–they were just not perfect.  Since I’ve never known a little girl who WAS already, then these stories have infinite value.  If I had a daughter, I’d point her to these stories in a HEARTBEAT. 

    Great points Bookworm, well said.


    I would not worry so much about feminism as we think of it. Louisa May Alcott wasa Transcendaalist. I don’t know about the author or the Anne books but I detect a lot of transcendentalist themes in her books too. There is a lot Transcendentalists say that is true and seems to me to be both biblical and in line with Charlotte Mason’s teachings. Their views of finding truth through nature and spurning traditional learning are certainly needed today. But they are not Christian. They do not seem to acknowledge a personal God and His revelations in the form of Scripture. And as a result I woudl not agree with their view of human nature. Having said which, I let my daughter read all these books. I think the wrong ideas are subtle and there are good ideas as well. Perhaps as she is older we will discuss them but at 9, she is oblivious to the undercurrents I see.

    I have no such problems with the Little House books.

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