Little Town on the Prairie Imagery

Little Town on the Prairie Imagery

The Smell of the Town

Laura Ingalls Wilder describes the smell of the town and immediately the reader knows that it is not a pleasant smell. The town "smelled of staleness and dust and smoke and a fatty odor of cooking. A dank smell came from the saloons and a musty sourness from the ground by the back doors where the dishwater was thrown out." The reader is able to imagine the overwhelming odor that pervades the town and compared unfavorably to the springtime smell of newly-blossoming roses that Laura and Pa enjoyed at the start of their walk.

The Image of Corn

The strength of the corn crop is described as lusty and smooth with "long, yellow-green fluttering leaves" that would have been a beautiful contrast with the gray-green oats. The corn almost his the cucumber vibes with their "uncurling beyond patches of spreading big leaves". More vibrant colors are described, the beets with strong dark green leaves and red stems, the carrots with feathery green tops. The author paints a vivid picture of the colorful crops blending together and also reinforces the size and strength of what was growing.

The Colors of Mary's Walk

As Mary and Laura take one of their final walks before Mary goes to college, Laura paints her a picture with words of what the scenery looks like. The orange sun sinks into "white downy clouds that spread to the edge of the world" describing a sunset that stretches all the way along the horizon. The tops of the clouds are crimson from the glare of the sun. Laura describes "great gorgeous curtains of rosé and gold with pearly edges" illustrating the enormity and beauty of the setting sun. As she creates a visual image for Mary, who is blind, an image is also created in the same way for the reader who, like Mary, is imagining the sight using Laura's vivid description.

The Color and Feel of Tomatoes

The tomato crop is described extensively enabling the reader to imagine not only their size and color but the way they feel to the touch as well. They have a smooth, full-brown husk but once opened vivid colors are revealed, with a bright purple tomato inside that is even brighter than the shiny red ones. Ma makes preserves of all of the tomatoes with purples, reds and greens forming a bright palette. The smell of spice and syrup adds to the picture.

The Horses

The author brings the horses owned by Almanzo Wlider to life for the reader by describing them in vivid detail. They are slender and their legs move so fast that they are clouds of dust that seem to be "explosions". Contrasting with the dust at their feet the horses themselves are sleek and polished; "their glossy shoulders glistened, their black manes and tails blew shining in the wind. Their ears pricked forward and their glancing bright eyes saw everything." The description not only brings the horses to life but enables the reader to picture them in an animated way that does their speed and magnificence justice.

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