Little Town on the Prairie Literary Elements

Little Town on the Prairie Literary Elements


Children's Literature

Setting and Context

Dakota, at the time of Pioneer Settlement in the late 1800s

Narrator and Point of View

Third person narrator (Laura Ingalls the author) writing from the perspective of the character of Laura Ingalls (the child)

Tone and Mood

Optimistic and predominantly happy

Protagonist and Antagonist

Laura Ingalls is the protagonist; Nellie Oleson and Eliza Wilder the antagonists

Major Conflict

Conflict between Nellie Oleson and Laura Ingalls when Nellie is jealous that Laura's father is on the school board, carrying on their antagonistic relationship from early childhood


Laura takes her teaching certificate examination and passes, qualifying to teach and getting a job in a nearby town, starting a new chapter in her life


The blackbirds start to father over the corn crop foreshadowing their eating and destroying the yesr's corn crop


Nellie wants attention for herself and tells everyone that they only lives in Minnesota a short while, understating the time spent there in an effort to look as though she is from New York


The sound of gunfire celebrating Fourth of July alludes to the sound of the American soldiers' guns in the battle for independence


Throughout the book the author paints rich and beautiful images describing the prairie and the farm itself, always emphasizing the expanse of the prairie and reflecting the expanse of the tasks in front of the pioneers. The colors are particularly vivid and always described in terms of holds, reds and greens


Mary has lost her sight but feels that she is able to see things even more clearly than she ever did


There is a parallel between the pioneers creating new lives for themselves in uncharted territory and Laura creating the next chapter of her life in the uncharted territory of teaching school and living away from home in a town many miles away

Metonymy and Synecdoche

The board wanted to see the school using "the board" instead of the names of each school board member


The town loved the literary attributing the feeling of loving something to the town itself

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