Settlers of the Marsh is a novel first published in 1925 and written by Frederick Philip Grove. Grove was Canadian author and translator, especially while he was still living in Germany, where he translated a large volume of works. Once he moved to Canada in 1909, Grove started writing more about the pioneer and settler life in North America. The notable aspect of his writing was that he portrayed very dynamic and culturally diverse communities of pioneers in the “Wild West.”
The protagonist of the novel is Niels Lindstedt, a Swedish immigrant who is a hardworking pioneer, like many of his compatriots; however, one of his most important characteristics in this novel is that he is sexually naive. This situation doesn’t change the fact that Lindstedt is one of Grove’s typical patriarch and protagonist, a strong man in general yet also a tragic hero in a way. On the other hand, Grove’s female characters take on somewhat masculine roles as survivors and breadwinners of the family. These characteristics of the typical family in Settlers of the Marsh, and also others of Grove’s novels, are quite common in a world of immigrants finding their separate ways in the West.
In this Grove novel, the reader sees the apparent indecency on the surface of the novel, but the themes that Grove explores during his novel are distinctly in his style of realism. With many psychological aspects in this novel about immigration and growing a new life in the New World, the reader follows Lindstedt’s journey as a farmer. Though successful in his trade, he marries a prostitute and the novel follows his cycle of dejection and growth in Settlers of the Marsh.