Historical fiction; American epic; frontier novel; immigrant novel


Omniscient narrator

Point Of View

The omniscient third-person narrator reveals the thoughts and actions of the major characters of the novel, primarily focusing on the thoughts and actions of Per and Beret


The narrator's attitude to the immigrants is sympathetic. At times, the narrator implies optimism, recording the hopes of the immigrants; at other times, the narrator implies pessimism, recording the fears of the immigrants and the threats unforeseeable to everyone except the omniscient narrator


Immediate past


Per and Beret Hansa

Major Conflict

Per thrives in his new environment in America, but Beret cannot adapt to the new country and feels homesick and depressed

Rising Action

Beret's pregnancy and her growing depression; the plague of locusts


Possibly the moment when Per discovers the land stakes in Book I, or the locust attack in Book II, when Per discovers his wife's undeniable insanity

Falling Action

The arrival of the minister; the minister's sermon; Beret overhearing Per talk to Hans Olsa about how much he loves her


The discovery of the Indian grave; Per's discovering of the stakes belonging to Irish settlers; the narrator's frequent reports of the power of the landscape and nature, such as in the very first chapter and the very last chapter; Beret's need to cover her windows to shut out the prairie