Giants in the Earth By Ole Edvart Ršlvaag Study Help Essay Questions

Book I

1. Who was in the caravan of Per Hansa? Where were they heading? Did Per Hansa have to move into the wilderness? Write a theme on what you think motivated Per Hansa to move westward.

2. Who was already at the settlement when Per Hansa arrived? What did the settlers build their huts out of? What is the trouble with Beret, according to Hans Olsa? Write a theme on your impression of the early days of the settlement on the Great Plains.

3. What do the families eat when Per Hansa and Beret arrive at the settlement? What is the main thing that bothers Beret at this stage? How much land did the settlers receive from the government? Write a theme on what you think Per Hansa believes he can do with his new lands.

4. What is the first crop that Per Hansa plants? What seeds had Beret brought with her? What was the difference between Per Hansa's sod hut and that of the others in the settlement? Write a theme on your impression of the hopes of these early settlers before they are forced to face the winter that is soon coming.

5. What was as "rare as gold?" What were the women's outlets in times of stress? Write a theme on what you think were the main fears of the pioneers at this time.

6. What is Per Hansa's attitude when the Indian train comes? Beret's? Sam Solum's? What is it that Per Hansa gets from the Indians on his first visit to their camp? Write a theme on your impression of these wandering Indians.

7. In what way was the sick Indian hurt? Where had Per Hansa gained his crude medical experience? What is the Norwegian "horse cure?" What do the Indians give Per Hansa? Write a theme on the background of Per Hansa and Hans Olsa in Norway.

8. What happened to the cows? What are Beret's fears at this time? Write a theme on the difference between Per Hansa's and Beret's attitudes after the cows disappear.

9. How many acres did Per Hansa work? What was it that irked Per Hansa about the Sabbath? Write a theme on the dream that Per Hansa has for the future.

10. What is it that the boys find? What is it that Per Hansa finds? Write a theme on your impression of homesteading at this time.

11. What was the crime that Beret felt Per Hansa had committed? What is the first commercial transaction that takes place in the settlement? Write a theme on your impression of the Irish settlers.

12. What was it about Hans Olsa that made "strangers stop and look?" What is Per Hansa's plan that Tönseten objects to? Write a theme on why you think there were land jumpers at a time when land was plentiful on the Great Plains.

13. What was the memorable event that stirred the settlement? What was the name of the town to which the railroad was coming? Write a theme on why the Norwegians in the settlement were so eager to have others settle in the area.

14. How did Per Hansa get his cash supply? What does Per Hansa give the Halling family on his way into Worthington? What are the various things that Per Hansa trades for? Write a theme on your impression of Per Hansa at this period.

15. What is it that the boys fight over? What is the meat that Beret gets from Tönseten? Write a theme on your impression of Beret's continuing depression.

16. How does Beret resolve to get back to "civilization?" What is Per Hansa's reaction when he is told about the badger? Write a theme about what you feel is happening to Beret.

17. What is it that Per Hansa is so proud of in the sod hut? Why is Per Hansa happy that the snow has come? Write a theme on the difference of how Per Hansa, Hans Olsa, and Beret face the desolation of the plains.

18. Why does Per Hansa feel so contented when winter comes? What changes his mood? On what do the Norwegians blame the weather? Write a theme on your impression of the first winter.

19. What makes Per Hansa furious? What is Tönseten's idea? What is the proposition the Solum boys make? Write a theme on Beret's sin.

20. What was the "plague" that hit the early settlements? What is the end of life as Beret envisages it? Write a theme on the spirit of the community in time of crisis.

21. What is so unusual about the new baby? Who christens the baby? Write a theme on the religious belief of the settlers.

Book II

1. What is the factor that gives the settlers new hope the first winter? What is the name Per Hansa picks for his child? Write a theme on what the Solum boys' school means to the settlers.

2. What is the new fuel that Hans Olsa discovers? What is different about Per Hansa's sled? What happens to Per Hansa in the blizzard? Write a theme about the fuel-gathering trip of the settlers.

3. Who are the settlers along the Sioux River? What are the stories they relate? Write a theme comparing these Sioux River pioneers with the characters in the book.

4. What purchase from the Tronders does Tönseten conceal from his comrades? Who is it that Sam Solum has at the dance? Write a theme on your impression of this pioneer party.

5. What is the question of names that Tönseten initiates? What name does Per Hansa pick for himself? Write a theme on this matter of Norwegian names.

6. What is the enterprise that Per Hansa attempts with the Indians? What is the result? Write a theme on the different manner in which Per Hansa and Beret view the venture.

7. What does Per Hansa consider the most important task with the seed wheat? Why do the others in the settlement disagree with Per Hansa's timing on planting seed? Write a theme on what you think of Per Hansa's experiment.

8. What brings on Per Hansa's deep depression? What do the boys suggest they plant? Write a theme on why wheat is considered so important by the settlers.

9. Who is the "rich" settler who comes in the summer? What is it about his ambitions that impresses Beret? Write a theme on what you think of this "rich" settler's ideas.

10. Who are the Norwegians that arrive in the old wagon? What is wrong with the woman? Write a theme on the impression this family makes on Beret.

11. What is it that this family left on the Great Plains? What does the strange woman do that upsets them all? Write a theme on the difference between Per Hansa and this wandering settler.

12. What is it about Beret's actions that saddens Per Hansa? How is the crop doing? Write a theme on the settlers' feelings about the first harvesting of wheat.

13. What does Tönseten feel about the harvest? What do the settlers think the "storm" is at first? How does Per Hansa drive the grasshoppers from his fields? Write a theme on what you know of locust swarms and what they do to vegetation.

14. What does the grasshopper invasion do to Beret? What does it do to the settlers? Write a theme on your impression of the fortitude of the pioneers.

15. Who is the lone man that comes in the old cart? Why is Tönseten so glad to see him? Write a theme on your impression of this stranger.

16. What does Tönseten wish to speak to the minister about? Why is Tönseten's conscience bothering him? Write a theme on your impression of Tönseten as revealed in this chapter.

17. Where does the minister hold the meeting? What does the minister preach about? Write a theme on what you think the coming of the minister means to the settlers.

18. What does the minister suggest that the people do in regard to Beret? What is the tragedy the minister senses? What does Per Hansa tell the minister about Beret? What happens to Hans, and why? Write a theme on Beret's sickness.

19. Why is the minister unable to eat the dinner that Beret prepares? What does the minister say about the little baby? Write a theme on what impression you think the minister made on Beret.

20. What happened in the summer and fall of 1877? What was the monster that the settlers welcomed? Write a theme on the growth of the settlements on the Great Plains.

21. What is the service the minister intends to give? What does the minister feel is lacking in him? Write a theme on the minister and his travail.

22. What is Hans Olsa building? What worries Hans Olsa when he sees Per Hansa? Write a theme on what you think lies behind Hans Olsa and Per Hansa's friendship.

23. What are Beret's feelings after the visit from the minister? What does Beret overhear Hans Olsa say to Per Hansa, and Per Hansa's answer? Write a theme on why you think Beret came out of her psychotic state.

24. What did the solitude do to many of the early settlers? What did many do to console themselves? What were the things the settlers feared most? Write a theme on the most fearful things the settlers had to face.

25. When did the snow start falling? What is it that Tönseten loses? Write a theme on your impression of this winter.

26.     Where does Hans Olsa keep his cattle? What happens to Hans Olsa? Who does Per Hansa suggest they send for to look at Hans Olsa? Write a theme on your impression of how others regard Hans Olsa's sickness.

26. What is Beret's cardinal worry about Hans Olsa? What takes Beret away from her vigil over the sick man? Write a theme on the different attitude taken by Beret and Per Hansa toward Hans Olsa.

27. What had made Per Hansa happier during the summer and fall? What had they argued about later? What does Beret want Per Hansa to do about Hans Olsa? Write a theme on their differing points of view.

28. What does Per Hansa do to work off his anger? Who comes to Per Hansa to ask him to fetch the minister? Write a theme on why you think Per Hansa becomes so furious.

29. When his temper leaves him, where does Per Hansa go? What is Beret's final reaction when Per Hansa leaves? Write a theme on why Per Hansa took his last, impossible journey.

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After reaching their land, the rocks that the boys bring to Beret turn out to be




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