Little House on the Prairie Themes and Analysis 📖

‘Little House on the Prairie’ is a beloved classic for many people. Written by Laura Ingalls Wilder and published in 1932, this classic novel has inspired generations of readers with its heartfelt story of a family’s struggles and triumphs on the American frontier.

Little House on the Prairie

Laura Ingalls Wilder

While the novel has been celebrated for its heartwarming story, it also contains many themes and lessons that are still relevant today. This book is one of several that were published as the “Little House” series. The books have all become household favorites that have been translated into multiple languages and adapted into television and film. Wilder’s works offer a unique glimpse into the hardships and joys of American life during this period.

They chronicle the life of the Ingalls family as they moved from Wisconsin to Kansas and finally settled. The novels depict life on the prairie during the late 19th century and offer a unique glimpse into the struggles and joys of homesteading in a difficult environment.



Little House on the Prairie‘ focuses heavily on the family as a unit. The Ingalls family, headed by parents Pa and Ma, is an example of love, understanding, and resilience in times of hardship. Throughout the novel, readers are encouraged to look at family as a source of strength, comfort, and guidance.


The Ingalls family often finds themselves in situations where survival is paramount. Through their ingenuity and spirit of adaptation, they manage to overcome obstacles that would otherwise be insurmountable. Their willingness to work hard and use what they have available to them is an inspiring example of how far determination can take a person.


Little House on the Prairie‘ also emphasizes faith as a major theme throughout the novel. While the Ingalls family may not always express it openly, their faith in God and in one another provides them with the strength to carry on despite any challenges they may face. This faith in the divine gives them hope and courage when things seem impossible.

Key Moments in Little House on the Prairie 

  1. The Ingalls family leaves the Big Woods because it’s getting too crowded. 
  2. They cross a creek and think they’ve lost Jack until he returns that night.
  3. They worry about coyotes on the road. 
  4. They find a spot in the prairie to settle and build their home. 
  5. Pa works on the home along with neighbors. 
  6. There are also threats from wolves. 
  7. The family and neighbors worry about the Native Americans in the area. 
  8. They build a well, and Mr. Scott nearly dies.
  9. They meet some Native Americans but can’t communicate with them. 
  10. The family gets malaria. 
  11. Pa travel to Independence. 
  12. They learn that they’ll have to leave their land. 
  13. They pack up and move from their new home.

Tone and Style

Laura Ingalls Wilder’s tone in ‘Little House on the Prairie‘ is nostalgic and inspiring. Through her stories, Wilder conveys a strong sense of optimism and resilience that resonates with readers. Despite the numerous challenges her characters face, they find ways to persevere and learn valuable lessons along the way. Wilder also takes an interesting approach to conveying the harshness of frontier life by portraying it in a romantic light.

The style of ‘Little House on the Prairie‘ is autobiographical fiction, where Wilder draws from her real-life experiences to create a narrative of her family’s adventures. This approach allows readers to connect with the characters in ‘Little House on the Prairie on a more personal level as they read about their daily lives and struggles. Wilder also utilizes poetic language, which adds a layer of beauty to her storytelling. The combination of these elements results in a powerful narrative that remains timelessly relevant today.


The Prairie

Throughout the story of ‘Little House on the Prairie,’ the prairie is a symbol of hope and perseverance. The Ingalls family moves from town to town, searching for a place to settle down and make their home. Despite the challenges of living in the wild, the prairie represents the strength and resilience of the Ingalls family. Pa’s commitment to staying on the prairie gives Laura a chance to appreciate nature and understand the importance of hard work and self-reliance. 

The Native Americans 

The Native Americans, who are referred to as “Indians” in the novel, are a constant threat to the Ingalls family and the other settlers. They are a symbol of the dangers pioneers faced on a day-to-day basis. 

In a contemporary context, the much-feared characters take on another level of symbolism, representing the prejudicial attitudes of the time. 

The Log Cabin

The log cabin symbolizes the dream of home and security that Pa and Ma strive for throughout the novel. Despite their struggle to build a secure home in an unfamiliar and dangerous environment, they are determined to create a safe and welcoming place for their family. It’s a symbol of love, hope, and faith in the future.


What is the theme of Little House on the Prairie?

The overarching theme of ‘Little House on the Prairie‘ is resilience in the face of adversity. Despite facing harsh conditions and difficult situations, the Ingalls family remains devoted to one another and their values. They remain determined to thrive and persevere despite the hardships they encounter. This theme is highlighted throughout the series, showing the strength and determination that can come from a close family bond.

When was Little House on the Prairie written?

Little House on the Prairie‘ was written by Laura Ingalls Wilder and published in 1935. The first book in the series was titled ‘Little House in the Big Woods,‘ and it was part of a series of books about the Ingalls family.

Who was Laura Ingalls Wilder?

Laura Ingalls Wilder was an American author and pioneer who wrote the iconic Little House” series of books. Her books were based on her childhood experiences growing up in a pioneer family in the late 19th century and early 20th century, which she documented in detail.

Emma Baldwin
About Emma Baldwin
Emma graduated from East Carolina University with a BA in English, minor in Creative Writing, BFA in Fine Art, and BA in Art Histories. Literature is one of her greatest passions which she pursues on Book Analysis.
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