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Prairie Folks

Hamlin Garland

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .He lifted his hand in a lofty gesture. The light fell on his pale face and dark eyes.

The girls were a little indignant and disposed to take the preacher's part. They thought Bacon had no right to speak out that way, and Miss Graham uttered her protest, as they whirled away on the homeward ride with pleasant jangle of bells.

"But the secret of it all was," said Radbourn in answer, "Pill knew he was acting a part. I don't mean that he meant to deceive, but he got excited, and his audience responded as an audience does to an actor of the first class, and he was for the time in earnest; his imagination did see those horrors,—he was swept away by his own words. But when Bacon spoke, his dry tone and homely words brought everybody, preacher and all, back to the earth with a thump! Every body saw that, after weeping and wailing there for an hour, they'd go home, feed the calves, hang up the lantern, put56 out the cat, wind the clock, and go to bed. In o. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Prairie Folks is a curiously imbalanced collection, one which indicates Garland's strange flux between genres. A couple stories are political, somewhat in the vein of some of the more forceful stories from Main-Traveled Roads but more annoyingly polemical (these deserve two stars). A few stories are

This is a collection of short stories and novellas about people who lived out towards where the American frontier began. Good writing, interesting content.

Prairie Folks is a charmer. 1892, the publication date. Nine chapters are snapshots of settlers and pioneers struggling to make a life for themselves, raise crops, feed their families, build communities, find a little joy with the elements, exhaustion, and economics creating roadblocks.
Hamlin Garla

An unbalanced mix of stories set in rural Iowa, some intended to provide realistic glimpses of life in the kind of region Garland grew up in, others to promote Garland's conception of ideal social arrangement by way of painting country folks as poor, pitiful, childlike savages by comparison to digni