Ole Edvart Rolvaag, the Norwegian-American novelist of the immigrant experience, is recognized primarily for one work, Giants in the Earth, frequently accredited the novel that deals most effectively with the human cost underlying the glorious national achievement of westward expansion. Though the estimate is a positive one, by being categorized so succinctly, Giants is in some danger of being. perfunctorily dismissed as an excellent frontier novel and little else.
Though Rolvaag, by his own statement, intended to memorialize the human tragedies so easily forgotten in the onrush of settlement, the implications of his narrative go far beyond the historical frontier. By showing his immigrant pioneers in solitary conflict with a primitive environment, he makes them figure temporal man in direct confrontation with "otherness"--the inscrutable power that stands over against Self, imposing boundaries and raising unanswerable questions. Because Rolvaag's hero, Per Hansa, is an energetic, audacious dreamer, he presses into the very face of the unknown, challenging borders and demanding response. He becomes a type of the human spirit that thrives on all sorts of pioneering.
Delmer I. Davis
Robert P. Dunn
M. Irene Wakeham
Master of Arts (MA)
Year Degree Awarded
Date (Title Page)
Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings
Rølvaag; O. E. (Ole Edvart); 1876-1931; Rølvaag; O. E. (Ole Edvart); 1876-1931. Giants in the earth; Rølvaag; O. E. (Ole Edvart); 1876-1931--Criticism and interpretation.
Loma Linda University Libraries
This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.
Smith, Beatrice Jensen, "Encounter with Otherness : Nature and Identity in Rolvaag's GIANTS IN THE EARTH" (1977). Loma Linda University Electronic Theses, Dissertations & Projects. 754.
Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives