In his preface, La Farge explains that he chose to set the novel in an earlier time, before the first automobiles came to the Navajo...

(The entire section is 387 words.)

Literary Qualities

The novel develops chronologically from the omniscient narrator's point of view, shifting easily to a character's inner thoughts. In a few...

(The entire section is 108 words.)

Social Sensitivity

Written in 1929, Laughing Boy in many ways foreshadowed the change in social consciousness about Native Americans that has occurred...

(The entire section is 146 words.)


(Masterpieces of American Fiction)

Dennis, Philip A. “Oliver La Farge, Writer and Anthropologist.” In Literature and Anthropology, edited by Philip Dennis and Wendell Aycock. Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press, 1989. Profiles La Farge as both a writer and an anthropologist, detailing how each discipline complemented the other.

Gillis, Everett A. “Oliver La Farge.” In A Literary History of the American West. Western Literature Association. Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press, 1987. Gillis traces the career of La Farge as a southwestern writer.

Hecht, Robert A. Oliver La Farge and the American Indian: A Biography....

(The entire section is 293 words.)

Topics for Discussion

1. Laughing Boy's narrative of the Utes in chapter 8 explains how he got his name. Discuss what it clarifies about his character and about...

(The entire section is 207 words.)

Ideas for Reports and Papers

1. Analyze the aesthetic qualities in Navajo life as they are revealed in the characters' speech and activities.

2. Compare the...

(The entire section is 109 words.)

Related Titles / Adaptations

The Enemy Gods covers much of the same ground as Laughing Boy. Like Slim Girl, the Navajo hero Myron Begay has been removed...

(The entire section is 58 words.)

For Further Reference

Gillis, Everett A. Oliver La Farge. Southwest Writers Series. Austin: Steck- Vaughan, 1967. This pamphlet places La Farge in his...

(The entire section is 79 words.)