Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

*Dakota Territory

*Dakota Territory. During the 1880’s—the period during which the novel opens—Dakota Territory flourished. The grasshopper plagues had ended, and the land again produced bumper crops. Attracted by prosperity, new settlers swarmed in, with the steady westward expansion of the railroads speeding their access. Heading westward from Chicago and St. Paul, railroads linked the Dakotas with markets on both coasts, increasing the wealth of the region. The population of the territory expanded so fast that the territory’s growth set off debates in the mid-1880’s, dramatically presented in the second section of Peder Victorious, over whether to divide the territory into two states. On November 2, 1889, shortly before Peder’s sixteenth birthday, North Dakota and South Dakota were admitted to the Union together.

Spring Creek

Spring Creek. Town in South Dakota, situated near the state’s border with Minnesota. As Giants in the Earth ended, a railroad neared Spring Creek on its way to Sioux Falls; O. E. Rölvaag never states whether the railroad builds a station at his fictional settlement; however, Spring Creek clearly shares the prosperity and population growth of the 1880’s. Frame houses replace sod huts, farmers build elaborate barns, and newcomers settle all the available land. The entire action of Peder Victorious takes place in Spring Creek, especially in its churches and schools.

The town’s...

(The entire section is 616 words.)