Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


*Bornholm. Danish island to which the young Swedish boy Pelle Karlsson is taken by his father to escape a life of abject poverty in Sweden after his mother dies. Pelle’s father, Lasse, expects Bornholm, a place of fishermen, farmers, sailors, and shopkeepers, to be a cornucopia of opportunity. Instead he finds a new life of desperation in a rural farm.

Stone Farm

Stone Farm. One of the largest farms on Bornholm, where Lasse is tricked into working for poverty wages and bad food. There Lasse and Pelle spend six years working in fetid cow stables shoveling manure and tending the cattle. Often working in freezing conditions, they start their work at 4:00 a.m. Deceived by scoundrels on the farm, Pelle comes to understand that many people lie and learns to read their eyes instead of listening to their words.

The Koller family, who own the farm, live in a high white house referred to as the Palace and grow wealthy through poor treatment of their workers and by taking advantage of the misfortunes of neighboring farmers. Their debauchery is the talk of the town, but they are not measured by the same standards used for common people. Pelle gets a bare education at the farm’s school, taught by the mediocre Mr. Niels, and learns only that the real lessons of life are to be learned outside. After much hardship on Stone Farm, Pelle sets off with a sack on his back to find opportunity in the city.


(The entire section is 534 words.)