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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department / School


First Advisor

Charles Woodard


Ole Rølvaag expected the church to help the immigrants make a smooth transition into a new country. The "church" was initially in a powerful leadership role. Those pastors of the new world churches, Rølvaag assumed, had the training and cultural background to help immigrants see which cultural traditions would have to be given up, changed or maintained in order for them to survive and prosper in the new land. Rølvaag, however, was disappointed in the lack of leadership shown by the average pastor. Most of the pastors in Rølvaag’s works are unable to guide their immigrant congregations to their full potential. To point out the weaker leaders, Rølvaag contrasted his concept of an ideal pastor to them. In addition, Rølvaag presented women who, because they were connected to pastors, were incapable of having normal lives. These women were dependent and emotionally helpless. In his letters, his novels, his speeches, Rølvaag often pointed out that a person must maintain his culture and heritage, and religion was the best method of maintaining it. But the religious leaders, in his opinion, failed to help the immigrants, and the women connected to those pastors were signs of their failure.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Rølvaag, O.E. (Ole Edvart), 1876-1931 -- Views on religion

Rølvaag, O.E. (Ole Edvart), 1876-1931 -- Views on women

Rølvaag, O.E. (Ole Edvart), 1876-1931 -- Views on culture



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University