Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department / School



Although the immigrant's role in settling the American prairie is a story that is often told in history books, the typical American Literature anthology virtually ignores the Middle Border literature genre. But the importance of the great land-taking cannot be underestimated and should not be ignored. The story of immigration to the Great Plains is more than a story about adventurers who experienced physical triumphs and defeats against the land and nature: it is a psychological saga of the immigrant's spiritual journey. This thesis will focus on the journey of one Norwegian immigrant woman, Beret Holm, as she struggles both physically and spiritually to survive in a New World. The first chapter introduces Ole E. Rolvaag, the Norwegian immigrant author who created Beret, describing not only his background but its influence on Beret's characterization. The second, third, and fourth chapters deal with Beret's evolution through Rolvaag's trilogy, focusing on Giants in the Earth, Peder Victorious, and Their Fathers' God respectively. The final chapter reinforces the success and importance of Rolvaag's characterization of Beret and compares Rolvaag's trilogy to the novels of several other Middle Border authors.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Rolvaag, O. E (Ole Edvart), 1876-1931 I de dage

Rolvaag, O. E (Ole Edvart), 1876-1931 Peder Seier

Rolvaag, O. E (Ole Edvart), 1876-1931 Signede dag

Rolvaag, O. E (Ole Edvart), 1876-1931 -- Characters -- Beret Holm

Holm Beret (Fictitious character)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University