The Doppler Effect


At the last page of the first book Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote on her childhood Little house in the big woods she is lying in bed, while her father plays “Shall Auld Acquaintance be Forgot” on his violin. When the fiddle had stopped singing Laura called out softly, ‘What are days of auld lang syne, Pa?’‘They are the days of a long time ago, Laura’ Pa said ‘Go to sleep, now’.The other books on and by Ingalls Wilder depict a journey into modernity. The prairie, onto which they will set off in the next book, will be the stage for a drama about this isolated but loving and hard-working nuclear family. As we read on, this prairie landscape is filled up by railways, general stores, iron stoves, schoolhouses and printed calico. Little house in the big woods deals with another, less transparent landscape, representing Laura’s early childhood, as well as the childhood memories of her parents and grandparents. The book is a retrospection into a timeless, innocent place before Fall, departure, movement and history.

How to Cite

Johansson, E., (2005) “The Doppler Effect”, Ethnologia Europaea 35(1), 70-75. doi:

Publisher Notes

  • This article was previously published by Museum Tusculanum Press.


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Ella Johansson (Uppsala University)



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