Main Credit Card Plot Discussion

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10:13:59 PM Oct 4th 2012
edited by Candi
Little House Books entry: Pa and Laura learned the lesson of credit well after the grasshoppers; Pa had to travel East to find work and was gone for months. Later in the books, he is shown being far more cautious with his expenditures, only purchasing items when he has funds to pay or something to trade. (He's specifically stated as selling a cow to buy a sewing machine.) He also plans to primarily raise cattle, when most of his neighbors in De Smet are looking at large-scale farming. (Which planning is rather clever.)

One of the reasons Laura was probably worried about Almanzo's constant borrowing is she'd seen what happen when disaster strikes; she'd seen her father get by with methods that required more work until he could genuinely afford to buy the fancier equipment, and only bought the equipment if he needed it. The Wilders also had not only a regular claim to keep up, but a tree claim as well.

Laura was right to be worried. In The First Four Years, Manly gets VERY sick for a while, and takes a very long time to recover. (He's not fully recovered by the end of the book.) Then they lose the house on the regular claim to a fire, and have to start over. Laura may not have been writing a book on the perils of over-extending yourself on credit, but that's one lesson that truly comes through.