Discussion Questions

In order to foster discussion for your own book club or group, we have selected the following questions in order to stimulate critical thinking regarding Rolvaag’s work Giants in the Earth.

Literature and Language


How does Rolvaag’s use of colorful, impactful language add or detract from your reading in experiencing the pioneer prairie?


Given that the novel was originally written in Norwegian then translated to English, do you think that there is anything missing in translation? Any lines that don’t make sense or take a double check to understand?


Immigrant Experience


Does Rolvaag’s immigrant experience show through in his writing? What does it add to the story?


How does Rolvaag’s depiction of the prairie and frontier life differ from your previous notions, if at all? Does Rolvaag’s harsh, realistic take add or detract from the story?




After reading and experiencing the novel, is the character Per Hansa brave or selfish, or both? Are there specific passages from the text that support your answer?


Why does Per Hansa trek out into the snowstorm at the end of the novel? What does this action tell us about his character? 


What is your opinion on Beret? Does she truly try to give life on the prairie her all or are her eyes always still looking back to the east?


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Gregory Zankowsky ’19

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