House of Earth Question #28: Hope

by Woody Guthrie

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fireflydances
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House of Earth Question #28: Hope

Unread postby fireflydances » Sat Apr 27, 2013 8:29 pm

Everything about A Guthrie song accentuated the positive in people struggling against the odds. He would trumpet hope at every turn. He even once referred to himself as a "hoping machine," in a letter when he was courting a future wife. Guthrie sought to empower those who had nothing, to uplift those who had lost everything in the Great Depression, and to comfort those who found themselves repeatedly at the mercy of Mother Nature. (pgs. xxxv - xxxvi)

At the end of the book, Ella decides that it would be a good idea to use her money to purchase land:

"In fact, I was just intending to ask you to take my two hundred dollars to Woodridge's office in the next day or two and buy that acre over there on the Cap Rock."

"You know that I will be glad to do it." Blanche spoke softly and quiet. All of this conversation was not too beneficial to Ella's nerves right at this point. "Woodridge is possibly doing what he thinks is best. And to buy the Cap Rock acre for two hundred dollars in not wrong -- no, I did not say it was. But this is just where your troubles will start. It will be a hard fight. A fight with the lumberyard, a fight with the loan company, because you will find out that no bank will ever lend as much as one dollar with which to build your earth house."

"I'm not afraid of the hard part." The noises of the boy made her eyes smile. Ella's face plowed itself into long furrows as she thought deeper. "But Blanche, we have mortally got to get our little grasshopper out of this old crate. And into our other house. And I know how to fight, if it comes to that."
(pgs. 208 - 209)

Were you surprised by her resolve? Did she do it? After the book ends, do you imagine that Ella bought her land?

And finally, is this a novel of hope?
"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested." Sir Francis Bacon, Of Studies

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Re: House of Earth Question #28: Hope

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Sun Apr 28, 2013 3:15 am

I suppose reading those words again you might think it was hopeful, hopeful that they got their bit of land and that they were able to build their house. But I think it was a bit depressing really so its diffcult to see hope.
I think Ella May was probably ill with whatever it was ailing her, the pain in her breast ,maybe she thought she would do this in case something happened to her it would give her son a future. I think she could only see this as the way out that leaving it to Tike they would be forever stuck in a rut, and soon they wouldn't even have what little they did have since they would soon have to leave as their tenancy wasn't going to be renewed.

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Re: House of Earth Question #28: Hope

Unread postby Buster » Sun Apr 28, 2013 12:49 pm

I wasn't at all surprised by Ella May's resolve - and I felt quite sure that they would at least attempt to live out their dream. Whether they succeeded? It doesn't really matter, does it? I think that what Woody wanted to convey was the hope, the possibility.
It's interesting to me that Guthrie himself was something of a rambler, moving all the time, and yet he had such insight into the symbolic need to put down roots, to be part of the land. He had hope for others' dreams, not just for himself. You know, maybe he was the first little trickle at the beginning of the wave Hunter so eloquently described...

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Re: House of Earth Question #28: Hope

Unread postby ladylinn » Sun Apr 28, 2013 1:47 pm

I was a bit surprized that Ella May gave the money to Blanche to purchase the land since Tike was so against giving in. Maybe she was concerned for her son's future or like GG said maybe she felt the pain in her breast was going to be very serious. The book did end on hope with alot more questions to resolve - but I wondered how Tike felt about the purchase. I agree with Buster - it really didn't matter.

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Re: House of Earth Question #28: Hope

Unread postby fireflydances » Sun Apr 28, 2013 3:15 pm

Buster wrote:I wasn't at all surprised by Ella May's resolve - and I felt quite sure that they would at least attempt to live out their dream. Whether they succeeded? It doesn't really matter, does it? I think that what Woody wanted to convey was the hope, the possibility.
It's interesting to me that Guthrie himself was something of a rambler, moving all the time, and yet he had such insight into the symbolic need to put down roots, to be part of the land. He had hope for others' dreams, not just for himself. You know, maybe he was the first little trickle at the beginning of the wave Hunter so eloquently described...

I agree. He seems to be part of a chain that includes Walt Whitman and Jack Kerouac and Hunter Thompson. All wanderers of some sort, all intent on exploring the American spirit, in all it's shades.
"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested." Sir Francis Bacon, Of Studies

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Re: House of Earth Question #28: Hope

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sun Apr 28, 2013 3:51 pm

I like to think Ella May bought the land. As ladylinn said above she had her son to think of now as well. Whether they were able to make a go of their property or not it would have given them a lift and strengthened their resolve to carry on. As Tike said they couldn't get much lower. I do wonder if Tike would be upset when he found out she had this money or if it would give him the resolve to start his adobe house.

The book itself is pretty bleak but I think their spirit shows that if you have hope you can survive.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!

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Re: House of Earth Question #28: Hope

Unread postby Liz » Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:38 am

Buster wrote:I wasn't at all surprised by Ella May's resolve - and I felt quite sure that they would at least attempt to live out their dream. Whether they succeeded? It doesn't really matter, does it? I think that what Woody wanted to convey was the hope, the possibility.


I went away hopeful for them. But you're right. It doesn't matter. It's that we were left with the idea of the possibility.

And I thought of Hunter a number of times during this discussion. :cool:
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.


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