House of Earth Question #29 - Takeaways

by Woody Guthrie

Moderator: Liz

User avatar
Liz
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 12971
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: The Left Coast

Status: Offline

House of Earth Question #29 - Takeaways

Unread postby Liz » Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:30 am

What takeaway(s) did you get from House of Earth?
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.

User avatar
Gilbert's Girl
Posts: 162860
Joined: Sun Oct 03, 2004 3:14 am
Location: UK

Status: Offline

Re: House of Earth Question #29 - Takeaways

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Mon Apr 29, 2013 2:19 am

:perplexed:

User avatar
Buster
Posts: 810
Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2008 11:07 am

Status: Offline

Re: House of Earth Question #29 - Takeaways

Unread postby Buster » Mon Apr 29, 2013 2:57 pm

It really resonated for me - The parallels between the sharecroppers' situation and my own really struck me. I do hard physical labor for a corporation that does everything possible to avoid paying a liveable wage. I don't know from one week to the next what my schedule will be, or how many hours of work I'll have, so making the rent is always a struggle. Needless to say, I connected rather viscerally with Tike and Ella's efforts to get ahead.

The other thing that the book did for me was make me long for a road trip. I've rambled across the country more than a few times, and reading Woody's descriptions of the panhandle made me want to go back there ...a lust made more bittersweet by the financial struggles that prevent it. Or, should I say, seemingly prevent it, because a dearth of funds has never stopped me before...

User avatar
Gilbert's Girl
Posts: 162860
Joined: Sun Oct 03, 2004 3:14 am
Location: UK

Status: Offline

Re: House of Earth Question #29 - Takeaways

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Mon Apr 29, 2013 3:59 pm

I wasn't sure what the question was or what was meant.

I'm afraid the book left no lasting impression on me. I forgot about it as soon as I'd read it :-/ I guess I just didn't care about the characters or their plight and I think this was because of how the book was written with no real story to follow. Guess I expected it to be more than it was.

User avatar
fireflydances
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 3206
Joined: Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:15 pm
Location: under a pile of books
Contact:

Status: Offline

Re: House of Earth Question #29 - Takeaways

Unread postby fireflydances » Mon Apr 29, 2013 8:10 pm

I definitely took away the words, the language, i.e. Tike was a medium man, medium wise and medium ignorant...." And I absolutely loved the descriptions of the land and the weather. They made me feel very centered in a place, as though my feet were walking over the gravel of Cap Rock, seeing the gumbo muds, and wandering along the cliff's edge. Guthrie's voluminous descriptions surrounded you as read, sometimes going on for pages. If water was words, it would have been a flood. Which was fine by me.

I also took away a more complete sense of the history of the region, although part of this occurred during the process of researching the tidbits. I can't say that I knew a heck of a lot about Texas and the Panhandle before I began, and although I knew something of the Dust Bowl, I had no deep sense of it's impact on people. Now I am bitten by the Texas bug, Panhandle variety specifically.

I think the social justice underpinnings of the story really spoke to me. My grandfather was a union organizer; I worked for years myself in the nonprofit arena, helping in the background during the birth of the environmental justice movement. Many of the issues Guthrie raised sixty or more years ago, still apply to working people in the US. All my prior experience of Guthrie was music, so this book truly deepened my understanding of his beliefs.
"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested." Sir Francis Bacon, Of Studies

User avatar
nebraska
Posts: 28402
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 8:15 pm
Location: near Omaha

Status: Offline

Re: House of Earth Question #29 - Takeaways

Unread postby nebraska » Mon Apr 29, 2013 8:50 pm

It can be hard, as firefly pointed out, to separate the tidbits and other background material from the book itself. The experience in its entirety taught me a lot about the Dust Bowl and the condition of agriculture and water use.

From the book I got a sense that we are mostly all alike. Not just the poor and down trodden, but all humans. We all have goals and times of tenderness and ways of managing life so we can survive. Even the rich and powerful are regular humans underneath it all. That probably wasn't Woody' s intention, but he drew Tike and Ella May so realistically that I identified with them across all the years and differences.

User avatar
Gilbert's Girl
Posts: 162860
Joined: Sun Oct 03, 2004 3:14 am
Location: UK

Status: Offline

Re: House of Earth Question #29 - Takeaways

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Tue Apr 30, 2013 2:28 am

I think this book means alot more to you across the Atlantic than it does anyone else becasue its about a time in your past. It just doesn't resonate over here becasue the situation is so alien. Thats my opinion anyway.

User avatar
Liz
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 12971
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: The Left Coast

Status: Offline

Re: House of Earth Question #29 - Takeaways

Unread postby Liz » Tue Apr 30, 2013 4:34 am

Well, that makes sense, GG.

However, I did not grow up in the time of the Dust Bowl. Yeah, I’m an American, but I didn’t experience any of this. It was all new to me - learning what happened. I don’t remember studying it in school. Not sure we did. Seems there was much more focus on ancient history or the American Revolution through the Civil War and a vague idea about the Depression and the world wars. So I learned a lot from reading this book and doing tidbits on it.

But I’ve also been fascinated by the history of other countries. And we have covered other territory than the US here at ONBC…..such as Russia, the Czech Republic, India, Iran, Afghanistan, France, and England.

I find them all fascinating. However, I can speak more for my own country than I can for others. So I get what you are saying.
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.

User avatar
DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
Posts: 10378
Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 10:43 pm
Location: Austin

Status: Offline

Re: House of Earth Question #29 - Takeaways

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:58 am

I have to say that I enjoy Woody's music more than his prose. While he captured a place and a people in a moment of time that was historically significant, I think his message reached more people via his music. As an historical document I think it a very important work but I'm not sure if it had been published if it would have a wide audience.
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!

RamblinRebel
Posts: 608
Joined: Thu Apr 03, 2008 8:24 pm
Location: Chicago or thereabouts

Status: Offline

Re: House of Earth Question #29 - Takeaways

Unread postby RamblinRebel » Wed May 01, 2013 12:23 am

I’ll be taking away a wealth of information on the environment of the panhandle, the dustbowl years, and especially what life was like for the farmers during that time. I really don’t remember learning much at all about that in school or elsewhere, so a lot of this was new to me. Between this and Grapes of Wrath, I now have an incredible respect for the people of that time and place.

But also I just really enjoyed the story and the characters! No, there wasn’t a lot of action in the traditional sense, but I really came to like Tike, Ella May and Blanche! I love their sense of resolve, of determination. I love their sense of optimism. I love the way Tike and Ella May are united through a shared dream. I love Tike’s sense of humor. I love the fact that despite all their hardships, they find the ability to laugh, to love, to carry on; to enjoy life, not through their possessions, but through their love for each other. Yes, I really do see this as a story of hope, especially when you contrast it to Grapes of Wrath. (I don’t want to reveal any spoilers, but the ending of that book is very much the opposite of House of Earth and left me quite depressed). So believe it or not, I walk away from House of Earth with a nice warm fuzzy; one that comes from a renewed admiration for the human spirit.

User avatar
Liz
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 12971
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: The Left Coast

Status: Offline

Re: House of Earth Question #29 - Takeaways

Unread postby Liz » Wed May 01, 2013 10:52 pm

RamblinRebel wrote:Yes, I really do see this as a story of hope, especially when you contrast it to Grapes of Wrath. (I don’t want to reveal any spoilers, but the ending of that book is very much the opposite of House of Earth and left me quite depressed). So believe it or not, I walk away from House of Earth with a nice warm fuzzy; one that comes from a renewed admiration for the human spirit.

That's interesting...and good to know.

But the ending to House of Earth was still unresolved. We don't really know what happened to them after that. I'm all about the ending, and it usually bothers me if I don't know what really happened to the characters, ultimately. But in this case, it was OK.
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.

User avatar
ladylinn
Posts: 770
Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2008 9:09 pm
Location: Kentucky

Status: Offline

Re: House of Earth Question #29 - Takeaways

Unread postby ladylinn » Thu May 02, 2013 10:24 am

I must admit, the book did not impress me when I read it. But after the tidbits and our discussion, my feelings are different. I connected with the characters and their plight and could understand more of what they were going through. Still not one of my favorite reads. I like a story with a begining-middle - end with a conclusion. I totally agree with DITHOT - Woody's music is more impressive.


Return to “House of Earth”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest