For me, most of the historical inconsistencies in the book and movie aren't necessarily such a big deal- such as whether it was Mr. Edwards or Mrs. Scott whom Jack scared onto the wood pile. Most of these, I assume were done to create more cinematic consistency with characters,etc. Generally, I don't think that they hurt the story.
But some things do, like Ma wearing earrings, since this undermines the nature of the family's intense struggle to get by. (sunbonnets also would be a good thing.)
. Generally, my biggest historical problem is that the children seem to be more modern in their mentality-- almost as if they'll say "cool" or "gee whiz". This fits with the modern music and seems to have been done to cater to children of today.
Some examples of this more modern sensibility: Laura jokingly asking her father for candy when he goes to Independence (product of modern-day materialism? Laura in the book knew how precious/rare such treats were). Also Laura being the one to suggest that she could wear Mary's old shoes-- its pretty clear from the book that the Ingalls (most working pioneer families) always handed such precious goods down to one another (they were poor!!)
I also found the scene with Mary confronting Ms. Scott to be ridiculous- both because it was completely inconsistent with Mary's character according to LIW(good girl vs. Laura as the bad girl) and because it is completely inconsistent with how children would have behaved in the Little House books (children not speaking at the table and definitely not contradicting others). (Ma's reaction to this offense also is inconsistent, way too chummy)
I do like this series because it has beautiful scenery and deftly demonstrates how terrifying life then could be. (I never thought about, for example, how terrifying Independence was- always taking it instead for a charming town- it is scary) I like also how they show scene through Laura's perspective- with a sense of childhood wonder.
Yet one reason I always loved the books was because the children's mentalities were different from mine. They were in an earlier, less casual era, that fascinated me. I'd like to see more of that preserved, instead of having it slide so that today's children can relate to these ones in the series.
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