poem, Carl Hansen, Danish emigrant, United States, ideals


This short poem written by Carl Hansen expresses the essential conflicts of the Danish emigrant in the United States. In their relentless struggle to survive on the plains of the American midwest, two concerns dominated the consciousness of the emigrant. One was the continuous sense of doubt about the wisdom leaving the old country and the other was the necessarily unanswered question of whether the privations of their present life would be rewarded by the success of the following generations. The dreams and hopes of most Danish-American emigrants were in fact not fulfilled in accordance with their expectations. Neither the ideals of economic prosperity nor those of personal fulfillment were often realized . The particular nature of this discrepancy between ideality and reality as it is represented in the works of two writers is the subject of the following article.