Discovering the Region: Commentary

19. Lois Phillips Hudson, "Children of the Harvest"

Born in 1927, Lois Phillips Hudson at age nine moved with her family from the dust bowl of the Dakotas to the Pacific Northwest. “Children of the Harvest” comes from a collection of short stories, Reapers of the Dust (1964), based on Hudson’s childhood experiences in Washington during the 1930s. We might call it “autobiographical fiction.” The story portrays both western and eastern Washington at the time of the Great Depression. Particularly striking are the contrasts between the arid, windy North Dakota, the verdant region around Puget Sound, and the apple-growing region east of the mountains. Hudson portrays as well a society afflicted by depression and class tensions; it is important that her main character is stigmatized as an “Okie.” It is worth considering how Hudson framed the story through a child’s perspective.

In 1969 Hudson was appointed to teach in the creative writing program at the University of Washington, Seattle.

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