KINDLE ♇ O Pioneers! ♴

s for quality of writing and descriptions because it turned out to be a fricking romance novelAverages out to 3 starsMay classic of the month for 2019 I read this book many times Why Its a beautiful book and georgous stage play This was the first professional Equity play our daughter was in at the age of 9.I want to read another Willa Cather book soon My Antonia was also wonderful.A book I haven t read yet and would like to is The Professor s House Willa Cather is a beautiful writer KINDLE ☮ O Pioneers! ☨ This Norton Critical Edition Brings To Life Through Cather S Words, And Through The Words And Images Of Others The Uniquely American Frontier Experience In Inscribing A Copy Of O Pioneers For A Childhood Friend, Cather Wrote, In This One I Hit The Home Pasture Contexts And Backgrounds Includes A Rich Selection Of Autobiographical And Biographical Remembrances Including Three Interviews With Cather , Literary Contexts By Cather And Her Contemporaries, Henry James And Sarah Orne Jewett , And Writings On The American West Including Selected Letters That Paint A Picture Of One Family S Life On The Nebraska Prairie Criticism Provides Seven Contemporary Reviews And Eight Modern Critical Interpretations By David Stouck, John J Murphy, C Susan Wiesenthal, Marilee Lindemann, Melissa Ryan, Guy Reynolds, And Sharon O Brien Can we even imagine what it was like for the early homesteaders and pioneers, arriving most likely from somewhere in Europe in a last ditch effort to make something out of nothing There it is before them a vast, lonely, rolling plain of earth meeting a vast, lonely, infinite sky Where does one even begin In this novel, Willa Cather takes us on a journey where we see exactly where it begins with sod huts or log cabins or some form of shelter Then comes the dawn to dark labour of breaking the ground to plant seeds to feed themselves and their animals, if they have any.And through this novel, we are also introduced to people who have a vision broader than just survival A vision that eventually bears fruit as the earth begins to give back rather than just take And so the cycle of life begins where people and animals give to the earth and the earth produces for the people and animals, gradually rewarding each other for mutual benefit.This is part of the story in this book, but only a part Wherever there are human beings, they bring their stories and they create and re create their stories As with all human stories over time, there is great joy accompanied by great sorrow, and tragedy sits next to both temptation and triumph.What I appreciate most deeply in reading Willa Cather s writing is the poetic flow that feels as natural as the wind rustling through a field of wheat While I paused many times to allow her words to sink in as deeply as possible, the narrative was only enhanced by those reflective moments.This is the first part of Willa Cather s Great Plains Trilogy and I look forward to reading the next one as soon as possible. O Pioneers Great Plains Trilogy 1 , Willa Cather O Pioneers is a 1913 novel, by American author Willa Cather, written while she was living in New York It is the first novel of her Great Plains trilogy, followed by The Song of the Lark 1915 , and My ntonia 1918 O Pioneers tells the story of the Bergsons, a family of Swedish American immigrants in the farm country, near the fictional town of Hanover, Nebraska, at the turn of the 20th century The main character, Alexandra Bergson, inherits the family farmland, when her father dies, and she devotes her life, to making the farm a viable enterprise at a time, when many other immigrant families, are giving up, and leaving the prairie The novel is also concerned with two romantic relationships, one between Alexandra and family friend Carl Linstrum, and the other between Alexandra s brother Emil and the married Marie Shabata O pioneers , Willa Cather edited by Susan J Rosowski, Charles W Mignon with Kathleen Danker historical essay and explanatory notes by David Stouck , Lincoln University Of Nebraska Press , 1992 1371 ISBN 080321457X , XI, 391 Pages 1994 20 1913 1915 1918 1873 19471923 1922. The history of every country begins in the heart of a man or a woman I don t know why I haven t read this before it seems like the kind of novel I should have been assigned in 9th grade but I m glad I read it as an adult because I wouldn t have appreciated it as much when I was younger I am from the Midwest and my grandparents were farmers, and I loved Willa Cather s stories about what it was like for the pioneers in Nebraska I liked Cather s spare writing style she gives just the right amount of description and action, and then moves on to the next chapter In this way we get a complete picture of the whole life of Alexandra Bergson without the story ever dragging His sister was a tall, strong girl, and she walked rapidly and resolutely, as if she knew exactly where she was going and what she was going to do next Alexandra is such a strong character she was as defiant as the land she was trying to tame At one point I got so angry when some men tried to bully her that I slammed the book shut in frustration My break didn t last long, and I should have known that Alexandra would get her way in the end We come and go, but the land is always here And the people who love it and understand it are the people who own it for a little while I think I reacted so strongly to O Pioneers because it reminded me of the stories my grandmother would tell about running a farm during the Depression It is easy to romanticize this time period and to forget the backbreaking work that went into taming the land to grow crops and support a family I would recommend this book to anyone who has an appreciation for the land or who likes strong female characters.Update September 2013 I am rereading the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, which are about another pioneering American family, and it reminded me of how much I loved this Willa Cather novel I have thought about O Pioneers many times since I read it a year ago I would put it on a list of Books To Read To Understand America Perhaps this is my background in sociology talking, but I like stories that show how a country was formed Aside from the politics and the war, you still need families who are doing the hard work to build homes and grow food and create new towns You can t have a nation without everyday people Here s to all the pioneers of the world Isn t it queer there are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before like the larks in this country, that have been singing the same five notes over for thousands of years If you ve read Willa Cather s famous My Antonia, you re already aware of the Bohemian community, those farming pioneers of the American frontier she writes about The young Swede protagonist of this novel, Alexandra Bergson, is familiar she grows up to become a fearless business owner and woman of the land Though she finds her best expression within the soil in so many orchards and cornfields she brings to life , she is also intrigued by the world beyond her country homeWe grow hard and heavy here We don t move lightly and easily as you do, and our minds get stiff If the world were no wider than my cornfields, if there were not something beside this, I would n t feel that it was much worth while to workIn Cather s The Professor s House, Professor Godfrey was just as distraught and unsatisfied as John Bergson, the opening voice of this novel and the dying father of the family both men relied heavily upon the heiresses of their family Getting to know Alexandra brings back memories of Thea in Song of the Larks, except that unlike Thea who leaves to become a consumed and indifferent artist, Alexandra finds purpose at home, alongside jealous brothers who refuse to compliment her on her successful endeavors, yet still want to share in the family s wealth Alexandra makes her father a promise to keep the land that he d struggled with unsuccessfully, for he believed in her mental girth She takes a plot of unsuccessful land and turns it into a farming empire, buying a few farms while the price is low, and extending her property She doesn t know much about love or companionship, and expressive thinking isn t her strong suit so I never got too close to the beat of her thought, but she feels the land in her very waking breath, and through her I saw beauty in toiling the soilThe air and the earth are curiously mated and intermingled, as if the one were the breath of the other You feel in the atmosphere the same tonic, puissant quality that is in the tilth, the same strength and resoluteness Willa Cather writes about the common lives of farmers, and yet she gracefully paints beautifully serene portraits of the countryside which governs each life, the country which drives the small town drama some characters endure Her heroines are free thinkers influenced by the liberties of the wild land She writes of the brown earth, of bitter winters, of flower laden Springs, and of the Divide houses tucked low into the ground and made of sod Her female characters are strong minded, rough handed, and hard working it s rare that she spends time discussing beauty or attire Marriage appears in between dialogue, as an afterthought Work, purpose, artistry, or career, takes precedence with the females of her novels, and yet you don t notice this until you really take a minute to consider it, because of how subtly she infuses this within plot since Cather disagreed with the feministic approach of some of her female peers, this is not surprising This was her second novel, her first, Alexander s Bridge, I have yet to read, and I m not sure which Cather book I ll try next year In each of her novels I ve read, I ve found that there is something intentionally different about the character positioning One would say that this is the case with all writers who have composed quite a few novels, but there is something affecting about these similar minded, similarly situated, yet opposing characters that makes me interested in exploring these books again In any case, it s not often that you see such a profound defense of the American midlands through aptly descriptive and moving prose. Beginning with simplicity, innocence and hope, Willa Cather runs her pioneers through the ring of fire that is the hallmark of the pioneer s life and only some of them survive.Perhaps I ve made that soundexciting than O Pioneersactually is There are far too many dull scenes in this book for me to call it a perfect classic, but it is a solid addition to American western frontier literature Writing from her experiences, Cather populated her novel with Scandinavian immigrants, gave them backbones and leathery hides, and set them upon the fields of Nebraska Their characters bloomed into an organic array of flowers, weeds, fruit, and prickly briars What she sacrifices in the way of drama and action, shethan compensates in personality and the study of human behavior.The central figure is a strong willed and whip smart young woman, who grows into a successful lady of the land Our heroine is also good natured, well loved and kindly even to killers If it weren t for the slightest of faults, her named could be Mary Jane However, she is too real to be thought of as some caricature of saintliness Cather s My Antonia outshines this novel in its stark yet evocative descriptions of immigrant life on the prairie, but this is a damn fine book and worthy of the accolades it has received. I was entranced by the Nebraska prairie and a wonderful leading woman, living a century ago a time and place I have never been, but which leaped from the pages, with simple craftsmanship, to sculpt the landscape of my mind s eye, as Alexandra transformed both her fields and the lives of those around her.The final thirteen pages felt written by or about a different person, not the author and protagonist I thought I knew Prairie SpringThe novel opens with a poem contrasting the harsh landscape with the power of youth to trigger change, including Evening and the flat land The toiling horses, the tired men Sullen fires of sunset, fading,The eternal, unresponsive sky.Against all this, Youth,Flaming like the wild roses Flashing like a star out of the twilight Part I The Wild LandAt barely twenty, Alexandra Bergson takes over her late father s land, aided by hard working but risk averse brothers Lou and Oscar aged 17 and 19 She has big plans to try new things, buyland, employ farmhands, and get little Emil aged 5 educated Alexandra is the leading person, but the landscape is the main character Everyone in The Divide is an outsider, identified by their heritage Swedish, French, Bohemian etc , as they strive to survive and conquer the harsh and unfamiliar soil and climate, while battling blizzards, prairie dogs, snakes, cholera, and debt Many cling to the Old World belief that land, in itself, is desirable But this land was an enigma and there is the constant fear that men were too weak to make a mark here But Alexandra is a woman.First impressions are conjured by short plain words gray, anchored, haphazard, howling wind, frozen, straying, straggled, open plain, impermanence, tough prairie sod The simple, but carefully chosen language of landscape reminds me of Kent Haruf s Colorado high plains see my reviews of Plainsong and Eventide.The vast, bleak, and beautiful place, whose capricious moods both give and take life, reminds me of J n Kalman Stef nsson s Iceland see my reviews HERE.Part II Neighboring FieldsSixteen years later and the writing style is the same, but the landscape is transformed checker board fields, white roads at right angles, telephone cables, steel windmills, gaily painted farmhouses rather than being made of sod , and gilded weather vanes The brown earth, with such a strong, clean smell, and such a power of growth and fertility in it now It gives itself ungrudgingly to the moods of the season, holding nothing back Humans have won, Alexandra chief among them The land had its little joke It pretended to be poor because nobody knew how to work it right.Freed from the stress of basic survival, pleasure can sometimes be indulged friendships and marriages formed, children born, the adventure of university But it s the tentative relationships that quietly dominate in the shadows, the ones that society can t condone view spoiler Unhappily married Marie picks cherries, while Emil scythes the grass of her orchard hide spoiler Alexandra looked at him mournfully I try to beliberal about such things than I used to be I try to realize that we are not all made alike Everything in O Pioneersis beauty to me I am so in love with this book Maybe it is because I have it in my brain that pioneers by definition suck that Willa Cather always catches me by surprise and turns me upside down It s like walking through an alien landscape and then running into my best friend I thought what I would find was Michael Landon crying into a butter churn, and here you are, everything that is wonderful about humans Still, I never know whether to recommend that other people read this book, or whether it is better to just keep it to myself As Alexandra says, we are not all made alike, and maybe what is beauty and revelation to me is Michael Landon crying into a butter churn to you.It s so easy to say why I hate writing and difficult to say why I love it I want to compare Cather to Hemingway because of how steady and careful their writing is, because of how speculation about their lives cheapens conversations about their stories, but no I want to say Cather writes what is in my soul, but that s not right either What she writes is as much her own world as it is my reality, but that doesn t make her wisdom easy or her power arrogant She is not looking for my approval, but she is looking outside herself for some kind of truth.At a particularly conflicted time in my life, I went to a club with some friends and I saw a girl dancing like I have never seen anyone dance in my life She had cleared out as space for herself to the side of the stage, and it was like every part of her body was electric It was not only beautiful, it was also full of life Where I didn t know which way to turn, this girl was in the Place, doing the Thing Reading O Pioneersis like watching that girl Everything is alive in this book But, again, I m struck by the feeling that it may not be alive to you as it is to me I ll give you a few descriptions as objectively as I can, and you can judge for yourself It is about contrasts country and city, speed and slowness, youth and age, passion and steadiness, inspiration and hard work, deprivation and entitlement It is operatic It is kooky at times and kind, but not funny It is understated and even handed It is written by a woman It is about women and men, who are all sometimes as passionate as people are, and other times as wise as people should be It is specific, but not petty There are awkward parts specifically book 2, chapter 9, though I even think that scene is beautiful.It s difficult to talk about this book without spoiling it, and I think a spoiler would really spoil the story So, I ll just say one last thing that I hope won t be a spoiler, but might, so be warned People get angry with authors who won t let their characters die and see it as a sign of accomplished writing to kill a character I think, because of that, I see a lot of bad storytelling mistaken for good storytelling if the author tortures or kills the characters I really hate when people think character abuse is maturity At the same time, though, I think there is something right about trusting an authorif the author allows unhappiness into the story Authors are writing to an audience, and I think they should be writing to entertain, so there is value to me in making stories better than life At the same time, there is truth in sadness, and if a writer can t look at sadness, she has sacrificed truth to entertainment Cather balances truth and entertainment in a way that is completely devastating She loves her characters, and lets every one of them grow as humans grow, with human joys and human tragedies It is painful and beautiful to watch I almost want to read this book again right away, but too much wisdom in one month can t be good for my health I ll take a little break first and watch some reality TV to balance out my wisdom intake Just, you know, for my health.