“O Pioneers!” by Willa Cather – Melody & Words
Like Emil Bergson, her fated love interest, we first encounter Marie as a child. remains the essence of what youth and youthfulness stands for in O Pioneers! idea of how Marie might have described herself in relation to her affair with Emil: . The O Pioneers! characters covered include: Alexandra Bergson, Emil to Marie begins to unravel, leading her to pursue a relationship with Emil Bergson. There is a growing flirtatious relationship between Emil and Marie, which Carl notices. Lou and Oscar suspect that Carl wants to marry.
Extramarital affairs are obviously condemned—even if the marriage in peril is very unhealthy for all involved. Emil and Marie understand that their love is sinful and forbidden, and Alexandra does not condemn Frank for his crime because, in a way, the lovers deserved retribution and Frank vengeance. Marie, as some have pointed out, is a symbol of the wild land around her. She encompasses all of the temperamental beauty, the exigent passion, the far-off and forbidden dreams of success in face of the hardship pioneers face.
Though she never shows much interest in members of the opposite sex—to the point that I assumed she was gay or asexual—by the end she marries a childhood friend who has been far less successful in life, simply because life seems too hard alone.
The point seems clear: Carl is a flat, lusterless character; quiet, artistic, and sensitive, he is the opposite of Alexandra.
He confesses to her: The American dream has been fulfilled for Alexandra in Emil. He has gone to the university, played in the band, and become an all-star athlete. The Bergson household is bustling with hired men for the farmwork, hired girls for the housework, and even Crazy Ivar to watch over the stock. It has become a home of harmony and contentment. It is to this blissful scene that Carl returns after years of living in the city. He is welcomed by the loving arms of Alexandra, but also the suspicious glares of Lou and Oscar.
Another sub-story is introduced at this point as we encounter the adult Emil returned from college, and his now grown-up playmate Marie Tovesky, who has married Frank Shabata.
O Pioneers! - Wikipedia
The romantic tension between the two is beginning to surface, and provides a foreshadowing for the rest of the story. The novel closes with the newly-returned Carl leaving again to prove to Alexandra that he is Aworthy enough financially to marry her, and a frustrated Emil seeking escape in Mexico. Winter Memories Although the shortest section of the novel, AWinter Memories may hold the most tension and complexity.
It describes the very long, disheartening, tedious winter with which Alexandra and her neighbors must cope. Deprived of human companionship and variety of activity, the only preoccupation that one has is their own thoughts. For Alexandra, her thoughts provide gratifying reflection.
She recollects happy times with Emil and indulges in simple daydreams. However, the reader finds a once jovial Marie shrinking more and more into herself.
Her constant thoughts of Emil and her diminishing happiness only serve to discourage her and slowly drag her into depression. The White Mulberry Tree Part IV refreshingly opens into a beautiful summer day and the excitement of the town fair to be held that evening. There is definite tension between the just-returned Emil and Marie.
After the fair, Emil asks Marie to run away with him, but Marie agonizingly refuses, bound by her loyalty to Frank. Emil finally can no longer take the heartache, and resolves to leave for good.
“O Pioneers!” by Willa Cather
Overcome with emotion at the funeral and the realization he will be leaving, Emil races to see Marie one last time. He finds her lying in the orchard, and the two lovers surrender to their passion at last.
Driven mad with jealousy and suspicions, he grabs his gun and discovers the two lovers in the orchard. He fires without thinking and fatally hits the two without even fully realizing what happened. She has forgiven Frank for the crime he unwittingly committed, and promises to do everything in her power to free him from prison.
Even though she is saddened by the death of Emil and Marie, Alexandra is able to find happiness with Carl. He returns after hearing the tragic news, and is able to be a comfort and support for Alexandra. It is the land which will always be there.
As she states at the end of the novel, AWe come and go, but the land is always here. And the people who love and understand it are the people who own it B for a little while Cather Rosowski and Other Critics Susan J.
Rosowski, a renowned author and literary critic, has written several articles about Willa Cather and other female writers. Rosowski a professor of botany in June 22, Her education includes a B. AWork on Willa Cather has enabled me to combine my personal and professional interests in an extremely satisfying way. Cather contributed heroic women to a western American literature dominated by a masculine ethos, and she provided revelations of spiritual value in a modern tradition dominated by themes of alienation and loneliness.
Alexandra is the beautiful woman who falls in love with the wild, untamed land; she is Apledged to the country, which is like a beast under a spell Rosowski Given the implications of this relationship, Alexandra discovers her love for it, gives her heart to it, and thus a magical transformation occurs and she is able to rule over a prosperous kingdom.
Also, romantic conventions are questioned with the relationship of Emil and Marie, since their love affair was, from the beginning, doomed to fail. The reader is set up to expect a romance between Carl and Alexandra, reminding the reader Aof conventions that are standard and false: However, tradition is contradicted. Alexandra is the strong female heroine who is not matched up with an older, wiser man, instead she chooses the younger, sensitive, uncertain Carl.
Alexandra fulfills feminine expectations but in unconventional ways. At the end of the novel, Cather has effectively sabotaged the story: They are playing with the kitten. Marie lives in Omaha and is visiting her uncle Joe Tovesky.
Alexandra's father is dying, and it is his wish that she run the farm after he is gone. Alexandra and her brothers Oscar and Lou later visit Ivar, known as Crazy Ivar because of his unorthodox views. For instance, he sleeps in a hammock, believes in killing no living thing and goes barefoot summer and winter. But he is known for healing sick animals. Alexandra is concerned about their hogs as the hogs of many of their neighbors are dying.
Crazy Ivar advises her to keep their hogs clean rather than letting them live in filth and to give them fresh, clean water and good food. Alexandra, however, starts making plans for where she will relocate the hogs. After years of crop failure, many of the Bergson's neighbors are selling out, even if it means taking a loss.
Then they learn the Linstrums have also decided to leave. Oscar and Lou want to leave too, but neither their mother nor Alexandra will. After visiting villages downwards to see how they are getting on, Alexandra talks her brothers into mortgaging the farm to buy more land, in hopes of ending up as rich landowners.
Alexandra and her brothers have divided up their inheritance, and Emil has just returned from college. The Linstrum farm has failed, and Marie, now married to Frank Shabata, has bought it. That same day, the Bergsons are surprised by a visit from Carl Linstrum, whom they have not seen for thirteen years.
Carl says it has been sixteen years, but this is a textual error. John Bergson died sixteen years earlier, and Carl's family left during the drought that occurred three years later. Carl notices the growing flirtatious relationship between Emil and Marie. Lou and Oscar suspect that Carl wants to marry Alexandra, and are resentful at the idea that Carl might try to marry into a farm, while they had to work hard for theirs. This causes problems between Alexandra and her brothers, and they stop speaking to each other.
Carl, recognizing a problem, decides to leave for Alaska. At the same time, Emil announces he is leaving to travel through Mexico.
Alexandra is left alone. She also has an increased number of the mysterious dreams she has had since girlhood. These dreams are about a strong, god-like male figure who carries her over the fields. At a fair at the French church, Emil and Marie kiss for the first time.