Snapshots from the West: Willa Cather's O Pioneers!/Bati'dan fotograflar: Willa Cather'in O Pioneers! adli romani.
My basic contention, regarding Cather's representation of the West, will be that Willa Cather replaces dialectics with fragmentation, which transforms her novels into dialogic texts that confront dualism. By valorizing fragmentation both in thematic and structural terms, Cather goes against a long tradition of western writing in which two main forces struggle to get hold of the narrative. As William Handley states, "[...] [Cather] refuses to synthesize the oppositions- men/wilderness, East/West, men/women -that structure various forms of western nationalism" (125). In Cather's fiction, the main story turns out to be more than good guys overcoming the bad guys, as one would expect from Formula Westerns in which the ending is usually a climactic moment of victory of the good over the bad. For instance, in Owen Wister's The Virginian, the hero kills the villains and wins his sweetheart to whom he finally gets married and lives happily thereafter: order is restored. In contrast to that, Cather celebrates ambiguity, circularity, recursiveness over linearity.
Hence, my main claim in this paper is that by centralizing fragmentation, Cather not only undermines the progressive account of Western expansion, but also provides a "truthful" representation of the West since she is capable of placing multiple experiences within a large framework (of fragmented narratives/minds/settings/time) rather than presenting one particular experience between two conflicting forces, usually nature and human agent, as happens in formulaic fiction. In my analysis, I aim to focus primarily on O Pioneers! and attempt to show how Cather, in this particular novel, reflects the complexities of the struggle between land and people as an ongoing experience, as compared to Formula Western fiction, which claims to present the "truthful" story of the Old West but emphasizes one overarching theme -the linear development of the individual/of the land/of the nation.
O Pioneers!, one of the two early Nebraska novels, opens with a vivid image of a struggle between two forces: the poorly-built houses on the prairie resist being uprooted by nature, whose power and permanence is put into sharp contrast to the temporariness of the human dwellings. Cather writes that "The dwelling houses were set haphazard on the tough prairie sod; some of them looked as if they had been moved in overnight, and others as if they were straying off by themselves, headed straight for the open plain. None of them had any appearance of permanence, and the howling wind blew under them as well as over them" (3). Indeed, the first chapter of the novel is structured around various oppositions and juxtapositions, which emphasize the idea of dialectics while simultaneously parting from dialectical relationships that contain binaries. This is the only chapter where four central figures, Emil, Marie, Alexandra and Carl, are pictured together. With different variations throughout the chapter, two of the four characters are illustrated as negating or complementing the others. For instance, Emil's despair on the first page is opposed to the determination of his sister on the second: "[She] 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" (4). However, Emil's estrangement in the village parallels Marie's strangeness to the country. At the beginning of the novel, Marie is described as follows: "Marie was a stranger in the country, having come from Omaha with her mother to visit her uncle, Joe Tovesky" (6). Emil and Marie, then, act as contrasting figures to Alexandra, since she is the mobilizer in this chapter as well as throughout the whole book and seems to feel at ease in the village. In terms of appearance, Alexandra is as contrasting a figure to Marie as she is to her brother. While Alexandra wears "a man's long ulster ... and carrie[s] it like a young soldier" (4), Marie looks like "a quaint little woman" (7). Where Alexandra feels at ease the other two are not, and vice versa. She acts with hostility to a man who attempts to praise her hair: "She stabbed him with a glance of Amazonian fierceness and drew in her lower lip -most unnecessary severity" (5). On the other hand, Marie does not seem to be uncomfortable with being the centre of attention in the village store where Joe Tovesky's friends gather around her with admiring looks; she "took their jokes with great good nature" (7).
The degree of femininity in these two characters is thus put into opposition from the first chapter, in which the masculinity of the other two characters, Emil and Carl produces a similar effect. The helpless posture of Emil, crying desperately, is juxtaposed on the next page with Carl's heroic appearance as a rescuer. Finally, the grouping of the four into two couples still does not display a neat structure with polar opposites. Even Carl and Alexandra, who seem to parallel each other, show a difference in what they think: "The light fell upon the two sad young faces that were turned mutely toward it: upon the eyes of the girl, who seemed to be looking with such anguished perplexity into the future; upon the sombre eyes of the boy, who seemed already to be looking into the past" (8).
It is crucial to note that this chapter, focusing on dialectical relations and polarizing pairs in terms of how they look/behave, concludes with an opposition between the conception of time in the minds of two central figures who choose to look either into the past or into the present. This is not only disruptive of aligning the couples as Emil & Marie and Carl & Alexandra (now that the discrepancy between the latter is revealed) but also violates the common conception of associating woman with the past and man with the present. In addition to disturbing the linear development of this particular chapter, Cather also turns upside down the whole Western tradition, which mystifies women while celebrating the "presence" of men. In another aspect, this concluding scene signals that the narrative gaze will not only observe the characters from outside, but will actually enter their minds to disclose the contents to the reader.
The first chapter in Cather's novel unveils a glimpse of the unconventional story waiting for the reader somewhere between the past and present of narrative time. The narrative itself is located between past and present, which allows it to explore, if not to answer, questions of rootlessness, homelessness, fragmentation, disconnection and the like. By the time we come to the end of the story, some of these questions are yet to be resolved. However, it is in the lack of resolution, in this alternative space created in between past and present, that a work of fiction such as O Pioneers! can be articulated. Cather writes from this third space, which also turns out to be the space in which the Old West can be represented most "accurately".
The narrative structure of O Pioneers! certainly calls time into question. Due to gaps and silences across the narrative, time is fragmented and circular in Cather's novel. Both the third and fourth chapters start by stating that time has passed since John Bergson's death. While six months had passed in the third chapter, the fourth chapter starts three years after the designated event. This recurrent structure once again surfaces in the second part (39) with a sixteen-year jump ahead in time. Although there is no established pattern in these jumps, the omissions span important periods of time in the history of the West. For one thing, questions related to the hardships pioneers went through to tame the land are left unanswered. Cather is especially reticent on two occasions, which coincidentally cover the hardships with the dry land. In the first one, three years after John Bergson's death, while other events are tediously summarized at the beginning of the fourth chapter, no account of Alexandra's physical fight with the land is provided. Secondly, the narrative jumps from Alexandra's resolution to stay in Hanover, which is gradually evacuated by the dejected farmers, to a revamped look at the prairie after the cultivation of the land for sixteen years. If this is the story of the pioneer life, there is nothing in it to give a sense of progression in time. Instead, time seems to revolve around land to such an extent that land and time become indistinguishable in fiction. The circular time moves commensurate with the annular cycle in agriculture. However, the Western landscape is abundant with surprises, and the cyclical development is continuously disrupted by unforeseen circumstances because the land unfolds itself as the unreliable party in the narrative structure.
With the substitution of circular linearity, the main medium of time becomes the land which is at the centre of the narrative. Land is time. It is the main determinant of the narrative, making it progress and appearing occasionally as the main character in the novel. While Carl is accompanying Emil and Alexandra to their home at the beginning of the novel, the dominance of land is felt everywhere. Carl observes the scarcity of the homesteads in the country: "But the great fact was the land itself, which seemed to overwhelm the little beginnings of human society that struggled in its somber wastes. It was from facing this vast hardness that [Carl's] mouth had become so bitter; because he felt that men were too weak to make any mark here, that the land wanted to be let alone, to preserve its own fierce strength, its peculiar, savage kind of beauty, its uninterrupted mournfulness" (8). The land's presence is thus affirmed by its personification, which proclaims that it will not be treated less seriously than the characters. Plus, it is endowed with autonomy/agency. For instance, after her breakthrough with the land, Alexandra is still reluctant to attribute success to herself. Instead, she holds land responsible for blossoming forth at the unexpected moment: "We hadn't any of us much to do with it, Carl. The land did it. It had its little joke. It pretended to be poor because nobody knew how to work it right; and then, all at once, it worked itself. It woke up out of its sleep and stretched itself, and it was so big, so rich, that we suddenly found we were rich, just from sitting still" (59).
Yet, if land rules over the landscape of the novel, then is it still possible to avoid recounting the meta-narrative of the Old West? Now that land is the dominant force, is the novel not likely to turn into just another pioneer story with the continuous strife going on between land and human beings? The answer, to me, includes Cather's subtle subversion of the formula Western fiction while simultaneously realizing the claims of authenticity this genre holds so dear. To a certain extent, the absence of confronting land as a physical force (rather than a psychological force) accounts for the ingenious treatment of land in Cather's novels. The replacement of the psychological with the psychical in relation to the land bolsters the authenticity of the text. The conflict of each individual with the land takes place in his or her mind; a realm which has been left unexplored by Western formulas, yet which is no less real than the real thing.
Realism as a State of Mind
What Cather portrays in her novels is not ordinary pioneer life together with its hardships, but rather a state of mind that follows the experience of pioneering. In other words, Cather is not interested in providing the reader with historical data about the designated time period. Instead, she undertakes to focus primarily on the minds of the individuals who represent the frontiersmen/women at the time. Her work does not breed a nostalgic impulse to restore the heroic past since she is not herself reflecting on the past. What she instead brings forward in her writing is that reflection/experience itself. In relation to that, it would be plausible to assert that the whole narrative of O Pioneers! is Alexandra's (and other characters') deliberation over land.
In his discussion of A Lost Lady, Urgo states that "Neither the doings of Captain Forrester nor the survival of his wife, Marian, is central to the novel in the way that is Niel Herbert's intellectual experience of the couple" (78). This is one reason why Cather is quite reticent about recounting what actually happened in the past. What is more intriguing for her is what was happening in people's minds. This is not to say, however, that she misrepresents history simply because she neglects to write the grand narrative of Manifest Destiny. Instead of narrating, for instance, the conquest and cultivation of the land in detail, her story scrutinizes the retrospection and deliberation about the land. This is a book about ideas rather than events of the past. The clash, if any, is between ideologies, turning the novel into a field of contesting ideas which are put into conversation with each other. Hence, the dispute between Alexandra and her brothers is not merely a sibling feud, but a conflict of ideas about land in general and pioneer life in particular. While Alexandra starts out with "love and yearning" (33), she mentally tires herself out, reflecting on the land. On the other hand, her brothers do not take the land as an object of deliberation, which is evident in the fact that although they do not hesitate to exhaust themselves bodily, little thinking is involved in the process. (1)
The dialectical relationship between Alexandra and her brothers, concerning land, turns into a dialogy with the intervention of Carl. Any conversation between him and Alexandra is also engaged with her brothers' ideas about land. When Carl and Alexandra meet again after sixteen years of separation, Carl's first remark to Alexandra is related to land: "What a wonderful place you have made of this, Alexandra. [...] I would never have believed it could be done. I'm disappointed in my own eye, in my imagination" (emphasis mine 55). Hence, through the power of her imagination, Alexandra proves to be a better pioneer than all three men.
In fact, imagination is the main factor for an effective pioneership. Cather asserts that, "A pioneer should have imagination, should be able to enjoy the idea of things more than the things themselves" (25). In the same chapter in which Carl eulogizes Alexandra for her ingenuity, the visionary spirit of a pioneer is even more pronounced with a reference to the metaphor of painter versus engraver. Carl states, "I've been thinking how strangely things work out. I've been away engraving other men's pictures, and you've [Alexandra] stayed at home and made your own" (59). Painting foregrounds imagination whereas engraving does not require creativity so much as it does bodily effort. Alexandra, being the painter of landscape also stands for the artist in the pioneer. As Cather asserts, "Alexandra's role as artist is evident in her visionary imagination, her combination of creative ability and technical skill, her discovery of self-expression in the soil, and in the emergence of the fertile, ordered landscape" (O'Brien 434).
In terms of artistic vision and craft, a similar contrast is mentioned a few pages before Carl walks in unexpectedly. At the family gathering, Alexandra expresses her wish to buy a piano to her niece, Milly, who has been playing the organ. For Oscar, no significant difference exists between an organ and a "pianny". Through all these references to art, Cather underscores an interdependent relationship and a close affinity between the artist and the pioneer -both positions being alien to Alexandra's brothers, hence their failure with the (conception of) land.
Artists and pioneers share a passion for imagination, which is in tune with Cather's understanding of realistic representation:
There is a popular superstition that 'realism' asserts itself in the cataloguing of a great number of material objects, in explaining mechanical processes, the methods of operating manufactories and trades, and in minutely and unsparingly describing physical sensations. But is not realism, more than it is anything else, an attitude of mind on the part of the writer toward his material, a vague indication of the sympathy and candour with which he accepts, rather than chooses, his theme? (qtd. in Stephanie Lewis Thompson 133)
This can only be realized in fiction since history is crippled when documenting a state of mind, but who can testify that the state of mind is not history itself -the story of what is left behind and what correlates to the Real? If the objective of realism is to picture a state of mind, then Cather's novel is structured around this motif. The disrupted narrative structure unfolds like the movement of a mind, which proceeds with fragments rather than following a linear progression. In that aspect, the most "realistic" chapter in the novel would be the homicide scene in which Frank's mind is depicted in minute detail. The pronounced improvisation of Frank's behavior indicates the haphazardness of a working mind. His mental wanderings not only point to the concurrence of past and present in memory, but also highlight the mobility of the mind. This is another common characteristic between an artist and a pioneer, both of whom seek to capture the present, yet opt to be always on the move. Urgo posits, "The vision of American culture projected in the novels of Willa Cather is one of continuous movement, of spatial and temporal migrations, of intellectual transmission and physical uprooting" (17). Both pioneers and artists are migrants at heart, occupying the liminal space and time between past and present, which they rely upon to extract their identities. Their fragmented lives give them their truth value, as much as they breathe life to the fragments of their lives.
Realism as a Migratory Spirit
Being cut off from his/her roots, a migrant, by definition, is uprooted from an "origin" and is exposed to a fragmented life. Urgo argues, "In Cather's pioneer myth we are concerned with the psychological and historical erasure of the person who settles and with the emergence of the pioneer who roams, who cannot have a home because at the very core of his or her self-definition are mobility and homelessness" (Urgo 44). The migrant stands between past and the present, a space s/he is destined to occupy forever as his/her home. Crossing the threshold of either realm or stepping into one of them would destroy the migrant's identity. This is why migration cannot be considered merely as a physical act of changing places but should also be seen as a state of mind--as aptly studied in O Pioneers!. As Urgo states, "[Cather], however, does not concentrate on the massive weight of historical action in this novel; such is not the attitude of mind she has toward her material" (Urgo 75). The effect is a continuous sense of being in transit in a pioneer life, which can be articulated in a work of fiction. The fleeting moment of transition is too abstract an idea to be represented in historical documents. However, by focusing on uprootedness, Willa Cather is actually giving a more "realistic" account of American history than many leading historians such as Turner, as Handley puts it: "What makes Cather original for her time and her work seem authentically "real" was her refusal of a romantic, synthesizing telos so often applied by writers such as Frederick Jackson Turner, Owen Wister, and Theodore Roosevelt to representations of western experience" ('The West Authentic,' the West Divided" 72). No historian (nor authors who claim to be authentic in their formulaic fiction) could do away with telos, nor stand in uncertainty between past and present. Yet, claiming to depict the whole experience as it happened, they are actually ignoring the element of irresolution of the moment, hence distorting "reality". Plus, since pioneer life relies on cyclical time, they are misrepresenting the concept of time when their narratives gesture towards a climactic moment. Urgo attributes this unique sense of time to the experience of migration:
In the United States migration begins as a physical act and is transformed into a mode of consciousness. An agricultural community will construct cyclical notions of time based on the recurring phenomena of the harvest. Repetition, quite naturally, is valued more highly than is singularity, and ritualistic cultural forms ensure cosmic regularity. An industrial society, on the other hand, will demarcate the historical record of its own productivity, seeing time accumulate like goods in the warehouse. Singular acts that provide benchmarks in the passage of time are valued more highly than are repeatable experiences that obscure the essentials of linearity. (Urgo 3)
Cather's exclusiveness, however, in treating this unique experience relies on her favoring neither repetition nor singularity, but merging the two in her fiction. By doing that, she manages to picture both the common and the individual experience of a migrant/pioneer in the United States.
Minor Narratives Competing against the Meta-narrative of History
Standing at the disjuncture of past and present and creating an alternative space in her fiction, Cather can cast a double vision of the idiosyncrasy and the collectivity of a particular moment in time. In their idiosyncrasies, these moments are cut off from the past and are located meticulously. For instance, in sharp contrast to the huge gaps in the history of the West (such as the struggle with the land), the story of the wild duck strikes the reader by its minute description:
There were certain days in her life, outwardly uneventful, which Alexandra remembered as peculiarly happy; days when she was close to the flat, fallow world about her, and felt, as it were, in her own body the joyous germination in the soil. There were days, too, which she and Emil had spent together, upon which she loved to look back. There had been such a day when they were down on the river in the dry year, looking over the land. They had made an early start one morning and had driven a long way before noon. [...] Under the overhanging willows of the opposite bank there was an inlet where the water was deeper and flowed so slowly that it seemed to sleep in the sun. In this little bay a single wild duck was swimming and diving and preening her feathers, disporting herself very happily in the flickering light and shade. They sat for a long time, watching the solitary wild duck take its pleasure. No living thing had ever seemed to Alexandra as beautiful as that wild duck. (105)
One day, years later, Emil reminds his sister of the wild duck: "'Alexandra, [...] do you remember the wild duck we saw down on the river that time?' ", he asks (emphasis mine 122). "His sister look[s] up. 'I often think of her. It always seems to me she's there still, just like we saw her'" (122). Although that moment is gone, its effect extends into the future. "It's queer what things one remembers and what things one forgets," adds Emil before he says goodnight to his sister (123). In the light of what the narrative remembers or forgets, these lines strongly point to the exclusion of the overarching story of the West from the narrative structure of Cather's novel.
O Pioneers! is abundant with stories of moments, which interrupt the main story in the novel. The narrative structure is continuously disrupted through such epiphanic instances, situating the fragmentation at the centre of the novel. Therefore, this is not a story of Alexandra's fight with the land. In addition to the narrative's dumbness to the struggle with the land, her own recollections of the past years are also oblivious to heroic deeds, which usually occupy a large space in formula Western fiction. The circus story which Alexandra recounts to Marie evokes a solitary childhood memory (2). Thus, the book turns into a collection of snapshots (all of which are unique and memorial) of a landscape on which Alexandra happens to play a pivotal role. Marie's story is no less dominant than hers. After her marriage with Frank, the narrative confesses that "Since then her story had been a part of the history of the Divide" (emphasis mine, 74). This means that Cather is as resistant to meta-narratives in her fiction as she is to the ones in history. By disintegrating the unity of Alexandra's story and by introducing other stories of equal importance, Cather defies the power of any dominant discourse.
Yet, the co-existence of emphasis on recursiveness and commitment to the uniqueness of each experience might seem to create a self-contradictory text. If the vision of the wild duck belongs to that time, then how can we account for the re-vision that haunts both Emil and Alexandra? The contradiction arises precisely as a result of the tension between the celebration of the uniqueness of the moment that can not be revived and the recursiveness of time. If every moment is recursive, then how can it at the same time be considered as unique?
The old story writes itself over, as Carl states. His statement might clarify the location of Cather's novel within the great canon of western writing. "Isn't it queer", asks Carl of Alexandra: "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" (61). It is only years later that Alexandra answers him, which subtly parallels Emil's belated reminiscence of the wild duck -both occasions underlining the circularity of the narrative. When Carl and Alexandra finally come together, it is this time Alexandra who poses the question, followed by her answer: "You remember what you once said about the graveyard, and the old story writing itself over? Only it is we who write it, with the best we have" (158). Coming at the end of the book, this might as well be from the author's mouth, who is about to finish writing the old story with the best she has.
Invocation to the Reader
In order to support this speculation, it is this time the author of this paper who has to go back and remind the reader of the premature assertion at the beginning of the essay -that the alternative space created in Cather's fiction has the potential to provide the most accurate representation of the West. Addressing this question on a wider scale, O' Brien points out that "In borrowing her novel's title from Whitman, Cather both connected Alexandra's story to the pioneer experience and declared that her novel was not an isolated text but part of a shared endeavor by American writers to understand American history and culture" (433). In fact, the history of the West is often associated with that of the whole nation instead of a regional history. Cather intermingles the public and private roles played in the West, by writing on a common experience of struggle, rootlessness, and fragmented lives shared by all migrants (to the United States), yet strives to extract the idiosyncrasy of each incident while asserting that every individual writes his/her story.
Finally, Cather is successful at incorporating her own story into O Pioneers!--not as an American, but as a person imbued with the "true" migratory spirit. Her image is that of someone sitting on thorns: "I keep my own suitcases under the bed", she says (qtd. in Urgo 15). What Cather conceives as one's home is always projected in the future, waiting for the homecoming, yet vanishing into thin air the moment the traveler/pioneer/artist reaches that final destination. "In Cather's America the New World is not so much a historical environment (a cosmos, a home) as it is a motion through space (a transformation, a journey)" (Urgo 15-16).
Cather's unique understanding of time and space should provide substantial evidence against her feeling of nostalgia for the past. If the past Cather evokes is an endless journey, how would it be possible to feel nostalgia for a specific period in time? The idea of instability is enhanced by Alexandra's renunciation of owning the land at the end of the story: "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" (158). Although Alexandra is the only character who is entitled to own the land due to her commitment, her rejection of her power is significant in pronouncing the temporariness of human experience with land -hence with space and time, since land is substituted for the conjunction of the two in this particular text.
But Alexandra's final words also serve as an invitation to the reader. The personal pronoun "we" calls for solidarity between human beings in and outside of the text. Standing at the crossroads of space and time, Cather's reader has to be part of that liminal space in order to fully comprehend her fiction. S/he has to embark on a similar journey, a journey without a final destination or a resolution. A definite statement about Cather either as a nostalgic author or as an unconventional writer of the West terminates the journey. As Kevin A. Syncott states, "Cather's work has much to say about the art of living, and it is for us, as it is for all the figures in the scene, to engage in the process with her and with her characters, to try to understand the truths in the fictions one creates from the facts of a life" (Murphy 299). Understanding O Pioneers! is as fleeting as the moments it conveys, but the pleasure is everlasting.
Cather, Willa. O Pioneers! New York: Vintage, 1992.
Chabot, C. Barry. "Willa Cather and the Limits of Memory." Writers for The Nation: American Literary Modernism. Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press, 1997. 48-87.
Handley, William R. Marriage, Violence and the Nation in the American Literary West. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
Handley, William. "'The West Authentic,' the West Divided." True West: Authenticity and the American West. Ed. William Handley and Nathaniel Lewis. Lincoln: Univ. of Nebraska Press, 2004.
Meyering, Sheryl L. Understanding O Pioneers! And My Antonia. Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 2002.
Murphy, John J. Willa Cather: Family, Community, and History (The BYU Symposium) Provo, Utah : Brigham Young University, Humanities Publications Center, 1990.
O'Brien, Sharon. "The Road Home: O Pioneers!" Willa Cather: The Emerging Voice. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987. 428-451.
Peck, Demaree C. The Imaginative Claims of the Artist in Willa Cather's Fiction. Selinsgrove: Susquehanna University Press, 1996.
Rosowski, Susan J. Birthing a Nation: Gender, Creativity and the West in American Literature. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999.
Strehle Susan and Mary Paniccia Carden. Introduction. Doubled Plots: Romance and History. By Susan Strehle and Mary Paniccia Carden. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2003. xi-xxxiii.
Thompson, Stephanie Lewis. "Willa Cather and the Autobiographical Impulse." Influencing America's Tastes. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2002. 123-154.
Urgo, Joseph R. Willa Cather and the Myth of American Migration. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1995.
(1) This idea is clear in the relationship between Oscar, Lou and the land:
[Oscar] was a man of powerful body and unusual endurance; the sort of man you could attach to a corn-sheller as you would an engine. He would turn it all day, without hurrying, without slowing down. But he was as indolent of mind as he was unsparing of his body. His love of routine amounted to a vice. He worked like an insect, always doing the same thing over and over in the same way, regardless of whether it was best or no. He felt that there was a sovereign virtue in mere bodily toil, and he rather liked to do things in the hardest way. (...)
Lou, on the other hand, was fussy and flighty; always planned to get through two days' work in one, and often got only the least important things done. (...) In the middle of the wheat harvest, ehrn the grain was over-ripe and every hand was needed, he would stop to mend fences or to patch the harness; then dash down to the firld and overwork to be lid up in bed for a week. (29)
(2) "A long time ago, when Carl and I were, say, sixteen and twelve, a circus came to Hanover and we went to town in our wagon, with Lou and Oscar, to see the parade. We hadn't money enough to go to the circus. (...) There was a man in the streets selling apricots, and we had never seen any before. (...) We had little money our fathers had given us for candy, and I bought two pecks and Carl bought one. They cheered us a good deal, and we saved all the seeds and planted them. Up to the time Carl went away, they hadn't borne at all." (70)
Bu makale, Willa Cather'in O Pioneers! adli romaninin Amerikan Bati gelenegindeki yerini inceler. Ana tartisma, Cather'in eserinde belirginlesen bolunmusluge dikkat ceker be bu bolunmuslugun gecmis tarihi farkli bir acidan tarif etmeyi sagladigini savunur. Cather, Bati topragiyla mucadeleyi fiziksel oldugu kadar psikolojik bir surec olarak gosterir. Boylelikle, mucadele sadece insan ve toprak arasinda gelismez, ayni zamanda soz gecirilemeyen toprak karsisinda farkli tutumlar sergileyen ana karakterler arasinda bir diyaloga donusur. Kitaptaki bu cok seslilik "gercek" tarihin pek cok degisik acilimlari olabileceginin altini cizer. Bu makale, Cather'in eserindeki bolunmuslugu farkli acilardan inceler. Karakterler arasindaki ikilesme, kadin-erken ayrisimi vb. bolunmeler farkli bolunmeleri dogurarak her seviyedeki duzeni altust eder; geriye kalan bolunmusluk Amerikan Bati tarihinin belki de en "gercek" temsili olma ozelligi kazanir.
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|Article Type:||Critical essay|
|Date:||Mar 22, 2006|
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