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O Pioneers! by Willa Cather   Tags: english, literature  

Last Updated: Mar 4, 2014 URL: http://kwlibguides.lonestar.edu/o-pioneers Print Guide RSS Updates

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About the Novel

Willa Cather

O Pioneers! was published in 1913.

Willa Cather, 1873-1947

Cather immigrated to Nebraska from Virginia when she was nine and her descriptions of the desolation, loneliness, and hope of the pioneers come from her memories of that time.  Although technically her second novel, Cather considered O Pioneers! to be her first. 

O Pioneers! is a regional novel set in Cather's home state of Nebraska.  Alexandra Bergson, a young woman of Swedish heritage, is an independent thinker who loves the land and can see possibilities where others only see the problems.  In a world where men have traditionally made all the decisions, Alexandra breaks the mold.

This story describes the American dream of the late nineteenth century immigrant.  It tells of the work and hardship involved in the settlement of the west as the immigrants struggled to make a place for themselves.  The story centers around the Bergson farm, a poorly producing property owned by Alexandra's father.  Although he has three sons, when he realizes he is dying, he leaves control of the farm to his only daughter.  Her spirit and drive combine to enable her to make a success where others fail.  Her business success, however, is not reflected in personal satisfaction as she is isolated and lonely, continually criticized by her older brothers for her independent ways. 

 

Norwegian Pioneers: Hardships, Harsh Winters, and I...

 

Background About the Author

Cover Art
Twentieth-Century American Western Writers - Richard H. Cracroft (Editor)
Call Number: eBook
Publication Date: 2002-01-29
E-book. Analysis of Cather's work from the Dictionary of Literary Biography

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American Novelists, 1910-1945 - James J. Martine (Editor)
Call Number: eBook
Publication Date: 1981-11-15
E-book. From the Dictionary of Literary Biography

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The Stuff of Our Forebears - Joyce McDonald
Call Number: eBook
Publication Date: 1998-05-19
E-book. Explores Willa Cather's southern heritage.

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Willa Cather's Ecological Imagination - Susan J. Rosowski (Editor); Cather Studies Staff
Publication Date: 2003-09-01
E-book. Considers Cather's ties to the land as more than just setting.

Cover Art
Willa Cather - Philip L. Gerber
Call Number: eBook
Publication Date: 1995-06-21
E-book collection of criticisms and interpretation on Cather's works, by Twayne.



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To Write Like a Woman - Joanna Russ
Call Number: PS147 .R87
Publication Date: 1995-06-01
Includes a chapter on Willa Cather.


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