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O Pioneers!

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(1913)



This is the story of a Swedish family trying to make their way in America as farmers. Contrary to sensibilities of the time, the father, John Bergson, before he dies, leaves the running of his farm to his eldest daughter, Alexandra, as opposed to her three brothers. As time goes on the land prospers under her leadership, the two older brothers, Lou and Oscar, marry and continue to work, and the youngest, Emil, goes off to college, but Alexandra had always sacrificed what she wanted for the betterment of her family and the needs of the land. However, once it seems that Alexandra may have a second chance at the love she once lost, it may cost her the land that she has worked so hard for and given the best years of her life to protect.--Submitted by Anonymous

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Willa Cather and her books about New Mexico are now generally regarded by native New Mexicans are stereotypical and even racist. I recommend taking her works with a large grain of salt.--Submitted by Anonymous

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Reading My Antonia and O Pioneers was one of the best gifts given me by a Catholic school education because I had Sister Rosamunda explaining that this was not Laura Ingalls Wilder's soft rewriting of hard scrabble life, but instead had characters that were three dimensional, self-interested, and believable with variations of behavior that are not easily described as good or bad. These are great books for any reader and will keep your attention if you have any wit. I envy your discovery of her writing.--Submitted by Jeff ODonnell






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what does Alexandra, the main character of O Pioneers! learn?

I recently read this book for a lit course I am taking and found it very enjoyable and a good piece of American lit. I now have to write an essay arguing what the chief protagonist of the book, Alexandra Bergson, learned through her story. I'm wondering if anyone has any input on this. I don't want to steal your ideas for my paper :nono:, but I feel like O Pioneers! is a book that has so much in it - so much that is profound, escpecially as concerns the pioneer's relationship to the land, as well as so much thematic and symbolic material. I would appreciate hearing any thoughts or comments. Also, I read Walt Whitman's poem "Pioneers, O Pioneers!" from which the title of the book is derived. It was a very powerful, passionate, and evocative poem, and I liked it a lot. I think Cather picked up on a lot of Whitman's passion and vivid imagery in that poem and translated it into a novel. Does anyone have any other ideas on how else Whitman's poem may have influenced Cather's book?

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