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O Pioneers! (1913)

de Willa Cather

Altres autors: Mira la secció altres autors.

Sèrie: The Prairie Trilogy (1)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaConverses / Mencions
5,5861501,486 (3.88)1 / 494
Cather presents the story of the Nebraska prairie. Alexandra Bergson, daughter of Swedish immigrant farmers, is devoted to the land and suffers the hardships of prairie life.
Afegit fa poc perRennie8888, biblioteca privada, Arina8888, kmilev, LibraryLeia
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Anglès (145)  Castellà (2)  Italià (1)  Suec (1)  Francès (1)  Totes les llengües (150)
Es mostren 1-5 de 150 (següent | mostra-les totes)
At first glance, this read is a pleasant story; but like the rain, it sinks in and thoughts and understanding begin to grow. This could be the story of many of my ancestors. It could be the story of the independent women who settled the wild land and men. It could be the story of repression endured, of the strength of love, and the agony of failure. So many undercurrents are in this tale, as in life. It was a pleasant story, though it dealt with heartache, failure and depression. It is a love song to the land, and those who love the land. ( )
  MrsLee | Apr 28, 2022 |
Story of a family whose members take different courses after the patriarch dies. A main character is the land and it is evoked pretty well. That said, this is a story about taming the land for agriculture with an implicit message that this is somehow a good thing. At first this prairie-taming is indeed heroic. The plot is fairly canned and thus it is not very compelling. There is not enouch depth or complexity in these flat characters to make me care about what happens to them. ( )
  brianstagner | Feb 19, 2022 |
The work is known for its vivid re-creation of the hardships of prairie life and of the struggle of immigrant pioneer women. The novel was partially based on Cather’s Nebraska childhood, and it reflected the author’s belief in the primacy of spiritual and moral values over the purely material. Its heroine, Alexandra Bergson, exemplified the courage and purpose Cather felt were necessary to subdue the wild land. The title is taken from Walt Whitman’s poem “Pioneers! O Pioneers!” which, like the novel, celebrated frontier virtues of strength and inner spirit. ( )
  Marcos_Augusto | Jan 19, 2022 |
3.5
I’m shocked at how much I liked this. Kinda clumsy, but ultimately very moving and full of heart :) ( )
  noramd | Dec 17, 2021 |
Grit and Determination on the Plains

Willa Cather’s O Pioneers! encapsulates in one brief novel the epic story of America’s breadbasket, the immigrants who settled and transformed it into the vast productive land we know today, the challenges they confronted and overcame, the importance of and strength they derived from shared heritage and community, and the vision of some to see past their present difficulties to a brighter future. And it features as a prime mover, the one with the greatest vision, a woman of strong will, of inner fortitude, possessing the strength to set aside societal convention as she tamed the wild land as her brothers never could, Alexandra Bergson.

In the 1880s, when the novel opens, Nebraska was still a wild land, given to cattle raising. But the U.S. government wanted to spur agricultural development and to that end passed the Homestead Acts (1882), whereby Americans could receive land free with the proviso they had to live on it and cultivate it within five years. Land was also sold to immigrants who poured into the country, particularly from Scandinavia and Germany. John Bergson, the patriarch in the novel, settled near the fictional town of Hanover. John worked himself to death, literary, farming his land and upon his death left the homestead to Alexandra, going against the grain of both the times and old world tradition. He saw that she, not her brothers Lou and Oscar, had the vision and intelligence to build what he had begun into something big and prosperous. By the second part of the novel, which jumps ahead sixteen years, we see that she has accomplished just that, resisting the brothers’ fears of taking on risk and doing things differently than many around them.

Alexandra, apart from running the farm, leads a lonely life. She has recurring dreams of being carried in the arms of a strong man, but keeps her closest male friend, Carl, at a distance, until the end of the novel. She establishes a close relationship with Marie Tovesky Shabata, whom both she and her youngest brother, Emil, have known since childhood. Emil and Marie are near the same ages and Alexandra encourages Emil to help out on the Shabata farm often. Marie is married to a very difficult man, a man at odds with the world, a man who dislikes his neighbors and is disliked my them in return. Emil, of course, falls in love with Marie, who is vivacious and happy, even, and perhaps in spite, of her marital plight. Her husband, among other things, is jealous of Marie and always suspicious of her. In the end, this leads to tragedy, with him killing both Emil and Marie as they talk to each other in an apple orchard. Interestingly, and a reflection of attitudes toward woman, Alexandra not only blames herself for the murders but also Emil and Marie for engaging in an affair (though emotional not conjugal). In short, Marie bears responsibility for her husbands reaction. As a result, Alexandra visits Frank, the husband, in prison in Lincoln and promises to help him secure an earlier release. This aspect of the novel might have modern readers raising their eyebrows.

In the end, Carl returns from Alaska, where he has gone to stake his claim to adventure and riches, to console her, and the two, though unsaid, marry.

Cather writes with a simplicity that will appeal to most readers. Reminding oneself of American origins, in particular how immigrant groups clung together before blending into the American landscape, is a strength, especially given current times. The portrayal of a strong woman able to succeed to the world of business is another strength. However, some readers may be less accepting of certain ideas more in line with traditional expectations for women, especially as they relate to emotional spousal abuse and finger pointing for a crime of a passion. The Signet Classic mass paperback edition contains a fine introduction by Elizabeth Janeway, and for this reason is the recommended edition. ( )
  write-review | Nov 4, 2021 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 150 (següent | mostra-les totes)
There isn't a vestige of 'style' as such: for page after page one is dazed at the ineptness of the medium and the triviality of the incidents...
afegit per danielx | editaDress and Vanity Fair Magazine (Jan 23, 2015)
 

» Afegeix-hi altres autors (20 possibles)

Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Willa Catherautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Byatt, A. S.Introduccióautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Lindemann, MarileeEditorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Perrin, NoelEpílegautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Weakley, MarkIl·lustradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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Prairie Spring

Evening and the flat land,
Rich and sombre and always silent;
The miles of fresh-plowed soil,
Heavy and black, full of strength and harshness;
The growing wheat, the growing weeds,
The toiling horses, the tired men;
The long empty roads,
Sullen fires of sunset, fading,
The eternal, unresponsive sky.
Against all this, Youth,
Flaming like the wild roses,
Singing like the larks over the plowed fields,
Flashing like a star out of the twilight;
Youth with its insupportable sweetness,
Its fierce necessity,
Its sharp desire,
Singing and singing,
Out of the lips of silence,
Out of the earthy dusk.
Dedicatòria
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To the memory of
Sarah Orne Jewett
in whose beautiful and delicate work
there is the perfection
that endures
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One January day, thirty years ago, the little town of Hanover, anchored on a windy Nebraska tableland, was trying not to be blown away. A mist of fine snowflakes was curling and eddying about the cluster of low drab buildings huddled on the gray prairie, under a gray sky. The dwelling-houses were set about 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. The main street was a deeply rutted road, now frozen hard, which ran from the squat red railway station and the grain “elevator” at the north end of the town to the lumber yard and the horse pond at the south end. On either side of this road straggled two uneven rows of wooden buildings; the general merchandise stores, the two banks, the drug store, the feed store, the saloon, the post-office. The board sidewalks were gray with trampled snow, but at two o’clock in the afternoon the shopkeepers, having come back from dinner, were keeping well behind their frosty windows. The children were all in school, and there was nobody abroad in the streets but a few rough-looking countrymen in coarse overcoats, with their long caps pulled down to their noses. Some of them had brought their wives to town, and now and then a red or a plaid shawl flashed out of one store into the shelter of another. At the hitch-bars along the street a few heavy work-horses, harnessed to farm wagons, shivered under their blankets. About the station everything was quiet, for there would not be another train in until night.
Citacions
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The history of every country begins in the heart of a man or a woman.
People have to snatch at happiness when they can, in this world. It is always easier to lose than to find.
Those fields, colored by various grain! - Mickiewicz
When the road began to climb the first long swells of the Divide, Alexandra hummed an old Swedish hymn, and Emil wondered why his sister looked so happy. Her face was so radiant that he felt shy about asking her. For the first time, perhaps, since that land emerged from the waters of geologic ages, a human face was set toward it with love and yearning. It seemed beautiful to her, rich and strong and glorious. Her eyes drank in the breadth of it, until her tears blinded her. Then the Genius of the Divide, the great, free spirit which breathes across it, must have bent lower than it ever bent to a human will before. The history of every country begins in the heart of a man or a woman.
But that, as Emil himself had more than once reflected, was Alexandra's blind side, and her life had not been of the kind to sharpen her vision. Her training had all been toward the end of making her proficient in what she had undertaken to do. Her personal life, her own realization of herself, was almost a subconscious existence; like an underground river that came to the surface only here and there, at intervals months apart, and then sank again to flow on under her own fields. Nevertheless, the underground stream was there, and it was because she had so much personality to put into her enterprises and succeeded in putting it into them so completely, that her affairs prospered better than those of her neighbors.
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Wikipedia en anglès (2)

Cather presents the story of the Nebraska prairie. Alexandra Bergson, daughter of Swedish immigrant farmers, is devoted to the land and suffers the hardships of prairie life.

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