Understanding O Pioneers! and My Antonia: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents (Google eBook)

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002 - Literary Criticism - 223 pages
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Willa Cather's novels "Oh Pioneers " and "My Antonia" are at once accurate representations of life on the midwestern prairies in the era of their first settlement and continuations of a literary tradition that stretches back to Virgil and other classical writers who celebrated nature and pondered humanity's place within it. Both novels are given full literary treatment here with close examination of the timeless themes of love, loss, the transience of youth, and the influence of the land itself on people's lives. For readers who want to go beyond the subjects of these novels, to enter the places and eras Cather immortalized in her writing, this casebook also situates the two novels within their historical contexts with a rich array of documentation. Letters and journals from the late 1800s and early 1900s help readers understand the hardships and rewards of everyday life on the plains. Poignant personal accounts as well as government reports document the special challenges women and immigrants faced on the frontier. Readers will also be able to explore how the issues in Cather's novels continue to shape American culture today. Reports from congressional hearings and personal interviews give varied perspectives on the disappearance of the family farm and an USDA timeline chronicles the causes and ongoing ramifications of this important issue.

Students and their teachers will find a wealth of valuable information for their classroom discussions and research projects in this interdisciplinary casebook. Each topic chapter offers ideas for oral and written exploration as well as lists of further suggested readings. Students will not only gain a better understanding of Cather's novels here, but will be able to make connections between their thematic concerns and contemporary social issues.

  

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Contents

II
1
III
25
IV
29
V
32
VI
34
VII
37
VIII
43
IX
45
XXVI
107
XXVII
110
XXVIII
112
XXIX
115
XXX
119
XXXI
121
XXXII
129
XXXIII
141

X
47
XI
50
XII
52
XIII
57
XIV
66
XV
70
XVI
75
XVII
77
XVIII
78
XIX
79
XX
81
XXI
84
XXII
89
XXIII
97
XXIV
100
XXV
104
XXXIV
144
XXXV
148
XXXVI
155
XXXVII
161
XXXIX
165
XL
171
XLI
183
XLII
192
XLIII
198
XLIV
199
XLV
201
XLVI
202
XLVII
205
XLVIII
208
XLIX
215
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About the author (2002)

SHERYL L. MEYERING is Professor of English at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville and associate editor of the literary journal Papers on Language and Literature. She is the editor of Charlotte Perkins Gilman: The Woman and Her Work (1989), Sylvia Plath: A Reference Guide (1990), and A Reader's Guide to the Short Stories of Willa Cather (1994). She has also written extensively on Nathaniel Hawthorne as well as on several 19th-century women writers.

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