Frank Shabata's Character Analysis

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How does one man go from a bright and dashing young man, to a drab lifeless one? Frank Shabata in O’ Pioneers! had this transformation, all because of two young people’s choices. Frank caught his wife, Marie, committing adultery in his orchard late at night with a young man Emil. He shot and killed them on the spot, then was sentenced and sent to the Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln. Willa Cather did not send Frank to the State Penitentiary merely because it was the closest prison, but for a reason with more significance. Frank committed a large scale crime, and was sent to a higher security prison. When Frank arrived, he learned the Penitentiary was unforgiving and broke spirits. “His lips were colorless, his fine teeth looked yellowish. He glanced at Alexandra sullenly, blinked as if he had come from a dark place, and one eyebrow twitched continuously” (Cather 103) Frank was portrayed as the antagonist in the entire book, except readers will sympathize for Frank …show more content…

It stripped men of their basic rights, and consumed the life out of them. Most criminals sent to the Penitentiary committed more serious crimes, therefore were dehumanized and treated like the animals that everyone thought they were (NebraskaHistory). Frank speaks about how he is forgetting to speak, the Penitentiary enforced constant silence at times, other were afraid to be abused if they spoke (Ancestry). Fear helped mold the predators into prey, as the criminals must have learned quickly what their conditions were like. The State Penitentiary was the only place in Nebraska that help executions, so the prisoners had more to fear than the abuse (death penalty). If the fear did not break down the prisoners, the intensity of a 15-hour work shift of hard labor would have (ancestry). Frank might have endured all of these consequences, all because he blindly acted and didn 't think anything through, just blindly acted out of

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