O Pioneers Willa Cather Analysis

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Among the three philosophies of life: Realism, Romanticism, and Naturalism, people tend to believe in one more strongly than others. After reading Willa Cather’s “O Pioneers!” and the poem she named the book after, “Pioneers! O Pioneers!”, I have come to the conclusion that she had more of a Romantic outlook. Some may say that because many of the events in her book were Naturalistic she had a Naturalistic outlook, and while I understand where this thought stems from, I have to disagree. Although there were many Naturalistic moments in the book, the core viewpoint of the story is Romanticism. After reading the poem that inspired Cather’s title I was convinced that she had a Romantic outlook. The ending is considered by many the most important…show more content…
Many events throughout the story were Naturalistic, like Marie and Emil’s deaths. However, since the title stemmed from the poem “Pioneers O Pioneers!” it’s safe to assume that it provided a lot of inspiration for her book. This poem is very Romantic and you can see lines that may have provided inspiration for the book. The line “O you youths, … full of action, full of manly pride and friendship,” could have inspired Marie and Emil and “We take up the eternal, and the burden and the lesson,” is what happened to Alexandra after her father’s death. In addition, the verse “O I mourn and yet exult, I am rapt with love for all,” describes Alexandra in that she faced so many difficult times and loss, but instead of becoming hard and bitter she found love in her heart for Carl and the land and even came to try to help Frank after he killed Emil. In addition, just because Naturalism appeared more often in the book, doesn’t mean that it Cather believed in it the most. Naturalism was common in writing at the time she wrote “O Pioneers!” and many of the biggest moments contained Romanticism. While I can see why people believe she leaned toward Naturalism, one has to look deeper than just what occurs the most

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