Symbolism In A Wagner Matinee

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Pioneer Life: Cather Portrays the Lives of Individuals Who Have Ventured Westward Willa Cather's A Wagner Matineé was first published in Everybody's Magazine in March 1904. The story is about what transpires after a young man named Clark receives news that his Aunt Georgiana Howard will be needing his company and assistance. Clark has mixed emotions about seeing her. She comes to Boston by train and is described as looking tired, frazzled, and worn. Clark has plans to take her to a Wagner program. They go after lunch and the concert ends with Aunt Georgiana in tears. She cries over her lost love of music and the overbearing responsibilities on her homestead in Nebraska. The longing for her old city life is clear, as the prairies have…show more content…
She shows how much of a negative impact it had made on Aunt Georgiana using imagery. She is always exhausted and has to look after her children. Cather admires the individuals who had enough strength to give up an old, comfortable, life for one that had uncertain outcomes. The use of symbolism is primal as well in A Wagner's Matinee. Aunt Georgiana symbolizes pioneer life, while Clark symbolizes city life. Throughout the story, Clark has many flashbacks about when he was a boy and he was living with his aunt. He remembers how she had gushed about one of the concerts she went to in Paris, so her took them to the symphony. Clark is caring and thoughtful, but his harsh judgment of Aunt Georgiana when he first saw her shows how he has been influenced by the mostly well off city life. For all of his love for his aunt, Clark's initial judgments about her are often cruel, governed by the social snobbery he has adopted as the price of mobility in the milieu he now inhabits. (SW) There are many themes in A Wagner Matineé. Some are underlying. Cather shows depth and universality (Kellman . The main theme is regret. Most people who moved westward regretted it because the quality of life wasn't as good. Characters such as Aunt Georgiana miss their old lives. Cather also shows sympathy for women who have chosen love over art through her theme of the basic incompatibility of art and marriage (SW). When Clark makes his last appeal to Aunt Georgiana to stay with him, she asks him: "Have you ever loved anyone, Clark?" He fumbles with his response: "I've, um ... had
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