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O Pioneers! (Oxford World's Classics) by…
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O Pioneers! (Oxford World's Classics) (original 1913; edition 2008)

by Willa Cather, Marilee Lindemann (Editor)

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4,1791061,198 (3.88)390
Member:sjmccreary
Title:O Pioneers! (Oxford World's Classics)
Authors:Willa Cather
Other authors:Marilee Lindemann (Editor)
Info:Oxford University Press, USA (2008), Paperback, 224 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:fiction, historical, classic, Nebraska, farmers, pioneers, 19th C, 999 challenge

Work details

O Pioneers! by Willa Cather (1913)

  1. 21
    The Diary of Mattie Spenser by Sandra Dallas (clif_hiker)
    clif_hiker: pioneer women facing hardship making a home and a life on the prairie...
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English (104)  Spanish (2)  All (106)
Showing 1-5 of 104 (next | show all)
Meh, Cather. I read My Antonia sometime in my teens and didn't care for it. Read O! Pioneers in masters degree school and didn't care for it. And I still don't care for it. The descriptions of the land are pretty amazing, and I like some of the characters okay, but for the most part I'm just not gripped or intrigued or fascinated or angered or annoyed or anything really until the end, when Frank shoots his wife, Marie, and Emil and Alexandra is all "well, you know, it's more their fault than yours, Frank, because, you know, carrying on and doing the what-not." Aside from my general "sorry, can't" re: "it's okay to murder your wife and her lover because adultery," Alexandra's reaction to it given her otherwise quite (proto-) feminist attitudes about everything else make me all verhoodled in my brainmeats. This is one of those books I feel is far more important to literature than it ever will be entertaining, enlightening, or appealing to me. ( )
  lycomayflower | Apr 5, 2017 |
This book was written in 1913, but it is set in 19th century Nebraska. At that time, a large number of immigrants had made their way to the United States and they came because they knew that land was being offered for free to settlers. This particular settlement is Hanover, Nebraska, and the book is about the Bergstrom family who were immigrants from Sweden. Hard work is definitely not foreign to these people and Alexandra and her family (mother, father, three brothers, and Alexandra herself), Alexandra's father is taken from the family at a fairly young age, but he leaves a sizeable homestead and a house for his family, and he entrusts his daughter to look after it all. He recognizes that she is the most capable of the lot. Alexandra faces this challenge head-on, and she increases her landholdings, and ensures that her family are much better off than when she began. She does this at great sacrifice to her own personal life. This is a story about the strength of the human race; about love and loss; and about great tragedy. It's a wonderful and realistic portrayal of colonial life in the untamed American prairie. I highly recommend this book. ( )
  Romonko | Jan 5, 2017 |
Alexandra is incredible. She was strong, and suffered at the hands of all of her brothers. The story was beautiful, even in it's sadness. The writing was poetic and kept me reading.

I loved the ending. The scene where Alexandra realizes it was Jesus who she had been dreaming about for much of her life. I loved it. I was still happy when Carl came back and they agreed to get married, but I also liked the idea of Alexandra becoming a nun (it was implied that was what she was considering this.)

The one thing that I didn't like was the victim blaming. Frank Shabata hurt his wife, not physically, but emotionally, for years and years. It was wrong of her and Emil to commit adultry, but two wrongs make more wrong, and I didn't like that first Frank, and then Alexandra essentially blamed Emil and Marie for Frank's murdering them. Besides the fact that this action was a mortal sin for Frank, it also prevented the two of them from repenting their own. Whether he had a temper or not, Frank should not have kept saying that it was her fault for letting him catch them. It was his fault for letting himself become bitter and suspicious. It was his fault for trying to make Marie as bitter as he. It was his fault for taking the gun with him to the orchard when he did not truly think that there were any intruders. And it was his fault for raising the gun to his shoulder and firing. The murder may not have been premeditated, but it was murder none the less. Ivar believes that the Emil and Marie are in Hell for their actions. I don't know whether they are (or whether non-fictional people in their place would be,) but they didn't deserve to die so quickly and without the chance to ask for God's forgiveness.

So, basically I really enjoyed the book, but I didn't like the fact that Marie and Emil were blamed for their own murders. They were to blame for the sins they committed, yes, but not for the sins Frank committed. I do think I will be reading more Willa Cather in the future. ( )
  NicoleSch | Dec 24, 2016 |
I feel obligated to say that it wasn't by any means due to the writing, references, or classic applicability of this book that it got a two star rating (I'm calling it a 2.5). It is simply because, although interesting, it was hard pressed to keep my attention for long periods of time. I would still recommend it if you are interested in early colonial mid-west historical fiction! ( )
  Scerakor | Dec 20, 2016 |
H-o-l-y s-h-i-t.

Willa Cather was the real deal.

  moonlight_reads | Dec 11, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 104 (next | show all)
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...
 

» Add other authors (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Willa Catherprimary authorall editionscalculated
Byatt, A. S.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lindemann, MarileeEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Perrin, NoelAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weakley, MarkIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
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.
Dedication
To the memory of
Sarah Orne Jewett
in whose beautiful and delicate work
there is the perfection
that endures
First words
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.
Quotations
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!
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Alexandra is the eldest child of the Bergsons, a ship-building family from Norway who have come to the American Midwest to wrest their living from another kind of frontier. Alexandra is driven by two great forces:her fierce protective love for her young brother Emil, and her deep love of the land. When her father dies, worn out by disease and debt, it is she who becomes head of the family and begins the long, hard process of taming the country, forcing it to yield wheat and corn where only the grass and wildflowers had grown since time began. Through the life, hopes, successes - and failures - of this magnificent woman we learn the story of all the immigrants who came to carve out new homes for themselves, who struggled against ignorance, drought, storm, poverty and came to love and understand the earth until it rewarded them with richness beyond measure.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679743626, Paperback)

One of America’s greatest women writers, Willa Cather established her talent and her reputation with this extraordinary novel—the first of her books set on the Nebraska frontier. A tale of the prairie land encountered by America’s Swedish, Czech, Bohemian, and French immigrants, as well as a story of how the land challenged them, changed them, and, in some cases, defeated them, Cather’s novel is a uniquely American epic.

Alexandra Bergson, a young Swedish immigrant girl who inherits her father’s farm and must transform it from raw prairie into a prosperous enterprise, is the first of Cather’s great heroines—all of them women of strong will and an even stronger desire to overcome adversity and succeed. But the wild land itself is an equally important character in Cather’s books, and her descriptions of it are so evocative, lush, and moving that they provoked writer Rebecca West to say of her: “The most sensuous of writers, Willa Cather builds her imagined world almost as solidly as our five senses build the universe around us.”

Willa Cather, perhaps more than any other American writer, was able to re-create the real drama of the pioneers, capturing for later generations a time, a place, and a spirit that has become part of our national heritage.


From the Paperback edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:00:32 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Swedish farmer John Bergson's daughter Alexandra encourages the family members to help keep his dream alive after his death.

(summary from another edition)

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