I am an international student and my background in American literature and culture is flimsy, besides the language barrier. I am looking for an interesting and manageable topic for my research on Cather's A Lost Lady. It has to be specific and original. Please help me.
One topic that you can approach with regard to Willa Cather's A Lost Lady and research is on the style of Willa Cather.
A Lost Lady is the first of Cather's works that exhibits a sparse fictional style that avoids any "furnishings" to a scene. One such scene noted as being without excessive description is that in which the infatuated Niel discovers that Mrs. Forrester is not as she has seemed to him. One scene that exemplifies this style is that in which the infatuated Neil brings red roses to place on Marian Forrester's window sill so that she will see this pledge of Neil's love when she opens her curtains in the morning. However, when Neil overhears the "impatient, indulgent, teasing, eager" voice of the object of his worship along with the yawning voice of a man; disillusioned, Neil hurls the roses on the ground where they can be trampled by the Forrester's cattle, an act symbolic in meaning to his crushed love.
Another aspect of this style is how the emotion behind the narrative is unexpressed; yet, there are suggestions that haunt the reader.
In Chapter Six of Part II:
Mrs. Forrester whispers to Niel when he is the first to visit after a heavy snow,
Come....Mr. Forrester is asleep
"Let's run down the hill, there's no one to stop us. I'll slip on my rubber boots. No objections!" She put her fingers on his lips. "Not a word! I can't stand this house a moment longer."
- literary regionalism
Another style exhibited in Cather's writing “literary regionalism”. Mark Twain certainly utilized this style, but it originally credited Sir Walter Scott who examined “defeated cultures” which led to creating “the myth of the lost culture.” Many an author has written about times and its mores that have become neglected or values that become lost. In A Lost Lady the Old World culture of honor and reputation is defeated by the Great Depression which brings on debt to Mr. Forrester. After he loses his fortune because the honorable Forrester pays his debts, he has lost his fortune. Marian Forrester represents the New World of amorality. When, for instance, she rides on the sleigh into the woods and engages in lovemaking with Ellinger, and when they return to the sleigh, he asks her if he should go ahead and cut the evergreens; Marian shrugs and replies, "I don't care," exhibiting the amorality of the coming era.