Shadows on the Rock Questions and Answers
by Willa Cather

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What is the theme of Shadows on the Rock by Willa Cather?

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Willa Cather is best known for her novels set in the rather wild prairie lands of the Midwest in the nineteenth century; in Shadow of the Rocks she unexpectedly takes her readers to the even wilder and more isolated French province of Quebec in 1697 (inspired by her trip there in 1918). Though it is set in the distant past, this novel contains the relatively modern literary themes of loss and despair, isolation and annihilation.

Twelve-year-old Cecile Auclair is a young girl who has already suffered loss, as her mother died several years earlier. She and her father have come from France; he is the governor's chief advisor and the apothecary for the town. Other devastating physical losses occur in the story, including the death of the Count (the governor) who is probably the Auclairs only hope of ever returning to their native France, a place they miss so much. Despite the fact that they have made their home a sanctuary and a place of peace, they will now have to stay in this place which...

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