A Wagner Matinee

by Willa Cather
Start Free Trial

When Clark was a boy, what subjects did he learn from Aunt Georgiana?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

When he was a boy, Aunt Georgina taught Clark the subjects of Latin, Literature (namely Shakespeare and mythology), and Music (specifically how to play the organ that her husband had bought for her).

The subject which Aunt Georgina seemed to care about the most was Music, which she encouraged Clark not to love too much, in case it was ever taken away from him. Clark tries to repay his Aunt Georgina for all of the lessons she taught him as a boy, by taking her to a concert.

Aunt Georgina also used to show Clark, when he was but a "gangling farmer-boy," how to milk cows on the farm, and she would talk to him about the opera, which she herself had loved in her youth.

Clark acknowledges that "most of the good that ever came (his) way" came his way because of Aunt Georgina and these subjects that she taught him as a boy.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Though somewhat embarrassed by his aunt's unprepossessing appearance when she arrives in Boston, Clark still harbors a considerable degree of gratitude and affection towards Georgiana. When Clark was a young boy growing up on the plains of Nebraska, Aunt Georgiana would help him with his Latin homework as he sat at the kitchen table. Though immensely rewarding, studying Latin can be a bit of a chore at times, especially when it comes to declension and conjugation. So Clark's tired head would often sink down over a page of irregular verbs, and Aunt Georgiana would come over and gently shake him back to life.

As well as Latin, Aunt Georgiana taught young Clark an appreciation for Shakespeare and ancient mythology. As a music teacher, she also instructed Clark in his scales and exercises on the little parlor organ. There she would sit with him, for hour after hour, darning away while Clark manfully tried to make progress in his music lessons.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team