Willa Cather Long Fiction Analysis - Essay

Willa Cather Long Fiction Analysis

(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

Willa Cather once said in an interview that the Nebraska landscape was “the happiness and the curse” of her life. That statement reveals the ambivalence in Cather that produced in her a lifelong tug-of-war between the East and the western prairie. That ambivalence is the central tension in her novels. As long as her parents were alive, she made repeated trips back home to see them, and each time she crossed the Missouri River, she said, “the very smell of the soil tore [her] to pieces.” As a young woman in Red Cloud and Lincoln, however, she was chafed by narrow attitudes and limited opportunities. She knew that she had to leave the prairie in order to fulfill her compelling desire for broader experiences and for art. Like...

(The entire section is 4025 words.)