Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 10 : 3 March 2010
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         K. Karunakaran, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.



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Willa Cather's Portrayal of the Pioneer Virtues in Alexandra Bergson with Reference to O Pioneers!

S. Latha Venkateswari, M.A., M.Ed., M.Phil., Ph.D.

America is at heart a frontier nation, newly born, created out of wilderness. Its character and spirit can be traced back to and accounted for, by its frontier origins. - Mary Panicia Carden.

Early Settlers

Early in the 19th Century, people in large numbers migrated to the U.S. due to poor working and economic conditions in Europe and elsewhere. These first settlers faced innumerable difficulties as they had to start their life from the scratch. Yet, the possession of the pioneer qualities such as adaptability, adjustability and survivability made them contribute "to the building of a nation by providing a constant source of inexpensive labour, by settling in rural regions and industrial cities" (Fonner 33).

Sufferings of Immigrants

Being an immigrant, Willa Cather, an early 20th Century American novelist, centers her writings on the sufferings of the immigrant population and the transplanted Americans living on the prairies of Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado. In her early novel O Pioneers! Cather extols the pioneer virtues of the central character Alexandra Bergson to show how an immigrant woman achieves a unique status in her adopted land where other farmers failed in their attempts and returned to their native places. This paper analyses the pioneer virtues that were considered essential for setting up a new life at the frontier in a historical perspective.

Homestead Act

1862, the U.S. Congress in America passed the historical Homestead Act that promised the family head with 160 acres of land on condition that they should build a home, improve the barren land and do farming for five years. In turn, they were charged $18 dollars. Hence, between 1865 and 1880, nearly one fifth of the first generation Czeck farmers of European origin and the Bohemians migrated to the U.S.

Along with this, the opening of the railway line farther into Nebraska territory in 1865 lured the Eastern people to the U.S. Thus, people settled more in Kansas and Nebraska. However, life was not easy for them as the grasshoppers invaded the area and destroyed much of the crops between 1874 and 1877.

As a result, the frontiers experienced drought, bad credit policies and fall in the prices of agricultural products that forced them to leave their farms and return to the East. Cather uses this historical background in O Pioneers! to explain the struggle of the pioneers in building new lives in a hostile and unfamiliar atmosphere.

This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

The Linguistics of Newspaper Advertising in Nigeria | Women in Advertisements | Case-Assignment Under Government in Modern Literary Arabic | Teaching English as a Foreign Language to Very Young Learners: A Case from Turkey | Association of Self Fashioning and Circumstances in Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assassin | A Moral Lesson, Amoral Lesion - Sharon Pollock's The Komagata Maru Incident | Pariksha: Test by Prem Chand | Treatment of City in Nayantara Sahgal's Storm in Chandigarh | Phrasal Stress in Telugu | Stress Among ELT Teachers: A Study of Performance Evaluation from a Private Secondary School in Haryana | Willa Cather’s Portrayal of the Pioneer Virtues in Alexandra Bergson with Reference to O Pioneers! | Man-Woman Relationship in Nayantara Sahgal's Mistaken Identity | Classroom Management and Quality Control - An Action Research | Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha - A Dualist Spiritual Journey | Impact of Dramatics on Composition Skills of Secondary School English Language Learners in Pakistan | Narrative Technique, Language and Style in R. K. Narayan's Works | Diasporic Crisis of Dual Identity in Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake | To Teach or Not to Teach Grammar isn't the Question Any Longer - A Case for Consciousness-Raising Tasks | Cognitive Flexibility in Children with Learning Disability | Coda Deletion in Yemeni Tihami Dialect (YTD)- Autosegmental Analysis | The Enigmatic Maya in Anita Desai's
Cry, The Peacock
| Developing an English Curriculum for a Premedical Program | The Ties of Kinship in Rohinton Mistry's Novels | Indian English: A Linguistic Reality | The Unpredictability of the Sonority of English Words | Women's Representation in Polity: A Need to Enhance Their Participation | Nandhini Oza's Concern for the Tribal Welfare in "The Dam Shall Not Be Built" | A PRINT VERSION OF ALL THE PAPERS OF MARCH 2010 ISSUE IN BOOK FORMAT | HOME PAGE of March 2010 Issue | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR

S. Latha Venkateswari, M.A., M.Ed., M.Phil., Ph.D.
Department of English
Govt. College of Technology
Coimbatore - 641013
Tamilnadu, India

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