O Pioneers

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Willa Cather in her novel, O Pioneers, written in 1913 tells of the trials, joys and sorrows of a Swedish pioneer, Alexandra, of the 1800s. Ms. Cather writes of Alexandra's life as a young girl, trying to get by, and the as a grown woman, caring for her land. The story takes place in the plains of Nebraska where Alexandra and her family struggle to live. Through her writing, the author pulls the readers into the heart breaking story of these pioneers. By the actions of her characters Willa Cather shows determination, friendship, and love.As all great novelists, Willa Cather began somewhere; herself being born on December 7, 1873 in Back Creek Valley, Virginia. Willa spent most of her childhood there with her two younger brothers and younger sister ( Gerber xv). Cather and her family were able to live there with her grandparents raising sheep until the sheep barn burned down in 1883, forcing them to move (3). The pioneer family courageously moved west to Webster County, Nebraska until 1884 when they were able to move to Red Cloud, Nebraska, where Willa graduated from high school in 1896 (xv). A high school graduate, Cather entered the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, writing for the college's two magazines, The Lasso and The Heperian (11). First being discovered, Cather's writing for her college's magazines was soon printed in the Nebraska State Journal, marking the beginning of her famed career (11). Finishing college, Willa went on to be the editor for the Home Monthly in Pittsburgh. In 1901, Cather started her teaching career by teaching Latin and English at Central High School, later teaching only English at Allegheny High School in 1903 (xv). In 1912, herfirst major novel, Alexander's Brid…