O Pioneers Author:Willa Cather In this, the author's second published work, the author writes about that which she knew best, early pioneer life in Nebraska, the place to which she and her family moved in 1883 when she was a mere slip of a girl. She eventually attended the University of Nebraska, graduating in 1895, at a time when most girls did no such thing. — In this work, ... more »the author was on very sure footing. Her clear, straightforward prose lends itself capably to the story of early pioneers who went to Nebraska and set down roots, weathering the exigencies that often plagued a newcomer to a particular region. It is a surprisingly unsentimental look at pioneer life.
This thematically complex, but simply written story focuses primarily on Alexandra Bergson, the intelligent, independent, resourceful, and strong-willed daughter of pioneer John Bergson. Upon his death he did what was then the nearly unthinkable. He left his land in the hands of his oldest child, his daughter, Alexandra, rather than in those of his sons, recognizing in his daughter those qualities that would ensure that his land would prosper under her stewardship.
This then is the story of not only Alexandra but of that land and those whose sustenance depended upon its fruitfulness. The reader follows the Bergson clan as they live their lives and interact with their neighbors. Under Alexandra's skillful management, the Bergson farm prospers. As the farm prospers, so does its environs, as the area becomes a bustling center of activity with more and more settlers developing the land around that of the Bergsons.
Thematically, the book explores the vicissitudes of life, as well as its life-affirming moments. As in all lives, the characters in this book experience moments of high drama and great tragedy, as well as memorable moments of love and hate. All this is grounded within the context of pioneer life, with all its hardships and privations, as well as its occasional abundance. The author skillfully re-creates a melting pot of the many nationalities that cultivated the land known as Nebraska.
This is a book that those who like reading about pioneer life will certainly enjoy, as will those who simply like a well-written book with a tale to tell. This classic novel was also adapted for a Hallmark Hall of Fame film, starring Jessica Lange in the role of Alexandra Bergson.« less