O Pioneers

Breaking New Ground: Passion and Love in Willa Cather's O' Pioneers!

Pioneering, or the act of breaking new ground, is what has established the United States as the enormous international presence it is today. From ideals represented by manifest destiny, the Declaration of Independence, institutions such as Wellesley College, and the Second Amendment, the United States has created a home for pioneers such as Frederick Douglass, Amy Tan, and Ellen De Generes, to flourish and create life in areas of society that were previously dormant. Willa Cather gained fame writing about a group of pioneers who gave life to the Midwest in her prairie novels, including her novel, "O Pioneers!”; therefore it is no surprise she is revered as a pioneer herself. "When O Pioneers! was first published in 1913, reviewers praised Willa Cather for having created ‘a totally new kind of fiction’. Cather had mined ‘a new vein of material’, and ‘broken new ground’”, (Gelfant 1). Cather was a pioneer with her prairie novels in several ways. For example, she was the first to give immigrants heroic stature in serious American literature (Rosowski 45). And more surprisingly, the heroine of her novel is a woman. In "O Pioneers!”, the heroine, Alexandra Bergson is seen as the most capable child in her family and...

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