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O Pioneers Characters

by Willa Cather

Character List

Emil

A little boy of about five years old when the novel begins, Emil is of Swedish descent, and lives with his family in Hanover, Nebraska.

Alexandra

Emil's sister, tall and strong, her appearance does not reveal the tremendous hardships they suffer under. Her hair, reddish-blond curls, is very beautiful.

Carl

Carl Linstrum is an older boy, a relatively close neighbor of Alexandra's family. He is artistic, generous and kind, though not very well spoken.

Marie Tovesky

A little bohemian girl about Emil's age, she is the beloved niece of Joe Tovesky and has come from the city with her mother to visit him.

Joe Tovesky

A Bohemian man who lives in the area, he has many sons but no daughters and dotes on his niece Marie.

Lou

One of Alexandra and Emil's brothers

Oscar

One of Emil and Alexandra's brothers.

John Bergson

Father of Alexandra, Emil, Lou and Oscar, John Bergson is very ill and he doesn't know how his family will survive if he dies. The son of a shipbuilder whose mother had died young and whose step-mother had squandered their fortune, John had come west eleven years before and now has little but land to show for it.

Ivar

An older Norwegian man, Ivar goes barefoot and does his best to protect and care for animals, especially horses, cows and birds. Some people, like Alexandra, think him very wise about nature, but many also think him strange and possibly even dangerous.

Charley Fuller

One of the richest men in the area, Charley Fuller made a lot of money in real estate, and during the period of drought he attempts to buy up as much of the Divide as possible.

Mrs. Bergson

John Bergon's wife, Mrs. Bergson misses her childhood home very much and does her best to replicate it on the frontier. Many of her neighbors think her stuck-up, because she goes to such lengths to live a civilized life in the wilderness.

Signa

The youngest of the three Swedish girls who work for Alexandra.

Nelse Jensen

One of the men who work for Alexandra, Nelse may or may not be courting Signa.

Frank

Frank Shabatas, Marie's husband.

Amedee

Emil's best friend since childhood, a very talented pitcher, Amedee marries Angelique.

Angelique

Amedee's new bride

Mrs. Hiller

A woman whose farm adjoins the Shabatas', her pigs sometimes escape into their fields, because she has only a lame son to help her.

Louis

Mrs. Hiller's son

Jan Smirka

A hired boy who worked at the Shabata's for one year. Frank fired him, because he was jealous of Marie's kindness to him, but Marie hoped that Signa and Smirka would be married.

Raoul Marcel

A friend of Emil's, Raoul is a very talented singer.

Father Duchesne

The young priest of the French Church.

Mr. Schwartz

The prison warden, Mr. Schwartz is German and used to be a harness maker.

Bertie

A prisoner at the penitentiary.

Barney Flinn

One of Alexandra's workmen, an Irishman, Flinn functions as Alexandra's foreman, though he has no such title.

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