Teacher Guide

O Pioneers Lesson Plan

Introduction to O Pioneers

Willa Cather's O Pioneers! was published in 1913. It is a work of historical fiction, taking place in the plains of Nebraska in the years following the Civil War. It is stark, sparse, harsh, resilient, and wildly alive, just like its characters and the land on which they live.

The title of the book comes from Walt Whitman's "Pioneers! O Pioneers!", a poem celebrating the American migration westward. Though the American West loomed large in writers' and other artists' imaginations all around the world (just three years before Cather's novel was published, the great Italian opera composer Giacomo Puccini premiered his "La fanciulla del West" or "The Girl of the West" about a Wild West...

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