An Analysis Of The Main Theme Presented Within Willa Cather’s Text A Wagner Matinee

1252 words - 6 pages

“I felt suddenly a stranger to all the present conditions of my existence, wholly ill at ease and out of place amid the surroundings of my study.” (Wagner, 654) When the United States is mentioned, there are a few places that immediately come to mind, places like Florida, Nevada, New York and California. There are a lot of places in the middle that often times tend to get left out, though the truth is that these places are the most important. Places like Nebraska and Wyoming are crucial pieces of the nation. Though these places are not necessarily the most popular, they are perhaps the most important. These states are like the common workers of the world, taking on tasks that no one else was willing to. These states are some of the most crucial pieces of the United States simply because they are full of people willing to do the work that all of the other far more glamorous states are not. This is something expertly depicted within Willa Cather’s text A Wagner Matinee, where Cather perfectly depicts just how much internal strength it takes to lead one of these lives. A Wagner Matinee by Willa Cather shows the everyday struggle of individuals living all over the Midwestern area of the United States.
Cather’s text clearly depicts the physical strains of daily life in Nebraska as opposed to life within more populated parts of the world. A Wagner Matinee gives just a small insight into the working life on a Nebraskan farm. Most individuals in the most popular parts of the world do not understand precisely how difficult it is to live a life that consists completely of physical labor. As the narrator describes what he remembers of his life on the form, he very distinctly recalls the physical pain he felt from working. “I became in short, the gangling farmer boy my aunt had known, scourged with chilblains and bashfulness, my hands cracked and raw from corn husking.” (Wagner, 654) Cather recognized the incredibly physical lives that farmers led. He knew that if every member of the farm was not contributing a fair amount of physical labor, the farm itself would not succeed, and the family would struggle through the entire winter. Families typically invested every dime that they had in the farm, and were often times in debt until they harvested their crop and were able to make the money to pay back those that they had borrowed money from in order to keep the farm running through harvest season. Without real physical labor, there was no farm, and that was something that Cather recognized as he vividly described the sore muscles and cracked hands of the young men and women that sacrificed their time on the hottest days of the year to ensure that their family would be able to make it another year.
A Wagner Matinee describes the actual living conditions of the early settlers in Nebraska, conditions that anywhere else would be considered absolutely ridiculous. Cather is noted as describing the living conditions in such a way that he felt the need to refer to...

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