A Landscape of Emotions
Being consumed by one’s surroundings results in an impressionable experience.
Taking a deep breath of fresh air, admiring a breathtaking view, and watching the sizzling
sunset evoke emotions. Willa Cather effectively evokes emotions in the reader, in order to
relate to the characters’ feelings, by providing vivid descriptions of the setting, as well as
through the reactions of Jim.
From the start of the novel to the very end, descriptions of the Jim’s environment
reflect his feelings. Jim, being sent away, comments:
I do not remember crossing the Missouri River, or anything
about the long day’s journey through Nebraska. Probably by
that time I had crossed so many rivers that I was dull to
them. The only thing very noticeable about Nebraska was
that it was still all day long, Nebraska. (Cather, 10)
Immediately, Jim’s detachment to his surroundings suggest his loneliness. The “dull”
sights and the “long” journey also imply that Jim has been through many hardships after
losing his parents. The absence of a home, in addition to his uncertainty, Jim continues to
ignore his environment.
There was nothing but land: not a country at all but the
material out of which countries are made... I had the feeling
that the world was left behind, that we had got over the
edge of it, and were outside man's jurisdiction. I had never
before looked up and at the sky when there was not a
familiar mountain ridge against it. (Cather, 12)
Jim begins to feel the absence of his parents, as well, as he is truly expressing that he feels
left behind by his...