Willa Cather: A True Pioneer Of Her Time

1870 words - 7 pages

Willa Cather: A True Pioneer of Her TimeWilla Cather was a great American author who helped influence the woman's suffrage movement through many of her writings. Her stories explain what life was like for women of her day and how a persons surroundings affect their entire life. So sit back and enjoy the life of "The True Pioneer" Willa Cather.On December 7, 1871 Willa Siebert Cather was born in Winchester, VA. When Cather was nine, her family moved to her grandfather's farm in the Nebraska frontier. Cather's mother had very poor health so Willa was left primarily alone. She spent most of her time riding horses and exploring the frontier. Cather did not go to school, but she read the Bible aloud to her grandmother. In 1884, Cather's family moved to Red Cloud Nebraska where she absorbed what was to become much of the material for her later fiction. Such as "O Pioneers!" and "My Antonia". Also, Red Cloud would become the background for all of her western towns in her novels. (Fogel, World Book)When Cather was 11 she finally began going to school. One of her older friends, William Ducker, tutored Cather in Latin and Greek when she was in her early teens. Also, Cather took piano from a professor Shindelmeisser who became a character in one of Cather's books. His character was Professor Wunsch in the book "The Song of the Lark." Cather, throughout her teens, became more and more of a tomboy even at one point cutting her hair as short as the boys in her school. But, when Willa was 16, she left Red Cloud for a Latin school in Lincoln Nebraska. One year later Cather entered the University of Nebraska. In 1893 she began a regular Sunday column in the Nebraska State Journal, which she called, "The Passing Show" which ran from 1893-1900. During this time she also wrote play reviews for the Journal and her comments were soon marked by "distinctiveness an style, as well as by trenchant and sometimes devastating criticism." (McFarland, 9), (McFarland 7-19)Cather graduated in 1895 and in 1896 she moved to Pittsburgh, working first at the "Home Monthly" magazine, then on the "Pittsburgh Daily Leader." She met Isabelle McClung and the two became best friends immediately. In 1901 Isabelle fixed up an attic sewing room as a study for Cather and invited her to live in the McClung house. Cather lived there for a couple of months but soon found a better job as a writer in Washington. She frequently visited the McClung's and soon moved back to Pittsburgh and became a teacher at Pittsburgh Central High School. (McFarland, 7-19) In the summer of 1902, McClung and Cather took a trip to Europe and in 1903, Cather's first book of poetry was published. The book as called "April Twighlights." Then, in 1905, Cather's first book of short stories is written called "the Troll Garden." (O'Brien, 1998)Willa left Pittsburgh again to join the McClure's Magazine in New York, becoming managing editor in 1909, which was a very high standing job for a woman in her day. Her first Novel,...

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