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Willa Cather Explored Essay

1199 words - 5 pages

Soon you will understand Willa Cather’s life influences that motivated her to write in the Regionalism and Realism Movements of American literature in the post-Civil War years. Many opinionated critics expressed their thoughts about her successes and failures that influenced others. Cather wrote about her opinions in short stories, such as “A Wagner Matinée”. Determining the subject of her works and making her a unique individual, Cather’s life greatly influenced her writings.
Living in America in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, Cather possessed many influences in life that impacted her motivation. When Cather was nine years old, her family left Virginia and went to Nebraska. In the beginning, the move was difficult, and Cather yearned for home, but soon she began to like her new home. Cather’s family move to the American frontier influenced her life and motivated her to write about the prairie region. Local women helped in Cather’s house on the farm and often told stories, which influenced Cather’s Sapphira and the Slave Girl (Litz 2). Enriching her imagination, friendly immigrants in Red Cloud, Nebraska, sparked Cather’s interest in other cultures. Cather attended school, participated in theater, learned Greek and Latin, apprenticed to a doctor, and studied many European works. Although she loved her teachers, Cather felt that the town constricted her (3). Living in Pennsylvania, New York, and Europe, Cather also had interest in the Southwest (Willa Sibert Cather 1). She was fond of old literature and French Symbolism. Dressing like a man, Cather often called herself William, MD (Willa Cather 26). As a magazine editor, Cather helped other writers until Jewett, a writer, advised Cather to quit and write herself (Litz 6). Cather’s friend, Isabel McClung, influenced the musical aspect in Cather’s “A Wagner Matinée” (Chin 530). Admiring Henry James, a Realist, Cather had diverse life influences that motivated her (Litz 1).
Cather had several successes and failures in her career that impacted American literature and critics’s opinions. Apprenticing for twenty years, Cather wrote reviews for magazines and newspapers and practiced journalism (Litz 1). Intelligent Cather graduated from the University of Nebraska (Willa Cather 26). She wrote reviews for the Nebraska Journal, edited and taught in Pennsylvania, and edited McClure’s in New York (Skiba 539). In 1923, Cather won a Pulitzer Prize for One of Ours. Her most successful works included O Pioneers, My Antonia, and Death Comes for the Archbishop (Miller 47). Along with being pictured on a stamp, Cather received honors in the Nebraska Hall of Fame, the New York State Writers Hall of Fame, and an American Masters episode (Willa Sibert Cather 1). Unsuccessful with short stories, Cather’s attitude toward social aspects was old- fashioned. In the United States during her time, she was prejudice about writers, including Sherwood Anderson and Ezra Pound (Bloom 1-2). Critics questioned Cather’s...

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