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Women & the Environment in Cather's Work The Story of Woman and the Story of H

One of Cather's major interests is the long, slow story of various human societies working to create a stable human life in a beautiful, harsh, unwelcoming physical environment, and the role of women in that process. Cather examines the place that women find for themselves as they participate in these struggles, which result in the making of their cultures. Their place in the history of the struggle that Cather concerns herself with in her novels is manifold, a function of their individual wants, capabilities, and needs as well as of social and cultural norms that affect (or govern) their lives. In stories that describe with bleak simplicity the harsh world shared by many human types and cultures, she shows an America emerging from rude beginnings and progressing, now certainly and now haphazardly, toward a compromise between the power of nature and the assertions of (sometimes smallminded) social norms and the higher aims of civilization, and between history and modernity. There are the Indian cultures of the American Southwest in novels as diverse as The Professor's House, The Song of the Lark, A Lost Lady, and Death Comes for the Archbishop, the diverse cultures of American immigrants as inflected by nature and circumstance in O Pioneers, The Song of the Lark, and My Antonia, the European culture that appears in the music Thea Kronborg learns as operatic repertoire in The Song of the Lark. Taking a jaundiced view of the narrowmindedness of society which frequently passes for civilization while retaining a respect for both the claims of individual needs and wants in the midst of normative society and the highest of civilized aims, Cather presents a comprehensive range of human experience. In particular, she shows how women find their place in this scheme of human activity.

Thus, in Sapphira and the Slave Girl, Sapphira Colbert plays a role in enslaving black people, to the extent she internalizes

the values of the...

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Women & the Environment in Cather's Work The Story of Woman and the Story of H. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 10:37, August 08, 2020, from