Neighbor Rosicky Essay

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In the following excerpt, originally presented at the Brigham Young University's Willa Cather Symposium in September 1988, Skaggs offers an interpretation of Cather's "Neighbour Rosicky" and praises Cather's "courage to affirm a new route to . . . the American dream of success."

In "Neighbour Rosicky," one of her best short fictions, Willa Cather characteristically manages to establish plot, character, and theme in the compact scope of her opening sentence. The sentence reads, "When Doctor Burleigh told neighbour Rosicky he had a bad heart, Rosicky protested." We learn here the story's central concern is a bad heart, that the heart belongs to a man named Rosicky whose neighborliness defines him, and that Rosicky protests the diagnosis, thereby providing an action for the narrative. The story, we are forewarned, will reveal how Rosicky prepares himself and others to cope with bad hearts, and to understand the nature of good ones. We spot in...

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This section contains 2,508 words
(approx. 7 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Neighbor Rosicky Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
Neighbor Rosicky from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.