Literary Precedents for O Pioneers!

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The title of Cather's novel quotes Walt Whitman's poem "O Pioneers!"

which speaks with confidence and praise of the conquerors of the American wilderness and all those who have led the human race in its evolutionary journey. In associating herself with Whitman, Cather declares that her book is not an isolated text but part of a shared endeavor by American writers to understand American history and culture. She also draws attention to more specific affinities between her book and Whitman's poetry. For example, on a thematic level, both suggest the oneness of all nature, where man, woman, and earth share the same spirit and a constant cycle of birth, death, and renewal. In terms of form, both are loosely structured and use a cyclic pattern.

O Pioneers! is dedicated to a female forerunner, Sarah Orne Jewett, who encouraged Cather to come to terms with her Nebraska material and...

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This section contains 205 words
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