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O Pioneers! - Historical Context

            The novel, O Pioneers!, by Willa Cather, conveys several ideologies about American society from the time frame it was written. Cather's characters, through the main character Alexandra, and everyone she interacts with is evident demonstrations of the type of historical context the novel entails. Through her novel, Cather can demonstrate challenges Americans faced during the late 1800s and the early 1900s, particularly in situations such as isolation and inevitable loneliness, and about gender roles. .
             Throughout the novel, Alexandra is continually abandoned through the death of her father, fleeing neighbors, Carl's departure, her brother's endeavors, and his eventual death. Alexandra states, "I have a feeling that if you go away, you will not come back. Something will happen to one of us, or to both. People have to snatch at happiness when they can, in this world. It is always easier to lose than to find. What I have been yours, if you care enough about me to take it". .
             Cather depicts the loneliness and isolation, along with the fear and uncertainty, early American settlers may experience when arriving at the plains, and also the fear of a changing, growing society. Cather also demonstrates the uncertainty settlers experience in the plains. Alexandra is not certain whether she would ever see Carl again, because of the amount of distance that will separate them. Before, it was possible for people to see each other once again because of the amount of short distances between them but as the country expanded, so did the boundaries and opportunities of the country. Alexandra is a person who needs people in her life to make life worthwhile; she may be uncertain the future of herself and her relationships, but she strives to compensate her isolation and loneliness through the land she lives in. .
             During the early 1900s, feminism and women's suffrage movement were creating protests to ensure equal rights for women.

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