A Lost Lady, by Willa Cather, is about a woman named Mrs. Forrester and how a young man by the name of Niel, viewed her throughout his life. The most obvious theme throughout this book is that both Mrs. Forrester and Niel are lost, but when you really read into the book, there is much more to it than what you see at the first glance. In the beginning of the novella, there is a woodpecker that Ivy Peters shot down and slit its eyes. After its eyes were slit, Willa Cather describes,.
"The woodpecker rose in the air with a whirling, corkscrew motion, darted to the right, struck a tree-trunk,-to the left, and struck another. Up and down, backward and forward among the tangle of branches it flew, raking its feathers, falling and recovering itself" (17).
The bird seems lost, just as Mrs. Forrester does through out the novel. In a way, Mrs. Forrester is the bird. Niel tries to save the bird and he tries to save Mrs. Forrester, Ivy shoots the bird down and lets it fly lost, just as he shoots down Mrs. Forrester, and Mrs. Forrester falls and recovers and runs into trees just as the bird does.
At the beginning of the novel, Niel sees Mrs. Forrester as a kind, gentle, and loving adult. Not having any parents, Niel looks up to Mrs. Forrester as if she were his mom.
"It was Captain Forrester's wife that most interested Niel, and it was in her relation to her husband that he most admired her. Given her other charming attributes, her comprehension of a man like the railroad-builder, her loyalty to him, stamped her more than anything else. That, he felt, was quality" (65). .
The way Niel feels about Mrs. Forrester in the beginning, is a lot like the way he feels about the bird. When Niel first sees the woodpecker in the tree, he feels that it is not doing any harm and is a kind and gentle creature. Later, he feels sorry for the bird. When Niel grows older, Mrs. Forrester starts to change and she has an affair with Frank.