A Wagner Matinée. By WILLA SIBERT CATHER. I RECEIVED one morning a letter, written in pale ink, on glassy, blue-lined note-paper, and bearing the. In A Wagner Matinee by Willa Cather we have the theme of hardship, struggle, isolation, loss, gratitude and connection. Taken from her The. Regionalism and Local Color. A Wagner Matinee. Short Story by Willa Cather did you know? Willa Cather • had such a sharp memory for mannerisms.
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She would, he recalls, help him with Latin verb conjugations and listen to him read Shakespeare after she had tucked six children into bed. I asked her whether she had ever heard any of the Wagnerian operas, and found that she had not, though she was perfectly familiar with their respective matknee and had once possessed the piano score of “The Flying Dutchman.
Of all Cather’s early stories, perhaps it is in “A Wagner Matinee,” one of the seven stories in The Troll Gardenthat Cather most dramatically explores the plight of the sensitive and artistic person who finds himself in a restrictive if not oppressive environment. From the artist’s point of view, then, to be boosted by publicity is to make oneself vulnerable to a predator like Flavia—again, evidence of Cather’s concern for privacy.
A Wagner Matinee by Willa Cather
Her very first stories, “Peter” and “Lou, the Prophet,” drew on Nebraska materials, as did several others written during the s. Clark mentally enumerates the facts of Georgiana and Howard’s primitive existence and the tolls his aunt’s hard life has exacted on her appearance. In “A Death in the Desert” the artist is so utterly preoccupied with self that he uses his twin brother for errands and can be kind only when it costs little effort, and one gathers that his sponsoring of the career of his former pupil, now dying in the cultural desert of Wyoming, involved some element of … vampirism that drained her of her vitality.
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Short Story Analysis: A Wagner Matinee by Willa Cather – The Sitting Bee
Her skin was yellow as a Mongolian’s from constant exposure to a pitiless wind, and to the alkaline water, which transforms the most transparent cuticle into a sort of flexible leather.
Frontier homesteading has deprived Georgiana of many things—her vitality, her youth, and her ability to appreciate art and culture.
Clark is not simply guessing how taxing the work of maintaining a homestead is; he experienced it firsthand and was an eye witness. Images of Georgiana’s bleak homestead appear in Clark’s mind.
Clark wonders about her ability to comprehend themusic’s structure, yet we know that in the past she was a music instructor; it had been her job not only to understand the formal structure of such pieces of music but also to enable others to appreciate it as well.
When she does voice her thoughts, they seem to support Clark’s notions about the suffering she has endured as well as about her reluctance to return to frontier life.
For thirty years my aunt had not been farther than fifty miles from the homestead. Indeed, two other good accompanists in Troll Garden are male—only one of the many ways in which Cather undermines conventions of gender in these stories. Though the reader is also given some insight into the hardships and struggle that the narrator encountered.
Clark recalls her kindness to him when, as a boy, he visited Nebraska and she introduced him to Shakespeareclassical mythologyand the music she played on her small parlour organ. A naturalist, an outdoorsman, and an explorer, Roosevelt wrote books on the American frontier, outdoor life, and natural history.
The end of the story is also interesting as Cather appears to be exploring life versus art. They eloped and moved to a homestead in Nebraska. The style of “Peter” is, of course, rather heavy-handed by Cather’s later standards, but in this first story Cather not only anticipates the suicide of Mr.
A Wagner Matinee
University of Nebraska Press,p. I felt the knuckles of my thumb b, as though they were raw again. The life of the artist has unfitted her for any other. The reader learns from Clark’s recollections that Aunt Georgiana had fallen in love with a young man from the country, wed him, and followed him to the Nebraskan frontier.
No doubt accident was on occasion responsible for the omission of a story from the canon. The following year Cather included the story in her collection of short stories The Troll Garden.
Again we see Cather moving between genders, reluctant to be typecast by conventions. Clark recalls that his aunt’s duties included cooking breakfast at six o’clock in the morning and working until midnight, long after she had put six children to bed.
Nevertheless, she appears to ascertain enough matiinee the music wagber feel moved by it, for she weeps during much of the second half of the concert. He observes that the wind and alkaline water have yellowed her skin so that it is like that of a “Mongolian’s. In this short storyCather explores with stark realism the physically and emotionally damaging effects of pioneer life in rural Nebraska.
Her first novel, Alexander’s Bridgeappeared inand it was soon followed by the two highly acclaimed novels O Pioneers!
An ear bg music is a gift of nature which some people get at birth. Before she moved to Nebraska, she was a music teacher at Boston Conservatory.