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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: Drama
  • Word count: 3940

Willa Cather's Characterization Technique in Neighbor Rosicky

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Willa Cather's Characterization Technique in Neighbor Rosicky " Neighbor Rosicky ", written in 1928 and collected in the volume Obscure Destinies in 1932, is generally considered one of Willa Cather's most successful short stories. It is a character study of Anton Rosicky, a man who, facing the approach of death, reflects on the meaning and value of his life. In tracing Rosicky's journey from Bohemia to Nebraska,Cather explores the intimate relationship between people and the paces they inhabit. The story also celebrates the small triumphs of life. ( Wilson 1) The protagonist, Neighbor Rosicky is presented from the point of view of an observer, an omniscient narrator, who enters the consciousness of several different characters and sees the world from their point of view . Rosicky's person evokes sympathy of the reader and appreciation of human drama from Cather's part. She has a very careful way of drawing the character and exploits all the usual methods of characteriztion technique, through which she creates "a hero that can be examined from all sides, as a rare object in the middle of the table" (Seargent 139). Nevertheless, the essence of the character is given by the extremely deep psychology applied by Cather. As we can see while reading the story we are given a lot of information referring to the character of Rosicky: dialogs between characters, their actions, others' descriptions provide a clear picture how should we imagine Cather's hero. Dialogue is often used to display the interaction between the family members and friends. Through these we get the feeling of the endearing qualities of their family life. From the dialog between Anton and Dr. Burleigh, the family's doctor and very good friend, we learn that he has problems with his health and that he must be a well-known and liked person in his community. We are led further when we enter his warm and very lively family. ...read more.

Middle

It has been a hard life and a soft life, too. ... He was a city man, a gentle man, and though he married a rough farm girl, he had never touched her without gentleness. Although only Rosicky has got such detailed description from the author, we can have a glance on Polly, his precious daughter-in-law. Nothing important is revealed in connection of her character from her appearance, but all the more is from her relationship with the farmer and his family. But now have a look at her. "Polly was in a short- sleeved gingham dress, clearing away the supper dishes. She was a trim, slim little thing, with blue eyes and shingle yellow hair, and her eyebrows were reduced to a mere brush-stroke, like Miss Pearl's. Willa Cather creates characters who have a keen sense of history and wish to establish and understand familial and spiritual roots. She characterizes her protagonists through their relationship with each pther. These are the most telling things about a person ans she uses this natural truth as a very clever device. The author comments upon Mary's relationship with her animals and draws a parallel between their treatment and that of humans' around her. " To feed creatures was the natural expression of affection - her chickens, the calves, her big hungry boys. It was a rare pleasure to feed a young man (Dr. Ed) whom she seldom saw and whom she was as proud as if he belonged to her." Maybe it sounds primitive but it is very onest way of expressing her feelings. The physical well- being of her beloved is very important to her and the first sign of it is if they are well-fed. As I mentioned in the beginning the Rosicky family was popular. So it's not a surprise that they care of their neighbours. It clearly reflects from their concern of the pregnant wife on the near farm. ...read more.

Conclusion

He believes that his land that is owned by him and his family provides the freedom to pursue a true happy family life. This is why he wants so much for his boys to lead the same kind of life after hi death, too. One passage, which is near the beginning of the story, brings home the fact that Rosicky is very close to land. In this passage he discribes the graveyard as a nice, home-like place. He imagines himself laid out there right at the edge of his own hayfield overseeing the work of his ground for years to come. Second, the alfalfa fields were a link to his roots and this another thing that fulfills him, going back to his own roots. In a next passage he ''stopped by the windmill to look up at the frosty winter stars and draw a long breath before he went inside. That kitchen with the shining windows was dear to him: but the sleeping fields and bright stars and the noble darkness were dearer still." Once born from nature (the soil of the ground) man feels a deep connection with it, so he knows that soon he has to return to it. The same feels Rosicky and his returning is not an end but a new beginning, Cather shows that another kind of American dream was fulfilled in Rosicky's example. He became a spiritually wealthy person, his dream, that of having a beautiful family and a land of his own, had come true with hard work and honour. On the whole we can say that Cather's portrait of an immigrant farmer whose honesty, integrity and emotional depth help him to achieve a meaningful and happy life for himself and for his family. His significant virtues are that of a truly good person's and as such I consider this one of the most successful character studies. I also conclude that the splendidness Willa Cather's characterization technique lies in her ellicit approach of depicting a character's inner qualities in a very natural and lively way. ...read more.

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