Sunday, October 14, 2012

Book Review of #2 The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather

Name of Book: The Song of the Lark

Author: Willa Cather

ISBN: 0-395-34530-8

Publisher: Mariner Books

Type of book: Singing, art, Colorado Moonstone, New York, fame, past, nature, 1880s?-1909, training, sacrifice, second generation, talent, people, isolation, loneliness

Year it was published: 1915

Summary:

In this celebrated story of a young woman's awakening as an artist, Thea Kronborg struggles to escape the confines of her small Colorado town without losing the strength and courage she derives from her pioneering heritage.

Characters:

The book completely centers on Thea, the same as characters who talk about Thea all the time. Yet despite all that, Thea remains very mysterious and is best described as pragmatic, dedicated and somewhat selfish. She is also kind of stunted when it comes to having relationships or how to relate to people outside of music, or to even recognize their foibles and talents. There are other characters such as Dr. Archie, the music teachers such as Harsanayi and Wunsch and her "lover" Fred Ottenburg. Most of the story comes from their points of views; what they think or hope for and whatnot. Unlike in almost all the stories, there is barely any love or romance. Thea admits that she doesn't know how such emotion feels.

Theme:

In order to become great, sacrifice everything.

Plot:

This is in third person narrative from what seems to be everyone's point of view. I felt that there are certain questions this book doesn't answer. The book is a travelogue and there's barely any plot. Thea becomes famous without a lot of problems, although she does have to sacrifice a lot. The plot tends to fall into the unbelievable part, but I did enjoy reading about how Thea lived as well as trained to become famous and great, and the sacrifices she felt she had to make.

Author Information:

Willa Seibert Cather (December 7, 1873[1] – April 24, 1947) was an American author who achieved recognition for her novels of frontier life on the Great Plains, in works such as O Pioneers!, My √Āntonia, and The Song of the Lark. In 1923 she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for One of Ours (1922), a novel set during World War I. Cather grew up in Nebraska and graduated from the University of Nebraska; she lived and worked in Pittsburgh for ten years; at age 33 she moved to New York for the rest of her adult life and writing career.(from wikipedia)

Opinion:

I'm beginning to think there is difficulty in trying to summarize these novels, or to get people to read them on their own. The summary barely matched what I read: in fact this will be my own summary; Thea aspires to be a singer and due to some people she finally achieves her dreams at the cost of friendships and being normal or regular. The way to enjoy Willa Cather is to remember that this is a travelogue and there isn't much of a plot, and if there is a plot, it tends to be predictable and almost impossible to believe. (What Thea set out to do, she does with almost no failure.) In here there is a great deal of focus on Thea's training as well as her voice and how different she is from everyone. The message, in my opinion, matches that of extremely dedicated christians: don't have any worldly ties but work for spirituality or for faith. The novel doesn't leave the reader with any clear cut answers at the end and I have a difficult time believing that Thea is sorry that she missed certain things due to her craft. (She never even liked her family, or felt close to them.) I also think that most feminists might enjoy hte book because this is about a woman attempting to get a career instead of having children or a family. And it's not even a romance or a love story.

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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