Hardships In “O Pioneers!” Novel By Willa Cather Homework Essay Sample

One of America’s greatest writers, Willa Cather, showed her talent and gained a solid reputation by writing a novel, her first book in a series about the state of Nebraska. The story of the prairies, mastered by Swedish, Czech immigrants, along with the story of how these lands experienced them and how they changed them, and to some extent subjugated them.

The novel tells the story of the Bergson, a family of Swedish immigrants who settled in the countryside near the fictional city of Hanover in Nebraska, and the action takes place at the turn of the XIX-XX centuries. The main character, Alexandra Bergson, inherits a family farm when her father dies and devotes her life to making a farm a viable enterprise, while many other immigrant families surrender and leave the prairies. The novel also describes a romantic relationship between Alexandra and a family friend, Carl Linstroom, and between Alexandra’s brother, Emil, and married woman Marie Shabata. The main hardship of the story is the chaotic uncertainty of success because the family persisted even though neighbors were abandoning the location. In addition, the farm was undergoing severe problems, such as pigs dying.

Alexandra not only saved the farm, but she also solved the riddle of the prairie. She worked for the success of the farm, sowing not only corn and flax that the first settlers planted, but also wheat, and fashionable alfalfa, and succulent feed. Her affairs went better than others because Alexandra invested such a large share of her personality in her undertakings. Death did not stop the settlers’ lives, and the place of the lost fathers was taken by sons, and sometimes even daughters, as the heroine of the novel, Alexandra Bergson, who remained the head of the family at 16 and promised the dying father to save the farm.

Social Problems In Wilson’s “Fences” Play

In 1985, the American playwright and Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson published the play Fences. This work was published as part of the ten-part Pittsburgh Cycle, which recounts the complexities of African-American life in different decades of the twentieth century. Fences is a theatrical play that raises acute social problems based on the example of the life of the protagonist Troy Maxson. As a middle-aged black man, he lives with his family in Pittsburgh. His fate includes many comical and tragic moments associated with crime, raising sons, and finding his identity in the challenging years for an African-American. This essay is intended to analyze August Wilson’s play and highlight the social problems raised by the author in it.

An outstanding playwright would not give his play a meaningless title. Although the fence is not the main object of the story, its construction gradually plays the role of an indicator of the development of relations between members of the Maxson family (Mashaiekhy and Kian 2018). One of the most dramatic is the relationship between the head of the Maxson family and his sons.

The prehistory of the conflict is described as follows: during adolescence, black Troy was not allowed to play an important role in sports matches, and white people had an advantage over other races. This has left a mark on Troy’s mind in the form of constant thoughts about racism and the eternal struggle that African-Americans would have to lead to survive in this world. Troy, who has grown up with this consciousness, is no longer able to find common ground with his son Cory, who grows up in a different socio-political climate where there were no racial restrictions on the game in the high league (Wilson 1986). Cory, unlike his father, does not feel the oppression of another race.

The same relationship ties Troy to Lyons, son from his previous marriage. Having missed most of his child’s growing up because of imprisonment, Troy tries to radically protect his child from possible psychological trauma that he may experience in the adult world. After all, Troy’s lack of support and constant pressure leads to a fight between them, who subsequently leaves the house. The end of this conflict is considered to be Lyons’ reluctance to attend their father’s funeral.

Based on the difference in views between the father and his sons, there is a generational conflict in which the father perceives the optimism of children as naivety and blindness. It is the lack of trust in children and the impossibility of going beyond one’s own life experience to look at the changing world in a new way. The reader can look at the wider picture to understand that racism is at the heart of this conflict.

Besides, there are many other social issues explored by August Wilson on the pages of the play. One such conflict is the sexism of the protagonist towards his wife, Rose. Warm feelings for her husband come to naught when she discovers that Troy has a secret mistress. At that moment, the woman realizes that she has spent her energy on a man who betrayed her trust. The same relationship reflects the disrespect that a person can show for his partner in a burst of passion. Such a person betrays the trust of his or her partner, who is willing to give up a lot of energy and ambition for the sake of their relationship free of charge.

The themes raised by the playwright are familiar to many people. These include social problems such as racial discrimination, sexism, and domestic violence. People who have been subjected to social oppression have a good chance of developing mental health problems in the future. August Wilson consistently and thoroughly reveals the nature of human relationships, and these dramatic lines make the play Fences relevant to the present day.

Works Cited

Mashaiekhy, Masoumeh, and Kian Pishkar. “August Wilson’s Absurd Female Characters’ Spirituality in American African Society.” Journal of Applied Linguistics and Language Research, vol. 5 no. 3, 2018, pp. 287-299.

Wilson, August. Fences. New York: Penguin, 1986.

“Memphis” Musical Theatre Production

The musical “Memphis” is a story depicting a disc-jockey (DJ ) who preferred music that was associated with the African-Americans, and thus his vision was unpopular among other DJs or radio producers. The central theme of this plot and the idea for this story is based on the real-life story of a Memphis DJ. Hence, the events depict the racial discrimination that was reflected in the music preferences of the people and DJs in the 1950s, highlighting important issues that exist in society. This paper aims to discuss the musical “Memphis” and its production elements.

The original message of “Memphis” intended to convey the issues of race that affected even the music that was played on the radio and a white man named Hue, who likes blues and soul and was not afraid to show this. The atmosphere of the musical, the songs that were chosen by the creators, and the technical details embrace the original message since they help create a cohesive vision of the issues that Hue and Felicia face. The main character is the DJ who plays soul and blues music to a predominantly white audience, and the musical describes his life journey and a talented singer Felicia. The performance of the cast is remarkable, and their acting and singing grasp the language and emotions of their characters correctly.

The interaction of actors in Memphis reflects the relationships that the author wanted to convey, which is supported by the director’s use of stage blocking. The last detail helps the viewers appropriately connect to the actors. Next, costume design is an essential element that helps portray the atmosphere of the 1950s, and in the case of “Memphis,” it helped unify the technical aspects of production. The scenic design was impressive because it contained minimum details, although this was enough to portray the stories of Hue and Felicia and understand the context of the story. This includes the aesthetically pleasing props and stage light, which supported the overall sound quality of this production. The characters were dressed in regular clothes, typical for the era their characters lived in, such as suits and dresses.

Music is one of the critical elements that define the musical, and the story behind Memphis makes it obligatory to use blues and soul to depict the events correctly. In essence, the racial segregation that existed in the 1950s, although it was not as severe as before, was present, and the example of music that the author of the story uses is a great illustration. Hence, the songs help the audience understand the context of events better. The actors were great at singing the songs, with well-rehearsed performances and excellent onstage interactions.

The production had an overall feel of cohesiveness since the plot, the music, the costumes, decorations, and the whole production corresponded with the intended message of this work. Hence, one can argue that “Memphis” is a synergy of all theatrics and musical elements necessary to portray a good story. Moreover, this musical production creates an overall cohesive and aesthetic feel because the costumes and decorations support the atmosphere of the 1950s. Overall, it appears that the production team understood the original message intended for the story, and the actors and technical details incorporated in the production of “Memphis” help viewers get a cohesive understanding of the depicted era and its social issues.

Work Cited

Memphis the Musical. Directed by Don Roy King. Broadway Worldwide, 2011.

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