In the novel O Pioneers! By Willa Cather, Alexandra Bergson and Marie Shabata have very different lives. Alexandra is a hard working woman of the land, and is more masculine than most women. She has to serve as a caretaker for many plots of land, as her father died when she was young, and put her in charge. Marie is a childish woman, who really only has to care somewhat for her husband, Frank, and an orchard and garden. She is more feminine, as she doesn’t need as much care in the world as Alexandra.
While Marie and Alexandra are both very different, Alexandra being more masculine and more serious or oblivious to love, and Marie being more feminine, and striving for love, they both have slight similarities. In the beginning, Alexandra and Marie differ greatly, but mostly just in looks and actions. Alexandra is very serious about life, it seems, and it appears she does not want people to notice her, as a clothing drummer compliments her hair, and, “She stabbed him with a glance of Amazonian fierceness. (6) She definitely has a problem with being acknowledged by people, whether it is because she is serious, or just does not want to attract attention.
A better look at Alexandra’s actions reveals that, “she walked rapidly and resolutely, as if she knew exactly where she was going and what she was going to do next. ”(4) This shows that she is very confident about what she is doing, and that she is most likely straight to the point. Marie in the beginning of the story is very playful. Her uncle’s friends all give her some candy and she says, “I want to give some of my candy to that nice little boy I found. (8). Here you can see that Marie is very playful, and is very quick to make new friends. She has met Emil and he will turn out to be her downfall. Marie’s appearance also plays a part in her ability to attract attention, especially her eyes, “the brown iris had glints that made them look like gold-stone, or, in softer lights, like that Colorado mineral called tiger-eye. ”
Marie’s looks make her radiate beauty, and Emil is most likely developing his crush on her. Of the differences between Alexandra and Marie, their looks and actions play a major role in ow much they contrast. Once near the middle of the novel, Alexandra and Marie’s more adult-like problems can be contrasted, such as Marie’s love for Emil and Alexandra’s love for Carl who returns from the city to visit. In Neighboring Fields, Emil and Marie are first introduced as grown-ups, and Marie basically hints Emil that she likes him when she tell him she. ”wish[es] [she] had an athlete to mow [her] orchard. ”(52). They both already like each other, but they are blocked by the fact that Marie is married to Frank Shabata.
Marie would most likely rather be with Emil than Frank, but Frank just happened to get Marie. Later, when Emil is cutting Marie’s grass in the orchard, she tells Emil, “Don’t let me disturb you, Emil. I’m going to pick cherries. ”(94). Marie is obviously wanting to not disrupt his work, but she still comes outside to the orchard to be with him. Being near Emil must make Marie love struck, because she can’t stay on topic, as she talks about many different things when she speaks to him in the orchard. On the other hand, Alexandra has her own love affairs when Carl returns from the city.
When he arrives at Alexandra’s home, she can tell that, “Carl had changed, Alexandra felt, much less than one might have expected. He had not become a trim, self-satisfied city man. ”(73) It seems as though Alexandra still has feelings for him, however, she has almost always had feeling for Carl, but now as adults, she can express them for him easier than as kids. But even so, it almost seems as though Alexandra is somewhat flirting with Carl when they walk outside to go to the Shabata’s. Alexandra says to Carl, “You see we have kept up the old path, Carl.
It has been so nice for me to feel that there was a friend at the other end of it again. ”(82) Here, Alexandra is letting Carl know that she is greatly appreciative of his return, and that she is glad to be able to be with him again, after all the years. From Marie to Alexandra, the love affairs between the two are different yet similar, from Marie being married to Alexandra not really understanding love. The final chapters of the book start to reveal the more relatable similarities of Marie and Alexandra, more of which are related to their relationships with Emil, for Marie, and Carl, for Alexandra.
Emil decides to ask Marie to, “go away with [him]. ”(148), yet she refuses, even though she has a love for him. Marie can now be seen as more grown up, because she decides to stay with Frank. Earlier, however, Marie has come to know that Emil has returned to the village. “It made her very nervous to hear him and not to see him” (138) and Marie can easily be seen as basically love stricken by him, yet she remains faithful to Frank, still showing her maturity. But still, she expresses her childishness, because she gets nervous when she knows he is there.
Alexandra and her love issues are somewhat similar just her and Carl are not killed. Alexandra tells him that, “[She] needed [him] terribly when it happened. I cried for you at night. ”(194). Here, it is evident that Alexandra was deeply affected by the deaths of Marie and Emil, and she does want Carl to be with her. The most outright piece of evidence that shows Carl and Alexandra’s love is that, “[She] think[s] [they] shall be very happy. (198). The two do talk of getting married and of just growing old together, and they will be happy, now that they have each other.
Between the problems of love that Marie and Alexandra have, they still are very similar and different. Whether Marie and Alexandra are being compared or contrasted, they both have a little example of either side. They both have love problems, yet they both have their love differences and similarities. Appearance also plays part in the contrasting. Alexandra will still remain the more masculine woman, and Marie will remain the more feminine woman. Whichever way it is looked at, they will always have something that can be evaluated as a similarity or a difference.
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