O Pioneers!: Feminism and Breaking the “Woman Myth”
Willa Cather, author of O Pioneers!, was a frontier woman herself, who devoted her work to conveying both the physical realities and mythical beliefs of those engaged in moving to and settling in the Middle West America. Cather can be regarded as a forerunner to modern day feminism, as many of her character’s images are of strong-minded and independent women, occurring at a time when male dominance and misogyny are thought to be the way of life.
Alexandra, the main character, emulates the perfect example of feminism in her pioneering spirit against men. She refuses to succumb to the ideas of traditional male gender discrimination.
Alexandra is also able to face the challenges of farming brought on by nature because she has an open mind and is able to accept new ideas and concepts, unlike many of the men. By doing so, she gains control of the family farm and obtains economic independence. One can see how feminism plays an important role in the history of the American frontier. Illustrated as a heroine,
Alexandra overcomes various struggles to defy the premonition of the “woman myth” and takes fate into her own hands.
Presented with many challenges, Alexandra perseveres to triumph over male dominance.
“When Alexandra’s brothers proposed to leave the Divide for some habitable place, their mother was extremely exhausted and frightened,” said LIU Xi in A Feminist Analysis of Alexandra in O
Pioneers! (960). Once Carl