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Unformatted text preview: Essay #2 for BIC 2344 O Pioneers! by Willa Cather OR All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren For this essay, your task will be to engage critically either O Pioneers! or All the King’s Men —both great novels of the twentieth-century. Mechanics Format : 3.5 to 5 pages. Include a Works Cited page and use one-inch margins, double spaced, Times New Roman, 12 font, with MLA style and documentation. Research : Web-based, Internet, or Library research are NOT required. Should you do any research, however, you MUST indicate all references on your Works Cited page. 1. The American Frontier has long been mythologized as the place where hopes and dreams are realized, where the true Pioneer becomes the spirit of democracy. Self-determination, courage, adaptability, imagination, and tenacity are characteristics of the successful immigrant who makes his or fortune from the abundant resources of the frontier. Alexandra Bergson seems a representative of this myth, yet Willa Cather's O Pioneers! does not end with her successes. Instead, the novel shifts its focus to what occurs once the Great Divide is settled—to the tragic romance of Marie and Emil, to the demise of familial relations among the Bergsons, to the passionless affection of Alexandra and Carl, and to the conformity and intolerance of members of the community. In your essay, argue whether the novel’s frontier community has transformed itself into the American community by the time that the physical frontier closes. In developing your argument, you may want to consider these questions: what does the novel tell us about the frontier community and about those who succeed on the frontier and those who fail; what does the novel say about what happens to the community’s democratic spirit; and does the novel offer us the hope of a new frontier? 2. For much of All the King’s Men , Jack Burden’s philosophy is strict materialism. We are simply descended from the apes, and we live in a world where “law” is elastic and there is no ultimate Right or Wrong. There is no God, only the Great Twitch. There is no sense of sin or ultimate Right or Wrong....
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