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O Pioneers! | Study Guide

Willa Cather

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O Pioneers! | Character Analysis


Alexandra Bergson

Alexandra Bergson is a complex character with a deep understanding of nature. She is insightful, steady, and thoughtful—not likely to rush into things or quick to anger. Even when her brothers treat her unfairly, she takes many years to tire of their comments and actually become angry at them. She loves Carl Linstrum, although she is not a romantic or prone to fits of lovesickness. Alexandra manages to prosper where many people fail because of her belief in the land and her connection to nature.

Emil Bergson

Emil Bergson is Alexandra Bergson's youngest and favorite brother. He is more like John Bergson, their father, than any of the other children. He is hardworking but also a sensitive and romantic boy. He doesn't know what he wants to do but seems more suited for living and working in a city than living the life of a farmer.

Carl Linstrum

Carl Linstrum is a Swedish boy who lives with his family on a farm neighboring Alexandra Bergson's. He is a quiet, thoughtful, serious person on whom Alexandra has relied for companionship since childhood. He is an intelligent and observant man. He doesn't make fun of Ivar like Lou Bergson and Oscar Bergson, and he tends to be reserved and loyal.

Marie Shabata

Marie Shabata (née Tovesky) is a young Bohemian girl from Omaha who started coming to Hanover to visit her uncle as a young girl. People are attracted to her beauty and her good-natured charm even when she is a little girl. After marrying Frank Shabata, she continues to keep her spirits up and tries to see the bright side of things despite her husband's dissatisfaction and irritation.

Frank Shabata

Frank Shabata becomes increasingly bitter and resentful of his wife, Marie Shabata, whose beauty and outlook on life make him feel small and jealous. Although he loves her in the beginning, he becomes increasingly hard-hearted toward her and treats her with neglect or anger. He is a hard worker but resents that he has to work and be amongst simple farmer folk.

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