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O Pioneers! | Study Guide

Willa Cather

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O Pioneers! | Chapter Summaries

See Chapter Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • Late 19th century

    The Bergson family's dying father tells them Alexandra Bergson will be in charge when he dies.

    Part 1, Chapter 2
  • Six months later, July

    The Bergson children visit Crazy Ivar.

    Part 1, Chapter 3
  • 3 years later

    A terrible drought strikes the Nebraska plains.

    Part 1, Chapter 4
  • 2 years later

    Alexandra Bergson and Emil Bergson decide to visit the river farms.

    Part 1, Chapter 4
  • A week later

    Alexandra Bergson decides to invest in buying more land around their farm.

    Part 1, Chapter 5
  • About 10 years later

    Alexandra Bergson and her family have become prosperous.

    Part 2, Chapter 1
  • Sunday, a few days later

    Alexandra Bergson's brothers try to convince her to send Ivar to an asylum.

    Part 2, Chapter 3
  • The same summer day

    Carl Linstrum returns to Nebraska from New York City.

    Part 2, Chapter 3
  • A few days later

    Carl Linstrum and Alexandra Bergson visit Marie Shabata.

    Part 2, Chapter 7
  • The next morning

    Emil Bergson and Marie Shabata have an argument in the orchard.

    Part 2, Chapter 8
  • A month later

    Alexandra Bergson's brothers tell her not to marry Carl Linstrum, who, they say, is after her money.

    Part 2, Chapter 10
  • Later the same evening

    Carl Linstrum tells Alexandra Bergson that he is leaving for Alaska.

    Part 2, Chapter 12
  • The following winter

    Alexandra Bergson spends the winter mostly alone.

    Part 3, Chapter 1
  • The following summer

    Emil Bergson returns from Mexico and goes to a church supper with Alexandra Bergson.

    Part 4, Chapter 1
  • The same day

    Emil Bergson and Marie Shabata kiss for the first time.

    Part 4, Chapter 1
  • Some weeks later

    Emil Bergson and Marie Shabata confess their love, and Emil agrees to leave.

    Part 4, Chapter 2
  • A week later

    Emil Bergson's friend Amedee Chevalier dies of appendicitis.

    Part 4, Chapter 5
  • A few days later

    Frank Shabata catches Emil Bergson and Marie Shabata together in the orchard and shoots them both.

    Part 4, Chapter 7
  • Three months later

    Alexandra Bergson goes to Lincoln, Nebraska, to visit Frank Shabata in prison.

    Part 5, Chapter 2
  • A day later

    Carl Linstrum returns to comfort Alexandra Bergson, and they decide to spend their lives together.

    Part 5, Chapter 3

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Part 1, Chapters 1–3 The town of Hanover is a small town on the Nebraska prairie with an assortment of houses, a small downtown street, and... Read More
Part 1, Chapters 4–5 Three years of drought come upon the Divide, and many people are leaving. Carl Linstrum finds Alexandra Bergson in the... Read More
Part 2, Chapters 1–3 It has been 16 years since Alexandra Bergson's father passed away, and her mother has also died. Emil Bergson—21 years... Read More
Part 2, Chapters 4–6 Carl Linstrum and Alexandra Bergson sit in the garden in the moonlight and talk. Alexandra asks Carl why he's so dissa... Read More
Part 2, Chapters 7–9 The narrator explains how Frank Shabata and Marie Shabata (formerly Marie Tovesky) met and fell in love. When Marie wa... Read More
Part 2, Chapters 10–12 While Carl Linstrum and Emil Bergson are at the fair, Alexandra Bergson's brothers, Lou Bergson and Oscar Bergson, com... Read More
Part 3, Chapters 1–2 The winter is unusually bitter and cold. Mrs. Lee, Lou Bergson's mother-in-law, comes to Alexandra Bergson's for a lon... Read More
Part 4, Chapters 1–3 Alexandra Bergson and Emil Bergson go to the French Church for a church supper, and Emil wears an outfit he brought ba... Read More
Part 4, Chapters 4–6 Emil Bergson visits Amedee Chevalier and finds his wife, Angelique Chevalier, making pies. She tells him Amedee is in ... Read More
Part 4, Chapters 7–8 Frank Shabata comes home and finds Emil Bergson's horse in his stable. He begins to slide into a hazy rage and goes to... Read More
Part 5, Chapters 1–3 Alexandra Bergson has left the house early in the morning without telling anyone where she is going. As a storm rolls ... Read More
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