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Even though The Song of the Lark is the second installment in The Prairie Trilogy , I consider Thea, its strong minded protagonist, the culminating embodiment of the rest of Cather s feisty heroines, the point where they end up converging to glow in full radiance view spoiler As much asntonia warmed my wistful heart in My ntonia, her development as an independent human being was finally curtailed by the solemn aura of her femininity because it ended trapping her in the role of ultimate incarnation as some kind of earth mother Contrarily, Thea renounces to her personal life and sacrifices having a family because she has a dream to pursue, which is also a heavy burden and an enormous responsibility, regardless of the consequences of taking the path that leads her to the art she believes to be locked inside herself, ebullient to flare up if the right igniter flashes the desired, needed spark.In O Pioneers , free spirited Alexandra proves she is worth her weight in gold when it comes to stating her position as a successful entrepreneur without the shadow of a male presence to influence her decisions, but she proves to be severe and rushed to judge illicit love within the framework of social convention of a highly questionable morality.In contrast, Thea doesn t renounce to her self respect but at the same time her open mindedness allows her to accept, and even empathize with people of dubious propriety, for she challenges the generally accepted norm and forms an opinion based on her personal experience alone hide spoiler Most mornings I wake to the songs of larks, so when Christmas Eve found us stuck inside of our home because of flooding my front and back yards were pines in ponds , I chose to hear The Song of the Lark in words This is my third Cather book this year and after having been introduced to her works intimately, I can now safely say that curling up with a Cather book will always be a good choice.However, this book is not about the song of birds It is a book that celebrates finding one s muse in fact, the picture on my cover is significant of a French painting in the Chicago Art Museum, a picture in which a little peasant girl, on her way to work in the fields at early morning, stops and looks up to listen to a larkShe liked even the name, The Song of the Lark The flat country, the early morning light, the wet fields, the look in the girl s heavy face well, they were all hers, anyhow, whatever was there She told herself that that picture was right Just what she meant by this, it would take a clever person to explain But to her the word covered the almost boundless satisfaction she felt when she looked at the pictureThe Song of the Lark seems to signify artistic and creative freedom, the kind of freedom that Thea Kronborg, the main character, seeks It was over flat lands like this, stretching out to drink the sun, that the larks sang and one s heart sang there, too. Thea stretches out from her small town to drink the sun in the big city of Chicago, going from a piano teacher to a pianist, and finally, a famous singer Her relationships with Dr Archie, the town s doctor who at some point sees her as the daughter he s never had, and with Fred Ottenburg, her married lover, are interesting elements that bind the story, which centers around independence and creativity Cather chooses a singer to embody creative freedom, but one can t help but think of this book as a celebration of the creative fulfillment that places one outside of the boxIt s waking up every morning with the feeling that your life is your own, and your strength is your own, and your talent is your own that you re all there, and there s no sag in you I didn t enjoy this one as much as I did, My Antonia, because the omniscient narration was a distant one and the prose style seemed much unlike the one in that novel There are also some things about the story that could be easily missed if one doesn t pause to read the epilogue, and an off putting shift in the main character s personality towards the end I m all for awakening and struggle that brings about success, but the arrogance that came after meh Yet Cather has such a unique way of encapsulating self realization through story, that I know I can always look forward to her strong minded and slightly peculiar female characters. 4.5 starsShe used to drag her mattress beside her low window and lie awake for a long while, vibrating with excitement, as a machine vibrates from speed Life rushed in upon her through that window or so it seemed In reality, of course, life rushes from within, not from without There is no work of art so big or so beautiful that it was not once all contained in some youthful body, like this one which lay on the floor in the moonlight, pulsing with ardour and anticipation With exquisite prose, Willa Cather conveys what it means to be an artist and the journey one takes to realize a dream Using the backdrop of the immense plains and the awe inspiring canyons, Cather likens the power of the artist s progress to the quest of the early pioneers into the awesome vastness of the West The descriptions of the landscape of Colorado and the Southwest are simply breathtaking The drive of the artist, the despair, the struggles, the sacrifices, and the triumphs are compelling.Daughter of a minister, Thea Kronborg is born into a large family and from an early age one recognizes her individuality and her spirit Thea begins her musical journey by taking piano lessons from a down and out musician, Wunsch, who wandered into town on the heels of the local vagrant, Spanish Johnny She befriends those much older than herself, including the aforementioned eccentrics as well as the resident physician, Doctor Archie, and a railway man, Ray Kennedy Her talent is steadfastly supported by her mother and admired by her somewhat flighty, spinster aunt I adored the young Thea her openness, her freedom, her youthful earnestness, and her vitality A poignant turn of events gives Thea the opportunity she needs to make the next step in her early career Traveling to Chicago, she continues her piano training until her voice is eventually discovered to be her true calling On the brink of grasping what it really means to be an artist and a singer, Thea travels to Arizona upon the urging of a somewhat self indulgent and wealthy young man, Fred Ottenburg Communing with nature and the spirits of the ancient Native Americans, Thea undergoes another transformationPanther Canyon was the home of innumerable swallows They built nests in the wall far above the hollow groove in which Thea s own rock chamber lay They seldom ventured above the rim of the canyon, to the flat, wind swept tableland Their world was the blue air river between the canyon walls In that blue gulf the arrow shaped birds swam all day long, with only an occasional movement of the wings The only sad thing about them was their timidity the way in which they lived their lives between the echoing cliffs and never dared to rise out of the shadow of the canyon walls As they swam past her door, Thea often felt how easy it would be to dream one s life out in some cleft in the world The way in which Thea evolves as a true artist comes with a price Leaving behind family and friends not just physically but also emotionally, and lacking true companionship must one suffer this to reach the destination, to achieve fame Can these things be overcome What will ultimately become of Thea Must cherished memories be left behind or can one experience the joy ofcarefree days when there were endless possibilities I believe these questions are not exclusive to the artist perhaps these are questions pertinent to any human being that once had a dream What I loved most about this novel were the descriptions of the great outdoors the plains, the canyons, and the grandeur of the heavens I did not necessarily like the older Thea, although I continued to root for her She was thoroughly believable I cherished those persons that encouraged Thea and gave her the best of their own selves to help her along the way especially Doctor Archie Doctor Archie, he really did get itIt came over him now that the unexpected favours of fortune, no matter how dazzling, do not mean very much to us They may excite us or divert us for a time, but when we look back, the only things we cherish are those which in some way met our original want the desire which formed us in early youth, undirected, and of its own accord The Song of the Lark Great Plains Trilogy 2 , Willa Cather The Song of the Lark, Willa Cather, with introduction by Sharon O Brien , New York A Signet Classic , 1991, 457p ISBN 0451525337 1994 1913 1915 1918 20 1873 19471923 1922 Thea Kronborg, daughter of a minister in a small Colorado town, is discovered by the music teacher, a drunken German fellow, to have a rare gift Sponsored by Archie, the town doctor and family friend, and Ray, a railroad man who intends to marry her but is killed, she travels to Chicago, then New Mexico, meetingandcosmopolitan people, until, at last, she is a star of the opera stage, and like a star radiant and very distant.I found this book, at 420 pages, quite a chore to get through The character of Thea was utterly unsympathetic her self absorption even as a nobody is insufferable, and after she s a star, her melodramatic requirements are equally odious The prose is tedious, as Cather fawns on her character, making her charismatic in the eyes of everyone except the reader Actually, Thea is surrounded by sympathetic characters who lead interesting lives and are open, hearty, and engaging, but they all orbit around her, and Cather gives no reason for the reader to like her Altogether a boring book, full of light and song but signifying nothing. At some point in this novel, I imagined a subtitle for it A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman, especially as I m convinced without any facts to back it up that it contains many autobiographical elements I imagined that Thea s being different from the rest of her family, and from the others in the area she grew up in and loved, to be similar to Cather s experience as a burgeoning writer, also feeling the creative urge when she was a young child in her heart, was it, or under her cheek that sturdy little companion with whom she shared a secret. Cather does a phenomenal job embodying how it might feel for any true artist growing, despairing, caring deeply and passionately about her craft, succeeding by the world s standards but still reaching for an unachievable ideal Though Thea s growth as an artist takes her to two major cities, Cather s depiction of the West is what stays with one Gorgeous prose describes the cliff dwellings of Arizona where time slows down and heals Thea It later becomes an ironic contrast to the high rise apartments of New York City I was surprised by the ending that takes us back to Thea s hometown and to one of her relatives It was so lyrical, especially those last two beautiful sentences, that I forgot my initial reaction of pity for this relative, as that is not at all what Cather wants us to feel. .Read Pdf ⚆ The Song of the Lark ♃ Perhaps Willa Cather S Most Autobiographical Work, The Song Of The Lark Charts The Story Of A Young Woman S Awakening As An Artist Against The Backdrop Of The Western Landscape Thea Kronborg, An Aspiring Singer, Struggles To Escape From The Confines Her Small Colorado Town To The World Of Possibility In The Metropolitan Opera House In Classic Cather Style, The Song Of The Lark Is The Beautiful, Unforgettable Story Of American Determination And Its Inextricable Connection To The Land The Time Will Come When She Ll Be Ranked Above Hemingway Leon Edel 3.5 starsI love how this book portrays an empowered woman who achieves success as a singer though her talent, work ethnic, and independence This type of coming of age story often only occurs with boys and men Cather, however, follows her protagonist Thea throughout her childhood in eastern Colorado all the way up to her rising fame as an artist in New York Thea defies the expectations placed on women to act docile and domestic she prioritizes herself and her ambitions and thus has a happy ending While some may accuse Thea of selfishness or ungratefulness, I would ask these readers why do we not penalize men as much when they leave behind their loved ones for their work I enjoyed dissecting so many themes in The Song of the Lark the trappings of heteronormativity, the price we so often pay to succeed as artists, and how to integrate autonomy with the gift of amazing mentorship While the writing style of the book sometimes bored me, Thea s ascent made the whole experience worth it Recommended if you want a book about a girl who grows into a woman after overcoming challenges and displaying a courageous faith in herself. Cather wasn t supposed to be my theme this year, but here I am finishing a third book and committed to readingI always imagined her as a prairie writer, but each book has covered a different kind of atmosphere Here we begin on the plains, in the sand hills of Eastern Colorado, in a small railroad town where we follow one of the daughters of a local minister But then we make our way to 1890 s Chicago, the Arizona desert and the opera world of New York City A young Thea Kronberg stands out in Moonstone, Colorado, drawing interest from a series of admirers She doesn t get along so well with those of her own age or of the small town mentality She seems to have the mindset and determination that can lead something important in her life and seems to draw those who want to help her.Thea s life is roughly based on the life of a Swedish born American Opera singer Olive Fremsted, a quirky genius who grew up Minnesota and trained in Germany In interviews, Cather was struck by her simplicity and deep focus on her work and saw parallels with the plains character she wanted to capture So, Cather created her own variety of master opera singer, an artist of shear will and determination and focus, grounded in the plains, led by a variety of well meaning men who all watch her move on Not lovers, all of them, but admirers of the arts and of Thea And then Cather throws in a detour to the Canyons of Arizona and the Anasazi cliff dwellings Arizona canyons sun, sky, desert, mystery, isolation this personal spiritual detour is the best part of this book and of anything I ve read by Cather so far.Cather is a writer of her time in terms of her ideas of art and culture, but she is a timeless prose artist and master at capturing the nature and experience of the landscape, the light and space and the mixture of permanence and change She is also an especially good character builder and seems to make it her mission to create untraditional strong women characters In the later, Thea is a classic example This book is farsophisticated than O Pioneers or Death Comes for the Archbishop which are what I ve read Here she is trying to capture a stubborn powerful mind becoming an artist, almost always through the eyes of the beholders, her many mentors She is there to be watched and experienced, and Cather uses a number of tricks to allow the reader to do just this The result isn t exactly a happy success story There is a cost to all this Her success depends on capricious iffy public taste And one can feel Thea s isolation, physical exhaustion, and her inability to bond with anyone who isn t an admirer, her unwillingness to look around and take in the world She is focused.I ve developed into a big fan of Cather I love her prose, her characters and the landscape through her eyes Looking forward to My Antiona Recommended to anyone interested 27 The Song of the Lark by Willa Catherpublished 1915format 334 pages within the ebook The Prairie Trilogy O Pioneers The Song of the Lark My Antoni acquired Mayread May 12 June 8time reading 16 hr 28 min, 3.0 min pagerating 4 3.5 stars Not often for me does a book s main character go from endearing at the beginning, to tiresome by the end of the book I adored the young Thea Kronberg, even if playing piano and professional singing interest me not one iota She was a bright, ambitious little thing and you knew she would make something of herself with those wonderful secondary characters to support and encourage her But her inner drive and work ethic was what she, in the end, credits her success to and her personality becomes almost diva like I still liked this book a lot, but it was slow in many parts It did keep me guessing if she d ever find love and true happiness Not everyone or every woman, specifically, requires the same things to be happy Not everyone is capable of the give and take of a relationship some can only take.