A Way of Life: A Wagner Matinee

A Way of Life: A Wagner Matinee

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No one every thinks about how we got here. About what our ancestors had to go through and how the chances that we would actually ne here get slimmer and slimmer the more that you think about it. All those people that are in your family tree have helped to shape who you are and the person that you will become. Our family seems to determine who we are going to be in life and always seems to find a way to get us there. In the story A Wagner Matinee there is a man, Clark, who lives in Boston who receives word from his Aunt Georgiana who is coming to visit from Nebraska to settle an estate. When his aunt, Georgiana, had been younger she had been a very talented music teacher and she had been the one you introduced him to Shakespeare, the music that she played on her small parlor organ, and classic mythology. When she left she had to give up music and that is one thing that she despised. “It never really dies, then the soul? It withers to the outward eye only.” Georgiana then met a man and they proceeded to move out to Nebraska and he lost contact with her. One day he received word that she was coming back and Clark decided to take her out to a concert because she had not been around music in so long and she forgot how much she loved music. In the story A Wagner Matinee by Willa Cather, you realize the hardship that a lot of people went though while on the frontier and then how people in Boston lived a more promising life.
The place you grow up will always effect how you think about the rest of the world and this seems to happen to the main character, Clark, in Willa Cather’s story A Wagner Matinee. Clark explains Nebraska as a dark memory that had a monotony landscape. “The world there is the flat world of the ancients; to the east, a cornfield that stretched to daybreak; to the west, a corral that stretched to sunset; between, the sordid conquests of peace, more merciless than those of war.” He never seems to mention anything bright. In your mind all you can think about are harsh, dark colors that make you realize how life in Nebraska at least was not the same as it was in Boston.

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While reading Cather’s story, A Wagner Matinee, you realize how the more that you love something the more that it will be able to hurt you. This seems to be just the case in life itself. The more you allow something or someone to get closer to you, the better it will be able to hurt you. This is something that we all learn someday and Georgiana learned this with her love of music. When she left to go and live out in Nebraska. In this story I do not believe that Cather represented Nebraska in a bad way, I think she presented it in the way that it was. They say that the truth hurts and this might have been one of those times. Nebraska did make Georgina give up something that she loved, music, and because of that it really hurt and changed her. She than goes on to warn Clark, “’Don’t love it so well, Clark, or it may be taken from you. Oh! dear bow, pray that whatever your sacrifice be it is not that.’” She begins to put the idea in his mind that everything that the more you love something the more likely it will be taken from you.
Living in Nebraska seemed to change the way that Georgina looked at life in Cather’s story, A Wagner Matinee., and this is how living there would have affected anyone living in that time. If you would have been living in that era you would have changed the same way if you were to move to Nebraska to farm. “Her skin was yellow from constant exposure to a pitiless wind…The most striking thing about her physiognomy, however, was an incessant twitching of the mouth and eyebrows, a from frequent physical suffering.” Living there did not just change her mentally; it changed her physically. While reading this she goes from a happy woman who loved music to the women that I just described. If you were to see a before and after picture I bet that you would not even recognize this lady, and this is how the frontier changed people.

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