Date of Award

1-1-2013

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Department

English Language and Literatures

Sub-Department

English

First Advisor

Catherine Keyser

Abstract

This study considers Willa Cather's ecological consciousness as a writer of place, particularly in My Antonia and The Professor's House. In these two works, Cather's narrative distance provides her with the room to investigate the relationship between humans and their environments. Jim Burden, Godfrey St. Peter, and Tom Outland all exploit their environments to greater or lesser extents based on their way of seeing the world, which Cather draws attention to through her careful characterization and narrative distance. In each narrative, Cather forces readers to recognize the environmental consequences of egocentric vision, and the way such vision can be sustained through fictionalizations of place. Furthermore, by crafting main characters who are also writers of place, Cather call into question the role of authors in either protecting or destroying the environments about which they write, indicating Cather's own awareness of her responsibilities as a writer of the Nebraska prairie during a time of rapid industrial expansion.

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