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foxycat
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Re: O Pioneers!-- Parts I and II -- OP and sexism

Sexism is alive and well in OP. Oscar and Lou don't want their kids to lose their inheritance, but they also always harp on Alex's being a woman who doesn't know what she's doing. Alex stands her ground, and even challenges them to take her to court. Likewise, Marie is bullied by her husband.

Cather wasn't an in-your-face feminist, but in both this book and "The Song of the Lark" she deals with the challenges and prejudices women faces in conventional society. SOL deals with Thea Kronberg, a small-town woman who wants to become an opera singer. Pursuing a life as an artist is considered unseemly for a woman. Cather notes the price she must pay for artistic freedom and success. Likewise, Alex has sacrificed her personal happiness, and has been ostracized for her being a successful and unconventional woman.

Who are the (few) men in OP who have respect for women?
Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. --Oscar Wilde

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kiakar
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Re: O Pioneers!-- Parts I and II -- OP and sexism



foxycat wrote:
Sexism is alive and well in OP. Oscar and Lou don't want their kids to lose their inheritance, but they also always harp on Alex's being a woman who doesn't know what she's doing. Alex stands her ground, and even challenges them to take her to court. Likewise, Marie is bullied by her husband.

Cather wasn't an in-your-face feminist, but in both this book and "The Song of the Lark" she deals with the challenges and prejudices women faces in conventional society. SOL deals with Thea Kronberg, a small-town woman who wants to become an opera singer. Pursuing a life as an artist is considered unseemly for a woman. Cather notes the price she must pay for artistic freedom and success. Likewise, Alex has sacrificed her personal happiness, and has been ostracized for her being a successful and unconventional woman.

Who are the (few) men in OP who have respect for women?




Foxycat, as you stated, not very many. Emmett and Carl are the only ones that I can think of right now.
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Peppermill
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Re: O Pioneers!-- Parts I and II -- OP and sexism

[ Edited ]
Play with an alternative view: All have respect; some have preconceptions of appropriate roles; some are threatened; some are possessive, even jealous; some consider themselves the providers; some ....

kiakar wrote:

foxycat wrote:
Sexism is alive and well in OP. Oscar and Lou don't want their kids to lose their inheritance, but they also always harp on Alex's being a woman who doesn't know what she's doing. Alex stands her ground, and even challenges them to take her to court. Likewise, Marie is bullied by her husband.

Cather wasn't an in-your-face feminist, but in both this book and "The Song of the Lark" she deals with the challenges and prejudices women faces in conventional society. SOL deals with Thea Kronberg, a small-town woman who wants to become an opera singer. Pursuing a life as an artist is considered unseemly for a woman. Cather notes the price she must pay for artistic freedom and success. Likewise, Alex has sacrificed her personal happiness, and has been ostracized for her being a successful and unconventional woman.

Who are the (few) men in OP who have respect for women?
Foxycat, as you stated, not very many. Emmett and Carl are the only ones that I can think of right now.


Message Edited by Peppermill on 12-06-2007 12:44 PM
"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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foxycat
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Re: O Pioneers!-- Parts I and II -- OP and sexism

Pepper--
You just refuted your own argument. Being possessive, having preconceptions about roles, feeling threatened, doing violence, are not indicative of having respect for a woman as an individual. But they were the norm for hundreds of years.

Kiakar-Ivar, too.

As Pepper said, some woman ran homesteads, but they were either widows, shopping for mates, or just owned the land and let others run it. Alex, although very attractive, has reached 40 and is still single and childless, very unusual anywhere in 1899. She's running a prosperous "business," and has amassed wealth for herself and her family. Kiakar pointed out that she was ahead of her time, although we know of other women who broke the mold.

How or why do you think these three men, Carl, Emil and Ivar avoided preconceived ideas of Alex's "proper place."

Do you know anything in Cather's background that caused her to portray women who broke the mold in two novels? (No, I don't want to get into "My Antonia," because that's really problematic.)

BTW--Ivar will figure in a major way in the coming chapters.



Peppermill wrote:
Play with an alternative view: All have respect; some have preconceptions of appropriate roles; some are threatened; some are possessive, even jealous; some consider themselves the providers; some ....

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. --Oscar Wilde

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Everyman
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Re: O Pioneers!-- Parts I and II -- OP and sexism

I have to agree with Pepper here.

The problem, I think, is that you are imposing YOUR view of respect on them, and saying that because they don't respect women in the way YOU want women to be respected, therefore they didn't respect women at all. But they may have just respected women in a different manner. Not less respect, just different forms of respect appropriate for a different time and place.

That Oscar and Leo would go along with Alex and let her go ahead and take out those mortages which, if she had been wrong, would have lost them everything they had worked all those years for and put them out on the street penniless and landless showed a pretty high degree of respect for her. That her father would entrust her with the security and future of his family showed a lot of respect.

Indeed, I have to ask, isn't it more the case that she didn't respect them?


foxycat wrote:
Pepper--
You just refuted your own argument. Being possessive, having preconceptions about roles, feeling threatened, doing violence, are not indicative of having respect for a woman as an individual. But they were the norm for hundreds of years.

Kiakar-Ivar, too.

As Pepper said, some woman ran homesteads, but they were either widows, shopping for mates, or just owned the land and let others run it. Alex, although very attractive, has reached 40 and is still single and childless, very unusual anywhere in 1899. She's running a prosperous "business," and has amassed wealth for herself and her family. Kiakar pointed out that she was ahead of her time, although we know of other women who broke the mold.

How or why do you think these three men, Carl, Emil and Ivar avoided preconceived ideas of Alex's "proper place."

Do you know anything in Cather's background that caused her to portray women who broke the mold in two novels? (No, I don't want to get into "My Antonia," because that's really problematic.)

BTW--Ivar will figure in a major way in the coming chapters.



Peppermill wrote:
Play with an alternative view: All have respect; some have preconceptions of appropriate roles; some are threatened; some are possessive, even jealous; some consider themselves the providers; some ....




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Lathan
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Re: O Pioneers!-- Parts I and II -- OP and sexism

I think to some degree, these characters behave out of their ingrained personalities, gender aside. For example, Cather takes great pains to inform us that Lou will do things in the way he is used to, no matter how inefficiently. (The Wild Land, IV, p. 32-33 in my book). Lou is the sort of person at my job who flips out whenever we try to do something more efficiently, like a technical upgrade, no matter how helpful it will be.

It’s also important that Alexandra is the eldest. There was a great Time magazine article the other month about birth order and development. According to the article, (and speaking generally), the eldest child traditionally takes on more responsibility. Younger siblings grow concerned about the lack of attention to them and often rebel or at least question convention, particularly the youngest child. Again, the article generalizes.

I don’t deny the sexism, and I admire Alexandra’s resourcefulness the way I admired Ruby’s in the novel Cold Mountain. But I think there would still be great tension even if Alexandra were a man.
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kiakar
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Re: O Pioneers!-- Parts I and II -- OP and sexism



foxycat wrote:
Pepper--
You just refuted your own argument. Being possessive, having preconceptions about roles, feeling threatened, doing violence, are not indicative of having respect for a woman as an individual. But they were the norm for hundreds of years.

Kiakar-Ivar, too.

As Pepper said, some woman ran homesteads, but they were either widows, shopping for mates, or just owned the land and let others run it. Alex, although very attractive, has reached 40 and is still single and childless, very unusual anywhere in 1899. She's running a prosperous "business," and has amassed wealth for herself and her family. Kiakar pointed out that she was ahead of her time, although we know of other women who broke the mold.

How or why do you think these three men, Carl, Emil and Ivar avoided preconceived ideas of Alex's "proper place."

Do you know anything in Cather's background that caused her to portray women who broke the mold in two novels? (No, I don't want to get into "My Antonia," because that's really problematic.)

BTW--Ivar will figure in a major way in the coming chapters.



Peppermill wrote:
Play with an alternative view: All have respect; some have preconceptions of appropriate roles; some are threatened; some are possessive, even jealous; some consider themselves the providers; some ....







Oops!!! How could I forget my favorite character or my favoorite mystery character in the book.!!??
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Peppermill
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Re: O Pioneers!-- Parts I and II -- OP and respect (SPOILER HINT)

Thanks for both Everyman and Rochelle for getting at some of what I was trying to explore here.

A scene and passages in the final parts of the book prompted my comments, indeed, I found the circumstances only too chillingly real -- when "respect" does not necessarily protect from "violence." And, I understand we may be manipulating meanings, as well as realities.

But I do think we need to recognize that putting women on a pedestal or viewing that they must be provided for by a male or protecting them or doing hard work for them can all be forms of respect, just a mothering a man or saluting a colonel or being a "yes" person for a boss can all sometimes be aspects of respect.

I would suggest that even the distance Alex and her brother Oscar and his wife created could have had elements of respect: give each other their own space. They are all deserving of credit for making a living at farming -- and they could have made things easier for themselves and for each other.

Another place where Cather explores respect is Alex and Carl(?) -- both our concepts of self-respect and respect for each other.

Everyman wrote:
I have to agree with Pepper here.

The problem, I think, is that you are imposing YOUR view of respect on them, and saying that because they don't respect women in the way YOU want women to be respected, therefore they didn't respect women at all. But they may have just respected women in a different manner. Not less respect, just different forms of respect appropriate for a different time and place.

That Oscar and Leo would go along with Alex and let her go ahead and take out those mortages which, if she had been wrong, would have lost them everything they had worked all those years for and put them out on the street penniless and landless showed a pretty high degree of respect for her. That her father would entrust her with the security and future of his family showed a lot of respect.

Indeed, I have to ask, isn't it more the case that she didn't respect them?

foxycat wrote:
Pepper--
You just refuted your own argument. Being possessive, having preconceptions about roles, feeling threatened, doing violence, are not indicative of having respect for a woman as an individual. But they were the norm for hundreds of years.

Kiakar-Ivar, too.

Peppermill wrote:
Play with an alternative view: All have respect; some have preconceptions of appropriate roles; some are threatened; some are possessive, even jealous; some consider themselves the providers; some ....


"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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foxycat
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Re: O Pioneers!-- Parts I and II -- A women's proper place

Everyman--

I'm starting to come around to your point of view. I think Alex should have married at 16, like Marie, cooked and cleaned for some farmer and had babies every 9 months. Darn, she really didn't know her place in life, caring for her brothers like that.

Does someone else want to present the next question or subtopic?
Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. --Oscar Wilde

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Everyman
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Re: O Pioneers!-- Parts I and II -- A women's proper place

Smile when you say that, pahdner.

foxycat wrote:
Everyman--

I'm starting to come around to your point of view. I think Alex should have married at 16, like Marie, cooked and cleaned for some farmer and had babies every 9 months. Darn, she really didn't know her place in life, caring for her brothers like that.

Does someone else want to present the next question or subtopic?


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kiakar
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Re: O Pioneers!-- Parts I and II -- A women's proper place



foxycat wrote:
Everyman--

I'm starting to come around to your point of view. I think Alex should have married at 16, like Marie, cooked and cleaned for some farmer and had babies every 9 months. Darn, she really didn't know her place in life, caring for her brothers like that.

Does someone else want to present the next question or subtopic?





Foxycat; What the_ _ _ _ _ are you saying? Never mind, I am slow but now a bell is ringing in my empty head!
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foxycat
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Re: O Pioneers!-- Parts I and II -- A women's proper place

Your head is not empty, kiakar. It's been a pleasure having you since July. BTW--where do you live?



kiakar wrote:


foxycat wrote:
Everyman--

I'm starting to come around to your point of view. I think Alex should have married at 16, like Marie, cooked and cleaned for some farmer and had babies every 9 months. Darn, she really didn't know her place in life, caring for her brothers like that.

Does someone else want to present the next question or subtopic?





Foxycat; What the_ _ _ _ _ are you saying? Never mind, I am slow but now a bell is ringing in my empty head!


Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. --Oscar Wilde

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kiakar
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Re: O Pioneers!-- Parts I and II -- A women's proper place



foxycat wrote:
Your head is not empty, kiakar. It's been a pleasure having you since July. BTW--where do you live?



kiakar wrote:


foxycat wrote:
Everyman--

I'm starting to come around to your point of view. I think Alex should have married at 16, like Marie, cooked and cleaned for some farmer and had babies every 9 months. Darn, she really didn't know her place in life, caring for her brothers like that.

Does someone else want to present the next question or subtopic?





Foxycat; What the_ _ _ _ _ are you saying? Never mind, I am slow but now a bell is ringing in my empty head!








A ways from you, I think. I live in Central Va. You are New York, aren't you? I certainly have enjoyed all of your wisdom and those wonder occassional quirks. ha.
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foxycat
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Re: O Pioneers!-- Parts I and II --We've moved on

For anyone who's gotten that far, Pepper and I are in the Part III-IV thread now.
Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. --Oscar Wilde

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Peppermill
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Re: O Pioneers!-- Parts I and II -- A man's proper position

[ Edited ]

foxycat wrote: Everyman--I'm starting to come around to your point of view. I think Alex should have married at 16, like Marie, cooked and cleaned for some farmer and had babies every 9 months. Darn, she really didn't know her place in life, caring for her brothers like that.

Does someone else want to present the next question or subtopic?
LOL!

I'm reading too many things at once right now, and didn't get back to check where this incident falls, but a related question or subtopic on respect that occurred to me was the need Carl felt to prove himself before settling down with Alex. We are all familiar with the expression "hen pecked." Certainly the social pressure has existed and still exists for male excellence in the "outer world." But, has reality long been that relationships have been much more equivocal, at least underneath the surface? And haven't those social pressures often had huge costs? (Like Carl going off to make his fortune when he might well have stayed with Alex. Or even any additional resentment Oscar and Lou might have been pressured by their peers or spouses to feel towards their sister.)

Message Edited by Peppermill on 12-11-2007 09:44 PM
"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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foxycat
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Re: O Pioneers!-- Parts I and II -- A man's proper position

It's at the end of Part II. But I don't understand your questions. Can you restate them another way.


Peppermill wrote:..I'm reading too many things at once right now, and didn't get back to check where this incident falls, but a related question or subtopic on respect that occurred to me was the need Carl felt to prove himself before settling down with Alex. We are all familiar with the expression "hen pecked." Certainly the social pressure has existed and still exists for male excellence in the "outer world." But, has reality long been that relationships have been much more equivocal, at least underneath the surface? And haven't those social pressures often had huge costs? (Like Carl going off to make his fortune when he might well have stayed with Alex. Or even any additional resentment Oscar and Lou might have been pressured by their peers or spouses to feel towards their sister.)

Message Edited by Peppermill on 12-11-2007 09:44 PM


Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. --Oscar Wilde

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Peppermill
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Re: O Pioneers!-- Parts I and II -- A man's proper position

Let me see if this works: Given social expectations, what happens when a woman is more "successful" than her partner or other males? What were the social expectations, really, and have they changed? How often was reality actually different than social expectations?

Should Carl have left to hunt gold or stayed with Alex? Did the attitudes of neighbors and wives perhaps influence how Lou and Oscar treated their sister?

foxycat wrote:
It's at the end of Part II. But I don't understand your questions. Can you restate them another way.

Peppermill wrote:..I'm reading too many things at once right now, and didn't get back to check where this incident falls, but a related question or subtopic on respect that occurred to me was the need Carl felt to prove himself before settling down with Alex. We are all familiar with the expression "hen pecked." Certainly the social pressure has existed and still exists for male excellence in the "outer world." But, has reality long been that relationships have been much more equivocal, at least underneath the surface? And haven't those social pressures often had huge costs? (Like Carl going off to make his fortune when he might well have stayed with Alex. Or even any additional resentment Oscar and Lou might have been pressured by their peers or spouses to feel towards their sister.)

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Everyman
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Re: O Pioneers!-- Parts I and II -- A man's proper position

Good questions. Wish I had to the time today to think about and addresas them beyond the obvious superficial.

Peppermill wrote:
Let me see if this works: Given social expectations, what happens when a woman is more "successful" than her partner or other males? What were the social expectations, really, and have they changed? How often was reality actually different than social expectations?

Should Carl have left to hunt gold or stayed with Alex? Did the attitudes of neighbors and wives perhaps influence how Lou and Oscar treated their sister?

foxycat wrote:
It's at the end of Part II. But I don't understand your questions. Can you restate them another way.

Peppermill wrote:..I'm reading too many things at once right now, and didn't get back to check where this incident falls, but a related question or subtopic on respect that occurred to me was the need Carl felt to prove himself before settling down with Alex. We are all familiar with the expression "hen pecked." Certainly the social pressure has existed and still exists for male excellence in the "outer world." But, has reality long been that relationships have been much more equivocal, at least underneath the surface? And haven't those social pressures often had huge costs? (Like Carl going off to make his fortune when he might well have stayed with Alex. Or even any additional resentment Oscar and Lou might have been pressured by their peers or spouses to feel towards their sister.)




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foxycat
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Re: O Pioneers!-- Parts I and II -- A man's proper position

They have changed, but after having seen your definition of respect for women's equality, I don't want to get into a discussion of this. We don't have enough time or space.

Carl couldn't stay because Lou and Oscar accused him of being a golddigger. He was already a failure at business, and they probably told him that he would be ostracized by everyone if he married Alex without a decent job. I'm sure they souped it up quite a bit, because they didn't want him to come back, and yes, neighbors and wives contributed. They were absolutely shocked by a successful single woman, although in the cities it was a little(very little) more common. They wanted all of Alex's property to go to their kids, and had no regard for her personal happiness. Besides that they were sure she didn't know what she was doing, Oscar in particular.


Peppermill wrote:
Let me see if this works: Given social expectations, what happens when a woman is more "successful" than her partner or other males? What were the social expectations, really, and have they changed? How often was reality actually different than social expectations?

Should Carl have left to hunt gold or stayed with Alex? Did the attitudes of neighbors and wives perhaps influence how Lou and Oscar treated their sister?

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. --Oscar Wilde

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Peppermill
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Re: O Pioneers!-- Dec 1 -- Parts I and II The Divide

Found this tonight:

"Webster County, 1900. The northwest corner shows the Divide, the watershed between streams flowing north to the Little Blue River and those flowing south to the Republican River."

There is a map here (scroll down a ways):
http://tinyurl.com/yufm8u

Don't know what drainage system to which the Little Blue River belongs -- and am not interested enough to figure it out.


Everyman wrote:
I agree.

Peppermill wrote:
As best I can tell, Cather is NOT referring to the Continental Divide in the novel, but rather more local "divides" that direct the water toward the Republican River or the Platte River and its tributaries, both of which are part of the Mississippi-Missouri basin draining into the Gulf.

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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