Essay on "A Wagner Matinee"

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Vicki Glenn
ENG 232
Mr. O
September 26, 2011
“A Wagner Matinee”
It has been said that, "Sacrificing your happiness for the happiness of the one you love is by far, the truest type of love.” However, walking away from everything that makes you happy in life, in order for another to be happy should not be required of love. Relationships should be built on mutual respect and consideration for one another. Although compromise in a relationship is a necessary component for its success, denying the core of who you are is not. Speaking from experience, in the end, there will be nothing but resentment and identity-conflict. “A Wagner Matinee” by Willa Cather relates to my life in many ways as it exposes the results of sacrificing one’s true self and the disturbing consequences of physical hardship, emotional distress, and regret. The story of Georgiana Carpenter was narrated by her nephew, Clark, and he relayed that his aunt was a highly educated music teacher living in Boston during the mid-1800s. Continuing on he said, “One summer, while visiting in the little village among the Green Mountains where her ancestors had dwelt for generations, she had kindled the callow fancy of my uncle, Howard Carpenter, then an idle, shiftless boy of twenty-one” (1784). When Georgiana returned to Boston, Howard followed her, and as a result of this infatuation, she eloped with him. Then against the advice and criticism of her friends and family, she followed him to the Nebraska frontier to take up a homestead since he had no money. Meanwhile, in the story of my life, I was a young student living in Norfolk, Virginia during the 1970s. One summer, while visiting relatives in a little village near the middle of nowhere, I too “kindled the callow fancy of an idle, shiftless boy.” However, when I returned home shiftless did not follow me; nevertheless, he called endlessly begging and pleading for me to return since he was no longer able to endure his life without me. Naturally, as a...
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