Neighbour Rosicky, a Story of Man and the Land

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Tiffany Chang, B95102035
Proffer Bennett Fu
Contemporary American Literature
5 January 2010
Neighbour Rosicky, one of Willa Cather’s stories of Nebraska, is about Mr. Rosicky’s life in the prairie of Midwestern America. He is a Czech immigrant who spends his early life in London and New York and then move to Nebraska for farming life. As a reader, because my home is in the countryside and my grandparents are farmers, I am so touched by Old Rosicky’s great affection for nature, land, and farming life. Through the old man, the harmony between land and man is reflected. It seems to me that farming in his own land gives him a free, simple, and stable life, and the life with land is what he loves most from his childhood to the end of his life. Before reading the story, I suppose people think the framing life in the prairie is boring, unstable (since the income of farming life depends on the weather), and fixed. Besides, when I know that Rosicky is a bohemian and who originally lives a happy life in New York, I consider, with stereotype, this kind of city life suit him more. However, to Rosicky, owing the land and farming on it is what calls freedom and steady. In his mind, working in a factory may ensure you a stable income but you get no freedom at all. When Old Rosicky thinks of that Rudolph, his eldest son, might give up farming and take a factory job, he regards it to be “the end of everything for his son”, because “to be a landless man was to be a wage-earner, a slave, all your life; to have nothing, to be nothing”(Cather 1914). That is, only when you have your own land, you are free from being ruled. Although Mr. Rosicky knows that there are hardships in farming life when the weather is not good for crops growing, he is still optimistic and sure that “everything came along right” (Cather 1919). I think it is his being hopeful and not greedy makes him a person who is able to enjoy farming life so much. Mr. Rosicky believes that as long as having the land,...
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