Beauty and art will always have a place in the business world. Today, if you see a beautiful house or a beautiful building, it is because someone makes a living off of beautifying the world. Without these people and their work-place the world would be dull very un-interesting. The sculptures that Harvey produces make the world more attractive, but also make him misunderstood. The artists today still make a living off of putting beauty into the workplace. This is a very strong point wanting to be made by Willa.
Although not always demonstrated, great persons have overcome great obstacles.
Harvey had to overcome his childhood and the belittlement of his whole town to become the respected person in his new life. Cather herself overcame large obstacles. Being born in the hills of West Virginia, she supported herself through college and became an outstanding writer. Another example is Martin Luther King Jr. who overcame the reality of death to become the most respected speaker in history. Great people do not always overcome great obstacles. Many people are born into great families and pick that up as a personality trait and themselves become great people. As with the rest of the story Willa is really trying to make the reader understand her point.
I can't agree with the concept that prophets are never honored in their own town.