Willa Cather's a Lost Lady

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The Captain Forrester and His Roses

In Willa Cather's A Lost Lady, Captain Daniel Forrester is a gardener at heart. His lifetime is spent encouraging growth, whether of railroads, personal lives or flowers. His philosophy is to dream "because a thing that is dreamed of in the way I mean is already an accomplished fact" (44). Close friends described the Captain as clearly looking like "… pictures of Grover Cleveland. His clumsy dignity covered a deep nature, and a conscience that had never been juggled with" (39). Because of his clear conscience Captain Forrester became a rich soil for many around him to take root in. As this soil, he could always be in the background and many never noticed how important he was until he was missed. Once the Captain's career outside his home ended he truly opens up to the peacefulness of nature, including his flowers, which eventually illustrate the phases of his life.

The location of the Forrester's homes gives a hint towards Captain Forrester's dreams throughout his life. They had seasonal homes, spending "…winter in Denver and Colorado Springs,-left Sweet Water soon after Thanksgiving and did not return until the first of May" (23). Of three places they stayed during the year, two of them had optimistic names, encouraging ideas of eternal springs, which would be wonderful places for gardening. During the summer at Sweet Water, "The wild roses were wide open and brilliant, the blue-eyed grass was in purple flower, and the silvery milkweed was just coming on" (10). This picture of wild blooms is a reflection of Mrs. Forrester enjoying summertime, complimented with her barrenness of winter. Niel who enjoyed Mrs. Forrester staying on in Sweet Water throughout the winter noticed "The frosty air had brought no colour to her cheeks,-her skin had always the fragrant, crystalline whiteness of white lilacs" (26). This picture of Mrs. Forrester displays a reproduction of the nature around her. That same day as Niel...
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